Elizabeth Festa is the Associate Director of the Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication and a lecturer in the Program for Writing and Communication. She received her Ph.D. in English literature from Vanderbilt University and her B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame. Before coming to Rice, she taught at Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia. Elizabeth has designed and taught over 35 writing-intensive and oral presentation-intensive courses; her pedagogical interests include American studies, documentary film and photography, digital storytelling, digital humanities, and the medical humanities. Her research interests include American literary realism and modernism, material culture, visual culture, and documentary work. Elizabeth was a member of the screening committee for the inaugural Fulbright/National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship and has served on that committee since 2014. Her current university-level commitments include service on the Faculty Senate Library Committee (2014-) and the Health Professions Advising Committee (2012-present). She is a Rice Ally.
Elizabeth developed medical humanities and communication curriculum for Baylor College of Medicine’s Honors Pre-Medical Academy and taught in this program from 2009-2012. She has also served as an instructor in BCM’s outreach education program, Catalyst: DocPrep. Elizabeth is a graduate of Rice’s Center for Philanthropy, Leadership Institute for Non-Profit Executives. She completed her practicum for this program with MFAH, Films, collaborating with the curator to conduct a national survey of the best practices of major museum arthouse cinemas. She has served as a member of the education sub-committee for MFAH, Films; as a docent at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; and as an Art Library volunteer at the Menil Collection.
Before entering the academy, Elizabeth served as a Quartermaster officer in the 101st Corps Support Group, Fort Campbell, Kentucky where she worked in a variety of positions, to include Battalion Adjutant and platoon leader. She was honorably discharged in 2005 as a Captain.