CDEx Staff

Current Staff

Headshot of Jason Helms

Jason Helms is the Director of the Center for Digital Expression and an Associate Professor of English. He teaches courses on the history of rhetoric, multimedia authoring, visual rhetoric, gaming, comics, rhetoric and philosophy, and writing writ large. His research focuses on the interplay of rhetoric and technology. His digital monograph, Rhizcomics: Rhetoric, Technology, and New Media Composition, is available online at

headshot of curt rode

Curt Rode is the Associate Director of the Center for Digital Expression and Director of the Digital Culture and Data Analytics Program. He is a Senior Instructor in the English Department with a background in Rhetoric & Composition, 20th Century American Literature, and Creative Writing.  He incorporates new media writing assignments into many of his classes (composition, creative writing, and literature) as a way of getting his students to engage visually with the more abstract level of the courses’ verbal texts. You can visit his professional website at

Headshot of José Luis Cano looking directly at the camera

José Luis Cano Jr. is the Assistant Director of the Center for Digital Expression and a PhD candidate in rhetoric and composition. He develops writing instruction, investigates immigration enforcement, and engages in photography. Previously, he taught ELA/writing at high school and community college levels. You can visit his professional website at

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Ashlee Pilcher is a PhD student at Texas Christian University in the Rhetoric and Composition program. Her research interests focus on multimodal and digital rhetorics, activism and protest, and feminist and antiracist pedagogy. Words like educator, creator, or activist resonant more deeply with her identity than words like scholar or academic. Her work is aimed at disrupting oppressive notions of what meaning making and academic work should be and embraces lived experience, “nontraditional” modes of communication, and creative exploration.

Affiliated Faculty

Nick Bontrager is an interdisciplinary artist whose work and research explores the physical and conceptual nature of the moving image, game-based interactions and exchanges, and the idea of replicas or facsimiles as tools of preservation. He is also an Assistant Professor of New Media Art in the School of Art, and teaches the following courses: ARST 10133: Three-Dimensional Design, ARST 20503: Video Art, ARST 30610: Interactive Robotics & Art, and ARST 30510: 3D Modeling & 3D Printing.


Mark Dennis is an Associate Professor of East Asian religions at TCU in the Department of Religion, where he teaches courses in Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism, religion and violence, and world religious traditions. His area of specialization is early Japanese Buddhism. Dennis received his Ph.D. in Buddhist studies from the University of Wisconsin in 2006.


J. Sage Elwell is an Assistant Professor of religion, art, and visual culture. He holds a BA in religious studies, from William Jewell College, an MA in philosophy of religion from the University of Kansas, an M.Litt in philosophical theology from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and a Ph.D. in religion, culture, and the arts from the University of Iowa. He has published and presented on religion and suffering in modern art, religion in the digital age, and contemporary digital art. He also works as an artist in digital media, photography, and book art.


Todd Kerstetter is an Associate Professor of history and Director of graduate studies in the Department of History and Geography. He teaches courses on the American West, environmental history, American Indian history, and sport history. He sees new media writing assignments as a way to tap a variety of creative and intellectual abilities and interests.

Carrie Leverenz was the Director of the Institute of Critical and Creative Expression (ICCE) and the founding Director of the NMWS. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of English where she teaches writing and rhetoric. She has been training writing teachers to teach with computers since 1994 and is interested in the ways that changes in technology affect how we learn, communicate, and establish relationships.

Jacqueline Lambiase, Ph.D., is department chair and professor of strategic communication at TCU. She’s co-director with Dr. Laura Bright of the Certified Public Communicator program at TCU, and co-founder and co-organizer with Dr. Ashley English of the TCU Nonprofit Communicators Conference (since 2009). Lambiase has published more than 30 journal articles and book chapters on public relations ethics, gender and advertising, social media, and public-sector communication. She’s co-editor and co-author of two books with Tom Reichert, Sex in Advertising and Sex in Consumer Culture (Erlbaum, 2003 and 2006). Her professional background includes corporate public relations and daily journalism.

Brad Lucas is an Associate Professor in the Department of English with research interests in protest rhetoric and research methodologies. He maintains fluency in InDesign and Excel, dabbles in a range of other platforms, and teaches courses in composition, rhetoric, professional/technical writing, and information/document design.


Marie L. Schein is an Instructor of French in the Department of Modern Language Studies. She teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced courses, including French composition and various culture and civilization courses. Dr. Schein is serving as the coordinator of the Peer Tutoring Program in Modern Languages. She also coordinates service-learning projects with her students in partnership with elementary schools and other educational agencies in Fort Worth. Marie received a Master of English as a Foreign Language from Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France, a Master of French from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the Ph.D. in English from the University of North Texas.

Former Staff

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Kit Snyder

Angela D. Mack is a doctoral graduate from TCU with a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition and is the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Dissertation Award for her multimedia project, “Black Storytelling in Southside Funky Town, Texas: From the 76104 Zip Code to the Life and Legacy Work of Atatiana Carr-Jefferson as a Mattering of Black Life.” Along with having served as Assistant Director of CDEx, she taught in both the English department and in the department of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES). Angela has started to expand her dissertation research into the next phases of multimedia praxis by furthering the oral history collection of community members in the 76104 zip code and by working on the cinematic features of Atatiana’s story.

Chance Gamble

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Kelli Gill is a former Assistant Director of the Center for Digital Expression and a PhD student in the English Department’s Rhetoric and Composition program. Her research interests are in cultural rhetorics, multimodal composition, and food studies. She is interested in how all media (whether they be a video game, a casserole, or a monument) tell stories and form arguments. In addition to her work in CDEx, Kelli is part of the HASTAC Scholars program. You can see more of her work here:

Whitney Lew James is a former Assistant Director of the Center for Digital Expression (2018-2019) and a PhD student in the English Department’s rhetoric and composition program. She has taught writing courses at Emerson College, Wheelock College, and TCU all of which included some new media writing. Her research interests include disability studies, digital rhetoric, and translingual pedagogy.

Alex Roberts is a senior student in the Neeley School of Business here at TCU. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Alex hopes to apply his media skills into the everyday workplace and leverage them in a meaningful way in every project he works on.

Jackie Hoermann-Elliott is a former Assistant Director of the New Media Writing Studio (2015-2017). Jackie is pursuing her Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric, specializing in women’s rhetoric and writing studies, embodied learning, and multimodal composing. She is interested in Digital Humanities, and thanks to a generous scholarship from the Studio she was able to attend the 2015 Digital Humanities Summer Institute in Victoria, Canada. Visit her professional website at


Jay Jay Stroup is a former Assistant Director of the New Media Writing Studio (2014-2015) and is now working as a Graduate Assistant. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English, specializing in Early American literature and women’s manuscript culture. She is interested in Digital Humanities, especially the intersections between archives and digital archives.


Arielle Adame is a former Studio Assistant in the New Media Writing Studio. From San Bernardino, CA, she is a transfer undergraduate student majoring in Studio Art, and the first of her family to pursue higher education.  Although she endeavors to become an art director, she maintains an interest in a variety of art due to her open-mindedness and passion for the industry.


Reilly Hatch is a former Graduate Assistant in the New Media Writing Studio. He is currently a Masters student in history, en route to a Ph.D. His emphases include the 18th and 19th century American Southwest; Borderlands studies; Indian history; and imperial, cultural, and martial interactions and conflicts in the American West.

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Joseph Schiller is a former Graduate Assistant in the New Media Writing Studio. He is a Masters student in TCU’s Department of History and Geography specializing in the history of the American West, American Indians, and the environment. He is excited by the Digital Humanities and the opportunities provided by new media for presenting scholarly research in attractive, accessible ways.

Jessica Menkin is a former Assistant Director of the NMWS. She is a doctoral candidate in Rhetoric and Composition and currently works as Graduate Assistant to FrogFolio, TCU’s ePortfolio initiative. Her research explores cognition and creation as embodied acts, specifically with regard to creating environments that stimulate interest and engagement in writing.


Jamalin Harp is a former Graduate Assistant with the NMWS. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in TCU’s Department of History and Geography and received her BA in history and English from Abilene Christian University and her MA in history from TCU. Jamalin first began working with new media in high school and enjoys combining her passion for history with the diversified opportunities of the ever-growing digital world.


Monica Zamora is a former Studio Assistant and a junior double majoring in Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing. She is from Nicaragua and speaks both English and Spanish. She has an interest in advertising and public relations and she has worked in the marketing department for Lafise Bank and in Parmalat, a dairy company, both in Nicaragua.


Joanna Schmidt is a former Assistant Director of the NMWS. She is a doctoral candidate in Rhetoric and Composition with an emphasis in new media literacy acquisition and pedagogy. Joanna is currently working for TCU’s Koehler Center for Teaching Excellence as the Classroom Integration Developer where she is in charge of technology, faculty development, and pedagogy for Rees-Jones Hall.


Brett Dowdle is a former Graduate Assistant in the NMWS and a Ph.D. student in American history. He received his BA and MA in history from Brigham Young University. He is studying Western American history with particular emphasis on the role of religion and gender in the American West. He spent four years working on a public history exhibit and has a special interest in the growing possibilities of digital history.

Joshua Daniel-Wariya is a former Assistant Director of the NMWS. He graduated from TCU with a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition in 2014. Josh is currently an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric & Professional Writing and the Associate Composition Director at Oklahoma State University. His research focuses on the role of play in computable media, and he enjoys teaching with new media such as games, video editing, and screen capture software.

Joel Overall is a former Assistant Director of the TCU Composition Program and former Assistant Director of the NMWS. He graduated with a Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric in 2013. Joel is an Assistant Professor of English at Belmont University. You can visit his professional website here: