Amy B. Smoyer, PhD

Incarcerated Lives, Health & Social Work


Boy & Graduate
My doctoral journey came to an end with graduation on May 23, 2013.  Lucky 23.

If nothing else, we've learned that everyone has a story.  Mine includes a huge cast of characters; here are the leading roles (reprinted from my dissertation's acknowledgements, all rights reserved):

First, the scholars.  The PhD role models who led, and inspired, by example: Carl, Dr. David D., Jonathan, Stacy, and Trinka. My mentors at work who urged me to start, and stop, and gave me the flexibility to make it happen: Kim and Nate.  My CUNY cohort, each of whom brought a unique style and curiosity to this endeavor: Craig, Jama, Johanna, Johanna, Martha, Michelle, Rhoda, Shannah and Wan.  All of my teachers along the way, especially Sandra Sparrow, Elizabeth Blackmar, Sharon Maxwell, and my dissertation chair, Deborah Tolman.  May your findings always be significant.

Second, you, my blog readers, especially Alycia, Jennifer, Jessica, Jon, Pete, Trace and my English class in Pontepedriña. Your tolerant enthusiasm and attention to my ranting can never be repaid.

Third, the New Haven-Hooker community of friends who keep me all fuzzy and warm: Andy & Cameron; Christine & Lance; Kaveh, Salma & PK; Libby; Lisa & Rich; Monica & Todd; Rebecca & Ben; Sandy & Jay.  Pam at Evergreen. Thanks for inviting me over and letting me stay.

Fourth, my family from Marion to Santiago de Compostela, Fairbanks to Akron, young and old, dead and alive, who have created the foundation from which this all grows.  Especially my parents who taught me to be unafraid and curious, cheered me on every step of the way, and covered the home front; my in-laws, for their unconditional support; cousin JJ, the keeper of the ring; and my sister, Laura, for listening and always agreeing with me, unless I am wrong.

Finally, the ones at the center.  The women who participated in this study and allowed me to learn and grow from their survival.  My little mermaid, always kicking deeper. My patient boy.  And the cute guy who thought it was a good idea and has never stopped believing that.

The full dissertation will be available on ProQuest (for free!) and, perhaps, at a theater near you.  Still hoping to cast Jodie as me.

Blog coming to an end now as well, perhaps to be rekindled sometime in the future should I find the need to carry on some more.  Let's close with words from the brave Ossie Davis:
“We can’t float through life. We can’t be incidental, or accidental. We must fix our gaze on a guiding star as soon as one comes upon the horizon, and once we have attached ourselves to that star we must keep our eyes on it and our hands on the plow.