Faculty Spotlight

Meet Your Professor: Becky Thompson

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I attended Colorado College for two years, then a school without walls in Chicago, then I transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz where I majored in sociology, minored in women’s studies, and took a number of pre-med courses.  

Tell us about your role at Simmons.

I get to work with an amazing combination of students in a number of classes like "Working for Social Justice," "Love Calls Us to the Things of this World: Leaders for Social Justice," and "Diversity in Education" (a doctoral course).

Do you have a favorite course you teach?

I was thrilled to get to teach with Professor Janie Ward last semester. We taught a learning community on Black and white women's friendships.

What's your favorite thing about Simmons?

The people who work in dining services — especially Ms. Ruby.

What inspired you to work in sociology and academia?

Sociology is the closest subject I could find for studying African American Studies at the graduate level before there were PhD programs in Black and Women’s Studies. 

Can you tell us about your research?

Since 2015 I have been traveling to Lesvos, Greece in the summers and during breaks to meet rafts of people coming from Turkey to Greece. Families coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Iran, and other countries, risking their lives to save their lives. I hope to go back to Greece to continue offering poetry workshops with people in transit as soon as the pandemic will allow.

I edited a volume of poetry by and for refugees with Palestinian poet Jehan Bseiso called Making Mirrors: Righting/Writing by and for Refugees. I've also been working on my own poetry that is now a collection, To Speak in Salt, that just won the Ex Ophidia Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Hollis Summer Poetry Prize.

Praise your fierce selves for surviving in this upside-down time. You are our teachers.

If we visited your home office, what would we see?

Calla lilies in a tall vase, my puppy Lola Kalinyctha sleeping on her bed, Buddha bells hanging from the window, and snow missing its clouds as it falls from the sky. 

What's the last book you read?

I finished Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman recently. I also have a number of other books going simultaneously since I steal time to read at night when my puppy is finally sleeping: 

  • Fantasies and Hard Knocks, the 900-page memoir of famous bookmaker Richard-Gabriel Rummonds
  • Seeing the Body, a book of poems by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
  • the latest issue of the Massachusetts Review "A Gathering of Native Voices"
  • The Book of Delights by Ross Gay

Is there a TV show you're currently binging?

A TV show that I've been watching recently is Queen Sugar.

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for students?

Praise your fierce selves for surviving in this upside-down time. You are our teachers. 

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