PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Abigail RayAlexander

“It’s just all these different possibilities. And that’s really, I think, exciting and invigorating, and also totally terrifying when you’re just not sure what it’s gonna look like at first.”

Krieger School of Arts & Sciences

German and Romance Languages & Literatures (French), PhD 2016

Associate Professor of French at Kennesaw State University

Abigail‘s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss the unexpected ways that Edgar Allen Poe inspired Abby to pursue her PhD in nineteenth-century French literature, her advice for embracing uncertainty and having an open mind when it comes to finding your first post-graduate job, and the ways her personal and professional priorities have evolved since her first experience on the academic job market to landing her current tenure track position at Kennesaw State University.

Learn More About Abigail‘s Story

I met my husband, Christopher RayAlexander, in the PHD program at JHU. He was studying 19th-century Mexican literature, and I was studying 19th-century French literature. We like to think we strengthened the already strong bonds between the French and Spanish programs during our time there.

This picture makes me think of my identity as a partner and wife to Chris as well as a cat mom to Jean-Philippe (JP). I adopted JP in Baltimore the week that I moved to town, and I went on my first date with Chris for pizza in Charles Village a few weeks later. Poor Chris is wildly allergic to cats, but he loves JP very much (and takes an allergy pill every day). We all miss Baltimore, but we’re also loving living in the Atlanta area now.

This photo could be entitled “Tired and happy.” On October 1, 2022, I gave birth to a son, Theodore Felix RayAlexander (Theo for short). In March 2023, I received notification of my tenure approval and promotion to Associate Professor of French at Kennesaw State University.

This picture encapsulates a new phase in my life and career as a mom and an academic. Theo and I are in my home office, which I share with my husband Chris, who took this picture. Theo’s wearing an outfit that one of my mentors gave him, and my striped “Zoom shirt” is hanging on the back of my chair here. That’s the shirt I put on to host office hours, participate in meetings, give video feedback to students, etc.

What I love most about this picture is how clearly I can see that Theo got his dad’s eyes and my smile.