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Ashley Barry ‘18
English and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies double major
Summa Cum Laude


Why Stony Brook University?
Stony Brook welcomed me with open arms, and I was able to find an academic path that has helped me be happy and healthy.

On her majors:
I discovered academic writing during WRT102 and realized how much I enjoyed delving into a text.
I decided to become an English major so I could learn how to analyze more effectively and conduct my own research. I added my second major in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies because I was interested in feminism and wanted to learn more about it.

On her favorite classes:
I think one of my favorite classes was WST398: Transnational Feminism and Film. I was introduced to feminist film criticism and affect theory, which have become my academic fields. My professor, Dr. Joy Schaefer, also has become one of my most important mentors, and I was able to use that course to propel my interests towards graduate school.

Interests and accomplishments:
I am mostly interested in what narratives can teach us about academic theory, and how these texts can be used to explain more abstract feminist ideas to a broader audience. I am also interested in the emotional experience of being a feminist scholar, so my recent project looked at how feminists that study film can approach #MeToo, especially if the films we studied were made by abusive men. I also currently work as a Peer Tutor at the Stony Brook University Writing Center, and working with students is one of my favorite things to do on campus, as it improves my writing as well.

This year, I presented my work at the American Comparative Literature Association Conference at ACLA, the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference in Pittsburgh, and the Stony Brook University English Graduate Conference. I also received a research grant last year and was able to spend my summer working independently with my mentor Dr. Justin Johnston, which then led to the material I used for my English Honors thesis this past semester.

Outside of academics, I really enjoy crafting and spending time outside. I try to learn new hobbies, so I am sort of able to knit, crochet, collage, and paint. During the summer, I pretty much live at West Meadow and Robert Moses beach, reading and biking with my friends.

Awards & Accolades:
I am a member of Alpha Nu Zeta and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies and will be graduating summa cum laude. I have been chosen by the College of Arts and Sciences Department of English as this year’s Lillian F. Kahn award recipient for 2018, and I received a Graduate Council Fellowship for my PhD.

Plans for post-graduation:
I will be entering the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies doctoral program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook this fall with a Graduate Council Fellowship. I plan on continuing my research on film, developing my own classes, and continuing my work at the Writing Center.

Career aspirations: 
During my graduate career, I would like to continue presenting my work at conferences with the goal of publishing and finding postdoc placement. I would then like to continue working in academia, as a professor in English, Women’s Studies, or Writing. Also, I have experience in activism and would love to return to that type of work.

What is your favorite aspect of the college experience?
For me, being part of a community of thinkers has been my favorite part of college. In my experience in the humanities, I have been able to connect intellectually with my peers and professors so we can share ideas and develop really complex projects in conversation with one another. I have been able to vastly improve my own work through this type of collaborative process, and I have been inspired by the work of those around me.

What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
I would strongly recommend getting involved on campus, whether it be in a club or within your department. As a commuter, joining and being eboard in a club really made me feel invested in the community, and I then felt comfortable being more social with people in my major. Also, you definitely get out what you put in, so find opportunities to do things that sound fun, like independent research, working as a TA, or studying abroad.

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