Ally Day '09MA: GCS Will Always Be My Intellectual Home
Ally reflects on how her MA in gender and cultural studies made her more competitive in applying to PhD programs.
Which graduate program did you complete at Simmons? What were your areas of focus?
I graduated with my MA in gender and cultural studies (GCS). My areas of interest were women’s health, autobiography, and HIV.
What are you doing now?
I'm an Assistant Professor in the Disability Studies Program at University of Toledo.
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 and cultural studies?
Not only does it give you the opportunity to read and re-read foundational theorists but it gives 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.
What was the best part of being a GCS student?
What wasn't? GCS will always be my intellectual home.