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Meet Lisa Meloncon

Lisa Meloncon promised her father she would graduate from college.

Date: 4/17/2007
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Lisa Meloncon promised her father she would graduate from college.

She more than delivered, sealing the deal by signing on at UC as an assistant professor of English and professional writing.

A native of Southeast Texas, Meloncon grew up on the border of Texas and Louisiana. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and completed her PhD in rhetoric and composition in 2005 at the University of South Carolina.

Her educational goals melded perfectly, it turned out, with writing work she already was pursuing.

"I was finishing up my BA, which just occurred in 2000, and I realized I could probably complete my master's degree in a year, which meant I could raise my consulting rate," she said. "During my first semester of my master's work, I had that 'ah-ha' moment and knew that I would get my PhD.

"My entire academic career so to speak was motivated by a promise to my father. I dropped out of college and he made me promise I would finish. Being decidedly working-class, one of my parents' greatest achievements is that all of their children are college-educated, which is a big deal in a farming and ranching community."


Lisa Meloncon is an assistant professor of English and professional writing in the UC Department of English.

Meloncon was drawn to UC's English department, she said, by the Professional Writing and Editing faculty.

"They approach teaching professional writing in similar theoretical ways, and the program mixes theory and practice, which is important for students," she said. "The faculty made me feel welcome and were quick to point out that I could continue working (and teaching) in the interdiscplinary area I call home."

Specializing in the area of technical communication, she has a rapidly changing world of information to study and share with students.

In a text-message, BRB world, how important does clear, effective writing remain?

"I text myself, all the time, but what students have to understand is there is a time and place for text messages and for clear, constructed business and technical communication," Meloncon said. "To get them to know their purpose when writing, to know their audience, and to understand the situation hasn't changed and likely won't. We may deliver messages via e-mail or structure content online, but the basic idea of good writing hasn't changed. The same goes with courses like Desktop Publishing. The tools change (I taught inDesign) but how to structure content and design a document has roots in the Middle Ages."

As a teacher, she said, she hopes she's "able to get across to students that writing and communication matter."

"I also am very willing to accept students' positions and ideas because while I am an expert in my field, I am not the expert," she said. "As a researcher and scholar, my greatest strength is in doing the research and in drawing research from several fields together into a coherent whole."

A member of the Society for Technical Communication, Association of Teachers of Technical Writing and National Council of Teachers of English, Meloncon is the owner and primary writer of a technical communication consulting firm. She specializes in documentation for Internet applications and other Web strategies, environmental concerns and medicine.

She's also a frequent traveler and conference-goer. And as it turns out, she's at work even when on her way to work. Consider, for example, her idea of what she'd do if stuck in an airport.

"I would listen to blues music while I was reading whatever books (usually academic type) I brought with me," said Meloncon, who recently attended the annual ATTW conference.

"When I travel, I always bring books that I rarely read. But if I'm stuck, I probably would. And it's more than likely I'd be grading papers, too."

When she does relax, the best moments are spent "hanging out with my family or friends and talking about nothing and everything."

Her grandmother, Adonicia, "marked my life profoundly by illustrating what strength, faith, and love truly are," Meloncon said.

"And I've always said that if I am ever half the person my mother is, my life will be a success."

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