From Provo, Utah, to Beirut, Lebanon, our alumni work and teach all over the world and publish widely in their respective fields. We are proud of the contributions they continue to make to the academy and the community, and we are pleased to highlight their accomplishments
Feel free to browse through the alumni bios below to get a sense of professional opportunities for students after graduation. If you are an alum, and wish to be included here, or if you want your information updated, please fill out our information form.
Love the English Department? Appreciate what you learned here? Consider donating to help future students succeed.
Bailey Shoemaker and SPARK Call Upon LEGO to Consider Gender Construction in Their New Product Line
The English Department at Ohio University is proud to recognize Bailey Shoemaker Richards, Alumnus and member of the activist group SPARK, who met with LEGO executives to discuss the gendering of their new "Friends" product line of building blocks. Her activism was recently featured in the articles by Ginia Bellafante of the New York Times and Tracey Connor of New York Daily News.
LEGO has been celebrated for its gender-neutral figurines. But the new line contains figurines with accented busts and curves that, the group argues, portray a narrow sense of feminine identity. “I’d played with Legos my whole life...I saw this, and I wasn’t thrilled,” says Bailey. In response the activists placed post-it notes on the products in stores in New York. These notes asked questions about the such tropes as the "science nerd " and "party planner" as identities for the figurines, as well as the choice of placeing the figures in playsets such as a hot tub, beauty parlor, and pool. LEGO responded by arranging a meeting with SPARK to hear their concerns. According to the executive director of SPARK, Dana Edell, LEGO was very responsive, “They said we will see some changes in the next couple of years,” says Edell, "They absolutely listened to us."
Bailey Shoemaker Richards is also a writer for the SPARK blog, where she writes from her own experience and questions portryals of women in pop culture.