Cape Fear Community College
New Mexico State University
Cindy Wambeam Interviews
Judy Williamson, Founder of the CWTA
JW muses. Ah yes! Our founding!
JW is sorta laughing. The group sorta founded itself in a way. Very
CW grins. "I know -- it's an interesting progression."
CW: "So, I know that you told me you were in a Meeting at 4Cs -- was that
JW: "Yep, we met at Cs but our story goes back to Nashville."
CW: "What was at Nashville?"
Judy was presenting for the first time at Cs in 94 in Nashville.
JW: "Trent [Batson] was running the first ACW meeting. Eric [Crump] and Judy Kirkpatrick invited me to an ACW
meeting. I didn't feel like I should go to a meeting where I wasn't really
a member, but they really insisted. So, I went. It was a really friendly
group. I sat next to Gail Hawisher who was delightfully friendly. I had
only read her stuff before that."
Judy was sort of in awe of how friendly everyone was. "At one point in the
meeting, Cindy Selfe suggested a pooling of resources or networking or
something among grad students. The idea was that we aren't all from technologically rich
schools,so it would be helpful if we could find a way to connect."
CW: "So, were you the only grad student there?"
JW: "No. Beck [Becky Rickly] was still a grad student. I can't recall who else was
there. Eric [Crump]."
JW: "Well, Cindy kept saying, 'That would be a good job for a grad
student ' and no one spoke up. So she repeated it, and I finally said, "OK, I'll do it!' Everyone in the room clapped, which really made me feel welcome. They were happy to have a newcomer with them, not exclusive and snobby like some academics ."
Cin smiles: "that's great."
JW: "We agreed to do a SIG for Cs 95 in DC. It was supposed to be a thing for grad students and mentors. Cindy and Gail said they'd help. I wrote to Trent after I got home and asked
if he'd help and he said he would also.
CW: "Then you took on the responsibilities for 4Cs 95"
JW: "Then we had a SIG in DC this past year at Cs which is where
Trent and Hugh [Burns] and Freddie [Kemp] came. Hugh did the first computers & writing dissertation, you know, so
he was a perfect guy to have there."
CW: "That's right -- I forgot that about Hugh."
JW: "We had a good meeting. We talked about lots of things including
Janice Walker's electronic citations. It was very pleasant and informal: we are lucky in this
community to have the support of really
amazing people. Grad students are not always treated so lovingly in other
CW: "And other grad students /adjuncts showed up?"
JW: "Yes, we had a nice gathering, then I emailed people when the Cs
proposals were due, and I put a call out on ACW-L to see if anyone wanted to
help to do it again. I didn't want to do it all myself."
Cin nods. "And you got the responses from those of us who are signed up now?"
JW: "I believed that it was important to share the fun and
responsibility of such a group. I didn't want it to be 'my' group or
anything like that. That's why I'm so delighted that people have just been
doing things that need to be done. Like you did the Web page and they had
the moo last night [Tuesday, November 14]. People were amazingly supportive and enthusiastic, so I submitted
the SIG proposal again to get us on the program. Meanwhile, we were
discussing this and that among among ourselves, and we started to get more political. I forget
who brought up the idea of actually starting a group."
CW: "And now we're trying to establish goals for ourselves, bring the issues
to the forefront, etc."
JW: "Oh, once we really started having fun with this, we also decided
to do something at C & W -- so I submitted a proposal for that too."
CW: "As the founding member of the CWTA , what would you like
to see happen with this group? A support group? A unionized movement?
Judy thinks some more.
Judy screws up her face and feels her brain straining.
JW: "Good question. I like the idea that we can really practice support and
collaboration among ourselves."
JW: "I am very glad to see us acknowledging each other in a positive
way, giving each other reinforcement and making room for new people who
could benefit from association with us. I'd like to see us continue as a force to advocate for grad
students in this field and possibly others. But I think if we are fairly prominent with our conversation
about acknowledgement and good treatment for grad students that it will have
an effect. I'd also like to see us have a political agenda in the sense of
raising consciousness about how marginalized grad students can be in
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