Alumni (Fellow)

Michelle Morgenstern

Elis Olsson Memorial Foundation Fellow
Simsbury, Connecticut
B.A. Franklin & Marshall College (2009)
M.S. University of Pennsylvania (2010)
Ph.D. University of Virginia (2020)
M.A. University of Virginia (2020)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences


Michelle’s research explores interactions between linguistic play, digital technologies, and ethical life. Prior to UVA, she received her M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania and was a classroom teacher for the School District of Philadelphia. During that time, Michelle developed an interest in young people’s online literacy practices. This became her research focus at UVA, where she conducted ethnographic fieldwork among youth who claimed that social media was the most significant influence on their beliefs about what it means to be and do good in the world. Her dissertation investigates how these young people come to take up and enact new political and moral commitments through creative linguistic practices. Michelle was awarded a Center for Teaching Excellence Thrive Grant and the 2020 Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award in the Social Sciences for the design and instruction of her course, “Technology, Language, & Society.” In 2020-21, she will serve as a Graduate Fellow in the Digital Humanities at UVA’s Scholar’s Lab.

Thesis Description:

Play, Purity, & Social Justice: The Poetics of Ethical Discourse in Digital Space

Connect with our community

View Alumni


David and Jane Walentas

A transformational gift for UVA — $100 million to benefit first-generation students

Read more


The Jefferson Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship at the University of Virginia. Scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that is based on exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship.

Read more


The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, like its namesake, knows that virtue and talent come from all walks of life. Indeed it is this knowledge that drives the Foundation to search the world over for its recipients.

Read more