Ally Day '09GS: GCS Will Always Be My Intellectual Home
Which graduate program did you complete at Simmons? What were your areas of focus?
I graduated with my MA in Gender/Cultural Studies (GCS). My areas of interest were women’s health, autobiography, and HIV.
How did Simmons prepare you for your PhD program?
It definitely allowed me the time to develop the analytical reading skills I needed for PhD work; my critical writing skills also improved immensely. I came to the program with a creative writing degree and my learning curve was steep!
What do you believe was your greatest accomplishment at Simmons?
Learning to read—I’m not kidding! When I began at Simmons, I went to my first class with Jyoti Puri and thought I had read the wrong book, I was so lost in the discussion. I went home, cried, and then got to work reading by summarizing every paragraph, sometimes every sentence, of every reading until I figured out how to do close reading of critical theory, a skill I use every single day as a tenure-track professor of Disability Studies.
What were the benefits of an interdisciplinary/intersectional program like Gender/Cultural Studies?
Not only does it give you the opportunity to read and re-read foundational theorists but it give you several lenses through which to interact with those theorists. With these lenses, it becomes easier to see the holes in the scholarship, where your own work can really make a difference.
Describe the personal and professional relationships you cultivated within your GCS cohort.
When I started my PhD program, I had this inflated understanding that everyone in my program would want to discuss readings over pitchers of beer, coordinate potlucks for one another’s birthdays, and read one another’s work with a supportive eye. I was grossly misled. I had all of these things with my cohort at Simmons, making some of the best friends I have ever had—I also met my wife in the program.
What was the best part of being a GCS student?
What wasn't? GCS will always be my intellectual home.