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Originally from Cache Valley, Utah, James Shepard is a Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. His current research focuses on the construction of epistemic stance in online activist discourses through the remediation of paralinguistic features. He enjoys craft beer, good music, and his two adorable dogs.


Sociolinguistics, pedagogy, paralinguistics, activist rhetorics, cultural rhetorics, compositional theory, digital technology in the classroom, audience design, environmental studies, epistemic and affective stance.



University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

Graduate Instructor, August 2019 - present.

  • ENGL 101: Intro to Composition (Fall 2020)
  • ENGL 102: Inquiry into Social Media (Scheduled Spring 2020)
  • ENGL 101: Intro to Composition (Fall 2019)

Graduate Teaching Assistant, August 2018 - May 2019.

  • ENGL 102: Inquiry into Food (Spring 2019)
  • ENGL 101: Intro to Composition (Fall 2018)



PhD, English - Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics, University of Tennessee, 2025

M.A., English - Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics, University of Tennessee, 2020. 

     Thesis Committee: Jessi Grieser (chair), Lisa King, Sean Morey. 

B.S., English, Linguistics minor, Utah State University, 2016.

      Cum Laude

Professional Service

Graduate Student Senate Liaison, University of Tennessee                2018 - present

Social media manager, Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts                2018 - 2020 

Equipment management, Sundress Reading Series                            2016 - 2020

Equipment management, The Only-Ten-I-See Reading Series            2016 - 2020 

Graphic design, Sundress Academy for the Arts                                 2016-18

Graphic design, NEXUS Graduate Student Conference                      2017-18

Graphic design, Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts                            2016-17

Volunteer, Sundress Academy for the Arts Holler Salon                      2016

Volunteer, OUTspoken                                                                          2016

Social media manager, Shakespeare at 400, Utah State University    2016

Developer, Language Learning Unit, Migrant Head Start                    2015

Co-Author, “Grammar Lessons,” El Centro de la Familia                    2013

Sustainability Council Member, Utah State University                        2012-14

Event Coordinator, Utah State University Housing                             2012-14

Assistant Coach, Sky View High School Debate                                2012-13


Awards and Recognitions

Graduate Fellowship                                                                          2020

John C. Hodges Fellowship                                                               2020, 2018

Writing Center Tutor Award Finalist                                                   2019

John B. Emperor Fellowship                                                              2018-19

NUCOR Fellowship                                                                            2015-16

Lucille Reading Scholarship                                                               2015-16

USU Aggie Scholarship                                                                      2012-14

USU Service Scholarship                                                                   2012-13



“Bridging the Gap: Leveraging the Affordances of Alphabetic Computer-Mediate Communication to Convey Paralinguistic Features.” NEXUS, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, March 2020.

“Religious and Linguistic Identity in Utah English.” MMLA Conference, Chicago, IL, November 2019.

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