Congratulations to third year PhD student Ashley Gaddy for her new position at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ashley will be continuing her studies while also working as the Assistant Director of Residential Life for Multicultural Affairs at VCU. Christine Rosenfeld conducted a short interview with Ashley to learn more about this new position and how Ashley will apply her Cultural Studies lens to her duties. Read below to see her responses.
What jobs and experiences have led you to this job?
I started in telecommunications working for a large phone company in a call center right after undergrad. I thought it would be a part time position, but I stayed 4 years and was able to become a Technical Support Coordinator. I then transitioned into Higher Education as the Assistant Director of Night Operations at George Mason University where I oversaw a student staff dedicated to the safety of the residence halls overnight. After working third shift for a full year, I became the Resident Director over Rogers Hall and University Townhouses and supervised a staff of 12 Resident Advisors and served on many committees for the department of Housing and Residence Life.
What will your primary duties be for your new position?
As the Assistant Director of Residential Life for Multicultural Affairs, my primary duties will include training all professional and student staff members in Residential Life and Housing on Diversity, Inclusion, and Multiculturalism to verify that proper programs are happening in the residence halls. I will also chair the first ever Social Justice Conference at VCU and co-advise the Diversity Ambassadors, a group of students who will do peer to peer training on race and culture.
How is your job related to your academic interests as a PhD student? Do you think you will be able to incorporate your knowledge of Cultural Studies into your new job and if so, how?
This job is the perfect position to relate to my interest in Cultural Studies. I have always had an interest in how race and class are incorporated in our field and this position allows that interest to flourish and for me to continue to learn and teach. I will use the work of Stuart Hall and Karl Marx as I teach students and professionals on how race and class are major components in culture, media, and inclusion. Michel Foucault and Roderick Ferguson will be used to show examples of how race and gender in academia has been explored, exploited, and exist today.
What do you anticipate being the biggest struggle of your job?
I believe my biggest challenge will be controlling my passion. This work is what drives me and my passion for it shows often. I understand that every student and/or staff member will not have the same level of passion for Diversity Education as I and that is ok, I just hope that they understand the importance of it and make strides to social change.
What is the thing that excites you the most about your new position?
What excites me the most about this position is the impact I will have on hundreds of people! I love working with college students and allowing them to grow and learn; so although with this position I am not directly supervising them like before, I now have the ability to increase the amount of impact and education with a larger student body.
January 16, 2016