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Spotlight on Toni Calbert, Graduate Research Associate

What do you do in the EED?

I'm a Graduate Administrative Associate. I help the administrative staff in the department do whatever they need to do. So far this has meant helping to coordinate an NSF grant proposal, taking minutes at department meetings, helping Dr. Cox manage her calendar, and editing documents. It's practically a different job everyday.

What drew you to Engineering Education?

I've been considering going into university administration as opposed to teaching and the opportunity to work with the senior staff here seemed like a great way to see what that would be like first hand. I'm also very interested in diversity work, so Dr. Cox's research on women of color faculty was a big draw.

What are you doing when you're not working for EED?

Writing. I'm a Ph.D. candidate in the English department studying African American Literature and Science Fiction. I'm currently writing a dissertation on Black apocalyptic fiction and the relationship between crisis and social change. Some of the writers I'm focusing on are Octavia Butler, Nnedi Okorafor, Colson Whitehead, and Samuel Delany. I have tons of book recommendations if anyone is interested.

Favorite thing about working in the EED?

I love that my job is constantly changing and that I get to see so many facets of the department. I've been a student for so long, I really like seeing how academia works from the other side.

What's a fun fact about yourself?

I don't know if this is "fun" per se, but I used to be a lawyer. I practiced corporate law for about 4 years before I decided it was definitely NOT for me and reinvented myself as a literature scholar. Life is too short not to do something you love.