Brackenridge Introduction – Anna Skerrett

A brief on my work:

Through the Brackenridge Fellowship I will be conducting research on the oral histories of those on the Autism Spectrum. My work will compare historical and contemporary representations of the community with interviews of people on the spectrum concerning their lived experiences and their reflections on the views of autism and autism therapies. I will approach this work through a narrative journalistic perspective, and analysis through the field of communication rhetoric. This work is a continuation of a journalism project I have been working on concerning misconceptions about ASD by speaking to autistic people themselves, with real stories.

My mentor, Dr. Emily Herrington, is a communication scholar that specializes in healthcare ethics, a critical area of study on this subject. The misconceptions about ASD leaves us in a place where many autistic people are living in a world that refuses to understand their mind and refuses to accommodate them. When they do receive help, it is typically based upon therapies developed by eugenicists, those who use disease models of autism, and those who believe autism needs a cure. What has fostered an environment of abuse and neglect is the sheer lack of outlets and chances autistic people get to speak their own minds, rather than being talked over. My work aims to highlight these voices, and create an explicit understanding of their importance.


I am not sure of my longterm goals, but I have had a particular passion for journalism, and would like to have a career in news media. I specialize in audio storytelling, and am hoping to find a way to integrate that into my research potentially by presenting it in an audio format. My goal through this research is to have an opportunity to sit down with a piece of work, having it be one of my only academic focuses. I want to put energy into the work and create a piece that does justice to this issue that I really care about.

About Me:

I am a senior communication rhetoric and nonfiction English writing major, with a certificate in digital media studies. You can see me and my close friend Lily (she’s the blonde one), one of the only people I still talk to from high school! A fun fact about me is that I am from Vermont and grew up skiing, both alpine and nordic. I was an assistant coach and captain for my high school ski team working alongside our head coach who was a wax technician for the US Ski Team in the 70s. Cool dude!

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