During my time in the English and Writing Studies program I faced new challenges and had several triumphs, but above all, I was transformed. I made connections with professors, creatives, and other scholars around the world while also creating lively networked digital worlds with friends to collaborate. I was able to expand my knowledge extensively and find areas of interest that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. My thesis, Breaking the Manacles: Finding, Claiming, and Shaping Self was an auto ethnography where I studied myself and my creative process. I incorporated perspectives on the ways my work and process was impacted by things like gender, race, and digital/new media. The purpose of my thesis was to not only reclaim a bit of myself that I felt I had lost touch with, but to provide an open educational resource for those working through the same issues that I was. Ultimately, I wanted others to know that their voice and their story is not optional… it is needed.
It was important to me, when entering the program, to be able to stay true to myself and to curate and produce work that I was proud of, and my mentor and advisor, Dr. Mia Zamora, gave me the leeway and the platform to do just that. Dr. Zamora was and always will be an inspiration to me; she exudes grace and professionalism, and has provided unconditional support for me since I first met her. To any prospective student considering this program, I want you to know that you will have someone in your corner who truly cares about your continued success and growth as a person and a scholar.