Today is a sad occasion for us, the Managing Editors of Praxis, because we are losing a friend and colleague, Hannah Alpert-Abrams, to the exigencies of academic life. Hannah is leaving Axis to pursue research in the digital humanities. While we are excited for her and will follow her progress carefully as she explores new areas both physical and intellectual, we are sorry to lose the first blog editor of Axis and the woman whose editorial direction and professional ability has been a fundamental aspect of Praxis’ migration from our previous platform. In many ways, Hannah has been the public face of Praxis on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Axis itself, and she has represented us extremely well.
Hannah has overseen weekly blog posts since Praxis launched its new site last year and has coordinated guest posts from various institutions including Drexel University in Sacramento, California and St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, making her an integrally important member of the Praxis team, especially during the roll-out of our guest-edited special issue last fall. Now she is working as the Graduate Research Assistant in Digital Scholarship at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies’ Benson Latin American Collection. More specifically, Hannah is working with the Primeros Libros collection as part of an ongoing effort to collect digital facsimiles of all books printed in the Americas before 1601. Hannah’s work involves developing digital tools to make the collection more accessible and more discoverable. Her most recent research, "Unsupervised Code-Switching for Multilingual Historical Document Transcription," which she developed with Dan Garrette, was just accepted for publication at the upcoming North American Association for Computational Linguistics Conference in Denver, Colorado. Hannah is also working to help develop undergraduate syllabi for a curriculum focused on exploring the digital collections at the Benson and digital scholarship at UT.
But however sad we are to lose Hannah, we are deeply excited to welcome her successor, John Fry, to Axis’ blog editorship. Originally from South Texas, John is a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin where he studies medieval and early modern English literature. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Texas State University-San Marcos and edits poetry for Newfound Journal. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Tupelo Quarterly, Colorado Review, and West Branch, among others. He began working as a Writing Center consultant at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, and later continued consulting as a Reading and Writing tutor at Victoria College's K.E.Y. Center in Victoria, Texas. In addition to his doctoral studies, John teaches Rhetoric and Writing as an Assistant Instructor in UT’s Department of Rhetoric and Writing and works as a consultant in UT’s University Writing Center.
He will write his own introductory blog post to be published next week, so we will keep our praise succinct: John is a wonderful colleague and writer whose enjoyment of writing and writing center work is both instructive and infectious, and we are proud to have the opportunity to work with him. We know that readers of the blog will find him a joy, and we look forward to a new focus on creative writing as part of John’s editorial leadership of Axis.
~Thomas Spitzer-Hanks & Sarah Orem, Managing Co-Editors of Praxis: A Writing Center Journal