Latest Work

Data Collection Continues!


Yes, those are follow up questions taped to my computer.


Technology is fueling my study.

I am on WhatsApp, Facebook, Skype, Google, Zoom, and Outlook a good portion of everyday. I am taking Spanish lessons online and using Spanishdict for language support. I use Sonix for quick translation and transcription. I compensate my participants using Xoom. I used Survey Monkey for scheduling.

These technologies have made my data collection much more flexible. Interviews are at 7:00AM and 9:00PM, and all hours in between.  If I was in person, I wouldn’t have been in people’s homes and I certainly wouldn’t have been there late at night.

There is something about talking to a stranger online that is socially easier. From a practical perspective, I can look up words and ideas more quickly, and I can type to clarify both sides of the conversation.

I, of course, wish I was in Guatemalan highlands. Online interactions can’t replace in person relationships. However, for my first study – this process is working. My rough goal was to leave Guatemala after 5 weeks with 10 – 15 interviews. I’ve completed 8 in the past two weeks, and am scheduling follow-ups. There are another 18 on the calendar, and ever few days more people sign-up.

Depth is still an issue for me. The reality is that I’m a new research, these are the first questions I have ever wrote, I am doing this online, and there is a language barrier. Guatemala isn’t expected to reopen to foreigners until at least January. So, for now, there are always follow-up interviews.


Update 7.5.20: 30 participants!



Overall Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Overall Outstanding Graduate Students (revised)This is my fourth award during the pandemic.

This award feels especially moving on days like today. I know my students are stressed, my research feels ‘up in the air’ and there is a giant 6 ft X 5 ft face mask waiting to be completed on kitchen table.

I feel humbled to be recognized by my department and alongside my fellow graduate students, many whom I’ve wondered around Justin Hall with for four years! I can only cross my fingers that it won’t go into year six. (Year five is seeming inevitable right now.)



Textile Society of America New Professional/Student Award

The Textile Society of America has had a special place in my heart since I presented at their conference in 2018. It was my first conference presentation, my first time in Canada, and I made my first ‘conference buddy’ Jenn, who I got to see again in London. In 2018 Jenn was the recipient of the TSA Professional/Student Award, and I am stoked to be following in her footsteps as one of the recipients for 2020. I hope to receive the award in person in Boston this Fall. Only time will tell!

Symposium 2020 and COVID-19


K-State Alumni Graduate Student Award for Leadership and Service

I am extremely honored to be the 2020 recipient of the K-State Alumni Graduate Student Award for Leadership and Service. The little apple makes you want to work for your community. I am lucky to be a part of the K-State family and to have opportunity to have served as a student leader as president of the Graduate Student Council.

I am particularly proud of the increase in representation within the GSC during my presidency. From the start of this position I strived to find what others were passionate about and worked to give them a voice on key issues. From the nomination form:

“[Emily] increased the number of graduate students engaged in providing input to the Executive Committee by expanding the number of student representatives to enhance diversity and inclusion. For example, new positions on the Student Affairs Committee were added for Parent/Guardian Relations, Diversity Advocacy, Veterans Affairs, LGBTQA and Advocacy, and Housing. As president she served as co-chair of the Strategic Enrollment Management Student Advisory Committee to represent the graduate student voices.”

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Many, many facebook lives were held to connect with my fellow students. The GSC even ‘trended’ in Kansas twice.


Orbita Language School

I took Spanish lessons at Orbita 3.5 years ago, after it was suggested that I should consider doing my research in Guatemala. My experience in San Pedro La Laguna showed me what my dissertation could become, if I could get at least some Spanglish down.

I was finally able to return in March for data collection. My 5 week trip was cut to 1 week. It is safe to say I didn’t get a lot of data collected, and I won’t graduate by December. However, I met a handful of amazing people on this trip who changed my dissertation for the better. I cannot wait to see them, in person, again.

I wish I didn’t have to leave Guatemala so soon, or go through the Miami airport on the day the borders were closing. I returned to the US likely acquiring COVID in travel and slept the rest of March and most of April. I’ve been ‘awake’ for two weeks now and there is certainly a lot of problems that need creative solutions.

Good things and good health come to those who wait. For now, I’ll start by taking lessons online.


Renaissance to Present Day

IMG_1802Addie, Lauren, & Claire touring the costume collection with Marla Day.

When someone says ‘It takes a village’ they may be talking about teaching Fashion History from the Renaissance until present day for the first time. Taking on this course, which is also the department’s core writing course, was exhausting and rewarding.

Step 1 – I contacted my mentors Abby Lillethun, Linda Welters, and Margaret Ordonez. Abby shared advance copies of their research, made sure I knew the latest teaching trends in history, and gave the best advice – which was to start the class with an overview of ethnocentrism. Dr. O kindly sent me files, advice, and answered lots of questions throughout my semester. (I had no idea that she started the historic collection here at K-State!)

Step 2 – I reflect on my personal knowledge and my personal bookshelf. I’ve been teaching for over 6 years at the college level, and have been obsessed with fashion since I was 8. I have a lot of books. From my own experience, I started the class with a review of the pillars of culture, as presented by Either and Evenson. This gave me a format, that I applied to each history period as I moved forward. I’ve only formally taken 20th Century Fashion, so I had a lot to learn along with my students. For every period I didn’t know I went through our interlibrary loan to gather sources upon sources.

Step 3 – In person resources are so valuable! It never made sense to me why teachers don’t tap into the skills of others at a university. Marla Day, our costume collection curator, was an invaluable resource. She gave guest lectures, employed interested students in the collection, introduced me to the teaching collection, and offered a lot perspective throughout the semester. Ellen and Tom became our course librarians. They stepped in on on research days, writing days, and when I had a death in the family. They even reached out to students, who I knew were stuck to offer extra guidance. The writing center introduced the class to the world of annotated bibliographies – not a fan favorite, but absolutely a mission critical assignment.

Step 4 – Fashion history requires a lot of images. When I build a lecture I look for high quality resolutions and accurate citations. If you don’t use Google Arts and Culture, why aren’t you? It connects you to collections from thousands of museums across the world.

In summary, this class took over my life. I couldn’t tell you how much progress was really made on my dissertation during the Fall 2019 semester. I can tell you that I have a new found passion for history, and the utmost appreciation for my colloquies.



Science on Tap: [Image]ing Impact


Science on Tap is a regular event held at the Tallgrass Taphouse in Manhattan, KS. It is a great opportunity for graduate students and faculty to share their work and a fun time for the community who get to grab a local beer and learn something new.

Science Communication Week is an annual event at K-State and other partner universities. For SciCom Week I was invited to present a little about my research area. For this evening, titled [Imagine]ing Impact, I walked participants through the ‘3 Ps’: People, Planet, Profit, and my personal 4th ‘P’. Participants shared stories about their clothing, what they knew about who made it, where it was made, and its environmental impact for 3 hours! It was a great experience and I’m thankful to Sunset Zoo for the opportunity to share my passion. I’m also thankful to my student, Gigi, who acted as my personal ‘Vana White’ and helped showcase my photos.

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My photos on display to help create dialogue.


River Blue at Sunset Zoo

Screening of River Blue

On one of the lovely evenings in the Kansas Fall a group of students, community members, and zoo supports gathered at Sunset Zoo for the showing of River Blue on the outdoor big screen. River Blue is a documentary that shares the impact of the fashion industry processes on rivers around the globe. I had the pleasure of introducing the film and answering the public’s questions at the conclusion.