Rachel Atherton
Dr. Rachel Atherton’s teaching interests include technical communication, professional communication, data visualization, rhetorics of data, digital rhetorics, queer rhetorics and game studies. Her research has also covered tech comm pedagogies and social justice. Dr. Atherton received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Purdue University English Department in 2021. She lives with her partner Chianne and their many pets.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, English (Rhetoric & Composition), Purdue University, 2022
  • MA, English (Rhetoric & Composition), Purdue University, 2017
  • BA, English, Southern Illinois University, 2015
  • BA, German Studies, Southern Illinois University, 2015

Awards & Honors

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, 2021, English Department at Purdue University
  • Best Paper, SIGDOC 2019 (with Alisha Karabinus) for “Professional practice, amateur profile:
    Mapping amateur game design communities”
  • Best Paper, SIGDOC 2018 (with Alisha Karabinus) for “Games, UX, and the gaps: Technical
    communication practices in an amateur game design community”


Rachel lives with her partner Chianne and their many pets.

Publications & Presentations

  • Atherton, R. (2022). Toward data justice: A comparison of law enforcement and citizen data practices.
    IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 1–17.
  • Atherton, R. (2021). “Missing/unspecified”: Demographic data visualization during the COVID-19
    pandemic. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 35(1), 80–87.
  • Karabinus, A., & Atherton, R. (2019). Communally designed deception: Participatory technical
    communication practices in an amateur game design community. Technical Communication 66(3),
    pp. 257-271. Winner of the 2021 CCCC Technical and Scientific Communication Award: Best
    Original Collection of Essays in Technical or Scientific Communication

Research Experiences

  • Rhetorics of data
  • Tech comm pedagogies
  • Social justice
  • Tech comm

Teaching Interests

  • Technical communication
  • Professional communication
  • Data visualization
  • Rhetorics of data
  • Digital rhetorics
  • Queer rhetorics
  • Game studies (and more!)
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