Emalee Farley is a Women’s Studies major. She transferred from El Camino Community College in the South Bay and chose Fresno State to be close to family while gaining independence. Farley is passionate about intersectional issues and chose Women’s Studies as a major in her search for an interdisciplinary higher education.

“The College of Social Sciences has molded me into a person that I only dreamed of being. It has made me into an activist and a scholar. It has made me excited and prepared to continue my studies at a graduate school and to not give up even when it seems too hard,” Farley said.

She shared her educational experience at Fresno State in a Q&A

What is your career goal? 

I want to be a Women’s Studies professor. I definitely did not expect to desire to teach at the college level. In high school, I was pretty sure I wanted to be a nurse, but after some introductory courses, I knew that wasn’t where my heart was. I then switched my plan to become a program director at a non-profit organization serving marginalized communities. At Fresno State, my professors have inspired me to continue my education and become a professor.

What do you think about the College of Social Sciences (COSS) and our professors?

IMG_6897I absolutely love COSS and my professors. Dr. Katherine Fobear, Dr. Leece Lee-Oliver, Dr. Kathryn Forbes, Dr. Loretta Kensinger, and Dr. Janet Slagter are just a handful of the amazing professors COSS has. I feel so privileged to have Dr. Lee-Oliver and Dr. Fobear as my advisors and mentors. Their encouragement has brought me farther than I ever thought possible.

Did you experience any challenges as a student?

At the end of Spring 2019, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I experienced paralysis of my right side and difficulties with speech. This was a huge roadblock and made me fearful that I would not be able to complete my studies on track. The amazing professors of COSS and the Services for Students with Disabilities office encouraged and supported me in a way I did not think was possible, and I am proud to say my studies were not impacted at all by my disability.

What is your most memorable experience at Fresno State?


My most memorable experience at Fresno State was organizing and presenting at the Gender, Race, and Sexuality Undergraduate Conference. I made lifelong friends with my fellow committee members and reached a deeper understanding of my role as a community-engaged scholar and activist. I am proud to say that this legacy lives on as CSU Long Beach will host the 2nd annual GRS Conference this summer.

How do you feel about being recognized as an outstanding student?

I do not feel deserving of this recognition, but I feel immense gratitude to my program for selecting me. This honor has made me realize that although I may feel isolated in my research, the impact is far greater than I can understand or hope for. Thank you so much to the Women’s Studies Program for recognizing my work and seeing me as deserving of this recognition.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?

I see myself as a Women’s Studies professor, continuing my research on the intersection of queerness, disability, and food. I also see myself married to Jamie Crews, my partner and support system, with a few children. I hope for a good, fulfilling life.

What is your advice for other students?

My advice is to make lasting relationships with your professors. These relationships have changed my life and inspired me to take new paths in my research that I would not have gone down without them.

Farley says her experience at Fresno State exceeded her expectations and is excited for graduate school but she could not have done it alone.

“Thank you to my mom, for seeing me and encouraging me in everything I do. Thank you for being an example of a strong woman, and being willing to learn along with me. Thank you to my partner, Jamie, for supporting me and instilling confidence in myself. Thank you to Dr. Lee-Oliver, for your mentorship and deep conversations about life itself. Thank you to Dr. Fobear for being there for me through the toughest part of my life, and for giving me something to hold onto in the midst of it: my research.”