MSU’s Thorat, HASTAC scholars focus on digital humanities projects as part of national collaboration



STARKVILLE, Miss.— Dhanashree Thorat, an assistant professor of English, this semester helped two Mississippi State University English majors become cohorts in the HASTAC Scholars program—Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory—a national interdisciplinary student-driven community of graduate and undergraduate students connected through an academic social network.


Thorat selected and mentored JaKara A. Singleton, a junior from Jackson, and Cheryl S. Zant, a junior from Columbus, two of approximately 100 students chosen nationwide for the HASTAC Scholars program, created in 2002 as a collaboration of scholars working at the intersection of technology and the humanities to critically consider social dimensions of technology and learning.


Singleton and Zant will receive a $300 fellowship from MSU’s English department to apply toward their projects for the two-year program and will work with Thorat to develop their digital humanities projects.


“JaKara and Cheryl proposed digital humanities project ideas and I am thrilled to support two of our outstanding students pursuing undergraduate research. The HASTAC Scholars Program is a wonderful opportunity for professionalization and networking, and especially beneficial for undergraduates hoping to pursue graduate school in the future,” Thorat said.


Singleton’s project includes the creation of a podcast series focusing on the importance of using social media platforms critically. Topics explored in the podcast episodes will include the spread of misinformation related to the pandemic and elections through online spaces, online academic communities outside of colleges, academic risks and successes of using social media, as well as how to expand open access to scholarship.


Zant’s project focuses on creating a blog that applies various literary theories to different types of digital games such as Animal Crossing, Persona and The Oregon Trail, among others. Zant will use Postcolonial, Marxist, and Queer theory to analyze these digital games’ mechanics, stories, characters and other features.


MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,000 students, 325 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs, 14 master’s programs, and 27 undergraduate academic majors offered in 14 departments. It also is home to the most diverse units for research and scholarly activities, including natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. For more details about the College of Arts and Sciences or the Department of English visit or

More Featured Students