Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Michael M. Williamson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gian Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Brian Huot, Ph.D.


This study is my attempt to consciously reflect on what is at hand in one student's work. I set out to learn about how students react to responses they receive. As I read portfolios at the end of the semester, Sapphrikah chose me through her amazing ability to consciously reflect and grow as a writer, activist, and woman. By examining Sapphrikah's work, I learned about how my teaching hindered her development as a writer. I also learned what Sapphrikah respects in response and responders, valuable insight that helps me construct classrooms that facilitate these valuable writer/responder relationships for future students. Sapphrikah's conscious reflection taught both of us a similar lesson, one I would have missed if I hadn't decided to investigate my curiosities about student interpretation of response. Studying Sapphrikah's writing, responding, and reflecting enabled both of us to realize that we need to temper our "feminist fury" if we hope to communicate our truths to others. Throughout the class, Sapphrikah became a friend. Throughout my research, Sapphrikah became my teacher. If she can be a friend and a teacher, she is a person. As such, she is more than the "necessary vehicle for gathering the data" about "language development, or concept formation or problem solving or reading" (Carini 2001 p. 5). Sapphrikah as a person--her "continuousness with herself"--drives my inquiry. Describing her writing and experiences enables me to learn about my teaching, my research, and my life. Instead of making her the object of my study, I envision Sapphrikah as the subject, the person I observe in order to learn about teaching, writing, and life.