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Ask the Cougar

Archives For April 2012

Photo by Hannah Reed

My name is Ashley Maggio, and I am an undergraduate student, double majoring in English and Women’s and Gender studies. I was fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to attend the South Eastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA) conference, which took place at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. I presented a paper titled “a strategy for coping in a mad world”: A Feminist Disability Framing of Mental Illness and the “Madwoman,” which I had previously written for Dr. Alison Piepmeier’s Disability, Power, and Privilege course last Spring semester.

As an undergraduate, it was admittedly a bit daunting to present alongside professors and graduate students, but the atmosphere of the conference was very welcoming and encouraging. The best part of the conference was presenting my paper on a panel with other people from different universities that shared a similar interest in feminist disability scholarship. One of the most rewarding moments for me was answering questions during the Q&A session of my panel, when the audience gave me suggestions for other research, as well as giving me encouraging feedback that I do not normally encounter, since I am often writing a paper that only my professor reads. Overall, the experience really challenged me, as well as making me realize my value as a student outside of my own college’s setting.

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