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My name is Ren Reyes and you're visiting my website!

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Work experience & Research

Ph.D. student in Communication and Science Studies;University of California, San Diego, since 2016.
B.S. in Science, Technology, and Society (Life Sciences and Biotechnology);Stanford University, 2010-2014.

Research Interests
keywords: (dis)ability, technology, culture
examples: technology in the media, superhero narratives and disability, transnational disability studies, digital game design & culture, learning/training via digital gaming, embodied storytelling, laboratory education and knowledge production

Work/Volunteer Experience
Graduate Writing Consultant, UC San Diego Writing Hub, 2021-present.Undergraduate Student Services Fellow, Communication department at UC San Diego, 2020-2021.Remote Lead TA, Communication department at UC San Diego, Summer 2020.Graduate research assistant, Listening to Waves project; Cognitive Science department at UC San Diego, 2018-2020.Operations Lead, SMASH Academy Alumni Leadership Board; SMASH via the Kapor Center, 2017-2018.Honors Program Coordinator, McCoy Center for Ethics in Society; Stanford University, 2014-2016.Preceptor, The Leland Scholars Program; Stanford University, 2012-2013.

Joseph Naiman Graduate Fellowship, UC San Diego Program in Japanese Studies, AY 2018-19.Artist in Residence, OFFICE--SPACED Residency; Culture, Art, Technology Program at UC San Diego, Oct 2017-Feb 2018 (term 1).Cota Robles Diversity Fellowship recipient, UC San Diego Graduate Division, 2016 - 2021.UC San Diego Communication Department First Year Fellowship, 2016-2017.

Conference Talks

Reyes, R. (2018). For the Ordinary, or the Extraordinary? Assistive Technology and Media Representation. Presented at Theorizing The Web 2018 in New York City, NY. Presentation recording here - begins at 27:35. Review by Gabi Schaffzin here
Reyes, R. (2017). Press Start: Intersectionality, Video Games, and Identity. Presented at the Science Studies Program Biennial Conference at UC San Diego, CA.


Advanced Topics in Communication: Black Panther (Spring 2020): This course looks at the politics of the cinema industry and the development and reception of Marvel’s blockbuster film, Black Panther. We read articles, books & comic books connected to the character and the film, examine its reception, impact and worldwide response. We dive deeper into the issues around cinematic representations of Black people with a focus on depictions of African cultures in cinema. Special focus is placed around the women and the role of gender in the film & its production. We also consider the history and contributions of the original Black Panthers of the 1960s to American and worldwide cultures.Communication, Institutions, and Power (Spring 2019): A critical introduction to structures of communication formed across the intersections of the state, economy, and civil society. Includes historical survey of communication industries, legal and policy-based arenas, civic and political organizations, and other social institutions; and integrates scholarly study with production-oriented engagement.Communication, Culture, and Representation (Winter 2019 & Winter 2020): A critical introduction to the practice and the effects of representation within historically situated cultural contexts. Surveys a range of theories/methods in interpretations and identity to understand the effects of these practices upon the form and content of various representational genres, and integrates scholarly study with production-oriented engagement.Communication, the Person, and Everyday Life (Fall 2018): A critical introduction to processes of interaction and engagement in lived and built environments. Includes historical survey of theories/methods, including actor network theory, conversation analysis, ethnography, ethnomethodology, cultural linguistics, performance, and social cognition; and integrates scholarly study with production-oriented engagement.Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Communication (Summer 2018 & Summer 2019): A lecture and seminar introducing students to critical thought in language and literacy, representation and semiotics, mediated technologies and institutional formations, and social interaction. Integrates the study of communication with a range of media production (writing, electronic media, film, performance).

About me

Older sister, dancer, anime enthusiast, and video gamer.

Ren (formerly known as Alanna) is an artist, researcher, and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. Ren earned a B.S. in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) from Stanford University in 2014 with foci in chemistry and philosophy. During her time as a chemist, she was treasurer of the Alpha Alpha chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, a professional chemistry fraternity, from 2012-2014.

Ren is a disability rights activist who fights for accessibility in all aspects of life. She firmly believes that everyone has the right to have access to education, the built environment, and leisure activities (to name a few) no matter their abilities. Her research is primarily in the area of assistive technology and universal design.

Through her work and volunteering, Ren continues to mentor first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students the same way that she was mentored in the SMASH program. One of her greatest joys is following the development of Stanford's Leland Scholars Program, an organization she staffed during her junior year at Stanford.

Ren is a classical ballerina by training, but loves to play and try all sports. Fun dance experiences include a workshop with Robert Moses Kin and a 3-year stint with Stanford's Bollywood fusion dance team, Dil Se. Her other hobbies include watching anime - My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan are two of her favorites - and playing video games. She's lost count of how many times she has redesigned her Animal Crossing island (Purgatory) and is also trying to find every last Korok seed in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Void Screamers Eats

Scroll through the map for a compilation of my friends' favorite restaurants across the US. Go to my contact form if you'd like to submit something!

Make sure you zoom out to look at Hawaii too :)


Ren Reyes
Department of Communication #0503
Media Center and Communication Building (MCC)
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA

(or click an icon below to contact me electronically)

embodied storytelling collective (ESC)

esc logo

The Embodied Storytelling Collective (ESC for short) was founded in 2017 by four UCSD Communication PhD Students: Jonathan Walton, Amira Silver-Swartz, Caroline Collins, and Alanna Reyes. ESC was awarded the UCSD Sixth College's inaugural Culture, Art, and Technology OFFICE--SPACED residency for the 2017-2018 academic year.

ESC Website
Orientation video for ESCorp project



少し日本語が話せます。今年カリフォルニア大学サンディエゴ校の日本学科でクラスを受けました。今JAPN 10Cを受けます。日本語のクラスはちょっと難しいと思うていますが、楽しいと思います。



Things I enjoy watching

I've received a few requests for a list of anime that I enjoy watching. Here are a few~

All-Time Favorites:
Fullmetal Alchemist: BrotherhoodMy Hero AcademiaDorohedoroOne PieceAttack on Titan
Currently starting/watching:
Jujutsu KaisenGolden KamuiDr. StoneKemono Jihen
Some big names you should check out:
Ghost in the Shell (movie - watch it with subtitles if you can)Hunter x HunterDeath NoteCowboy BebopGintama
Visually gorgeous anime + gut-punch-feels storytelling:
Violet EvergardenVinland SagaDemon Slayer: Kimetsu no YaibaGreat Pretender
Cute or funny anime for days that you need the universe to be gentle with your soul:
How To Keep a MummyMy Roommate is a CatOuran High School Host ClubRecovery of an MMO JunkieWotakoi: Love is Hard for OtakuKeep Your Hands Off Eizouken!Kaguya-samaHaikyuu!Fruits Basket (remake)Grand Blue DreamingGintama
Intriguing/puzzling mysterious anime:
Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)The Promised NeverlandMade in AbyssDorohedoroGolden KamuiMoriarty the PatriotDr. StoneKemono Jihen
Watch these for the memes:
JoJo's Bizarre AdventureKonoSubaGod of High School
I didn't like these and don't recommend them:
citrus (lots of non-consensual interaction)In/Spectre (poorly adapted)Plunderer
check out Ren's MyAnimeList for more!

Media Recommendations

I've curated a list of media that I often recommend to friends! Click the buttons below to navigate to each of my recommendation lists:

Reading Recommendations

Under construction! Check back soon :)