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Meet Dr. Emily Cranford

Dr. Emily Cranford is a professor who I was lucky enough to get to know during my first term at Augustana. It was comforting for me to know that last fall was her first term here as well. She currently teaches in the French and First Year Inquiry programs, and she’s the advisor of GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance). Next year she’ll also be teaching a Women and Gender Studies course in the spring, and plans on getting more involved with the Environmental Studies program.


What brought you to Augustana?

I really like small liberal arts colleges, so I was happy to come here. I was delighted to meet the people in my program who were really open to letting me propose and teach courses that are my specialty, especially those concerning gender from the medieval to the 1800s. Two of my best friends from graduate school live about an hour away so it was delightful to know that I’d be living near them too.


Is there anything about Augustana that stood out to you when you first began working here?

I did notice that there was a lot of institutional faculty and administrative support for a diversity of students and faculty members. I feel like the administration, when I first came here, was really quite supportive of people being themselves and pursuing what is it that they want to pursue.


You’re the new advisor for Gender and Sexuality Alliance. What kinds of things does GSA do?

A lot of it is building a community of queers and allies. We meet once a week. We had a Thanksgiving meal together, which was really nice. We have our big drag show in the spring where we get professionals to come and perform….We also like to just make sure people are aware of our presence on campus and work for a more accepting campus community. In the fall, before I was the advisor, they did a panel on coming out—as trans, asexual, gay, lesbian, or queer—and I was really touched by how well they did. I was very proud of them.


What’s your favorite French film, at the moment?

It’s called Bande de Filles. It’s fairly recent, and it is about a young woman as she develops, and navigates not necessarily having a place in a community, wanting to pursue more scholarly things in high school and being told she can’t do that, and then essentially how she made this wonderful friend group of ladies who support her.



Where’s your favorite place to eat in the Quad Cities?

I really like QC Pancake House. Otherwise, there’s a bar called Raw in downtown Davenport that does cheese and charcuterie plates.


Where’s the best place to eat in your hometown?

I’m from Greensboro, North Carolina, and we have a really great restaurant scene. One place is called Crafted the Art of the Tacos and they have delicious combinations of things. The chef also has a sister restaurant called Crafted the Art of Street Food. A place I always go back to, especially with my family, is a pho restaurant called Pho Hien Vuong. I just love it so much.


Is there any advice you wish you had gotten when you were a college student?

Oh, many things. I was really shy. I did what I wanted, but I could have been braver in how I chose to define what I wanted to study. I took some good chances, and the connections I made with professors was really nice, having them as mentors and friends. That is one thing I did right; took advantage of the wonderful faculty. We really do care about you, and that’s the reason we do this. Also, don’t think too much necessarily about where college is going to take you job-wise, because if you have the skills of a liberal arts education, you’re going to find something.

Rachel is a junior at Augustana college majoring in English. She is newly involved in writing and editing at Her Campus, a college buddy in the Best Buddies program, and won first place this year in College of Dupage's Writers Read creative writing contest for her piece "Finding a Voice".
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