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Ashley Netanel

Ramapo College has been the point of convergence for all of my passions. While I began my higher education experience as a pre-med student, my love for literary analysis and theory compelled me to become a literature major. Alongside this shift, my fierce enthusiasm for science, social justice, and sexuality intensified and influenced much of my undergraduate work both inside and outside the classroom.

In Fall 2012 I presented my paper, “Weighing Metaphors: Analyzing Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ through Queer Theory, Ecocriticism, Marxist Structuralism, and Psychoanalytical Theory” at the COPLAC Northeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference. This paper acted as one of several academic outlets for the socially-charged topics that I was most excited about. In Spring 2013, I took on the link between language and social change through my paper, “The Blind Woman and the Bird: The Intertextuality of Toni Morrison’s Nobel Prize Speech and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own,” which won First Place in the Fifth Annual SSHGS Student Essay Contest.

Also in Spring 2013, I embarked on my favorite academic adventure to date: a literature independent study project designed along with Dr. Todd Barnes entitled “Narrative and the Erotic.” Through this project I was able to combine my love for literature and sexuality and demonstrate how the narrative style can act as a lens for examining the complex relationships between power, sex, and discourse. This project not only allowed me to critically evaluate the cultural influences of texts such as Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality Pt. 1, Pauline Reage’sThe Story of O, and E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, but it also provided me with some of the basic principles that I continue to use throughout my graduate research in human sexuality.

As a Ramapo student leader, I measure my greatest accomplishment through my role as the founder and first Head Coordinator of Sexuality Acceptance and Freedom of Expression (SAFE), a safe space for open and honest discussion about sex and sexuality (established Spring 2012). In Spring 2012 I received an Outstanding Student Service Award for my contribution to campus life through active participation in student clubs and organizations, and in Spring 2013 I was awarded the Jerome Lee Memorial Award for Exceptional Leadership.

Today I reside in Philadelphia, PA where I am pursuing my master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education at Widener University. My current research interests include the examination of sexual subcultures (especially their cultural texts and histories), and the ways in which societal power structures influence personal sexual relationships. I hope to continue my studies in Human Sexuality Education towards a doctoral degree and to one day design and instruct a college-level course called “Alternative Sexuality in American Culture.” As I continue to look forward to an exciting future in my chosen field, I frequently recognize that my successes have been a collaborative effort together with the members of the Ramapo community who have supported me on this journey.