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Ashley O'Mara (G'14)

Ashley O'Mara (G'14)

PhD Student in English

Ashley O’Mara entered the English MA program in Fall 2012 and graduated in 2014, and is now a PhD student in English at Syracuse University, where she studies the queer aesthetics and politics of Catholicism after the English Reformation. She has held a number of executive positions in the English Graduate Organization (EGO), and she is currently serving as the Admissions and Recruitment intern and webmaster for the Department of English. She also blogs for EGO’s Metathesis and serves as a curator and contributor with the Six Degrees of Francis Bacon project.

How has your experience as an MA student at Syracuse helped you succeed?
I came in as a first-generation grad student with very little understanding of how academia worked and only a vague sense of what I wanted to study, and one month into my studies I wanted to quit. Now I’m a third-year PhD student, I’m starting to see the outlines of my dissertation, and I have held many different service positions. What happened in the middle is outstanding mentorship. My professors showed me their strong interest in my ideas about Catholicism and queer sexuality early on, which encouraged me to pursue them as legitimate subjects of inquiry. My current advisor practically made me start participating in campus activities, putting me in contact with important Renaissance scholars, and now I’m an (eager!) active contributor to department culture — not only serving in EGO, but also working for our public-humanities blog Metathesis and mentoring new English grads at orientation. And the community I’ve found here among my fellow English grad students has been the most supportive I’ve found anywhere. We take care of each other, which for me means I’ve had the best peer mentors, and I hope I can be the same for junior students.

Ashley lives with her bunny, Toffee Touchstone, in Central New York, where she enjoys biking through autumn leaves and waits impatiently for the next season of the BBC's Sherlock.