For the fifth and final day of Women in Sports Week, Sports Editor Dan Madigan was able to talk with Aly Auriemma, an adjunct professor at UConn, about what she does, the role of women’s sports at UConn and of course, her father.
DM: First off, you’re a writer and an adjunct professor in the English department here at UConn. What classes have you taught this semester, and what drew you to teaching and working in the English department?
AA: I graduated from UConn in 2007 with a BFA in drama and that was originally my goal, to be an actor, but I realized I wasn’t necessarily cut out for that lifestyle. I applied to the MA program here because it has a very reputable Children’s Literature department as well as a Medieval Studies concentration (which I started out being into but then switched to children’s lit). I was rejected the first time. After a year of work, I was accepted into the program, and I received my degree in May 2013.
I say all of this because many people react with a “oh duh!” when I tell them I work at UConn. Really, my dad had nothing to do with it. I love the program, and I love the people I work with.
This year I taught four First Year Writing classes, focusing mainly on graphic novels and fan participation studies. Lots of fun discussion on Captain America and political events! I also present at the annual Children’s Literature Association Conference, which is just an excuse to geek out with friends for a weekend.
DM: As a faculty member of UConn and the daughter of one of the most prominent figures in UConn athletics in Geno Auriemma, do you feel that UConn does a good job of supporting its female student-athletes?
AA: Well, it depends on the sport! Obviously the women’s team gets a lot of publicity, and our field hockey team is amazing. But I’d love even more attention paid to them.
Truth be told I don’t really go around campus wearing a “GENO’S KID” sandwich board so I try to keep a low profile when it comes to that kind of thing. I’m usually not aware of the ins and outs. Most of my students just know me as Miss A, the teacher with more energy at 9AM than any human should have.
DM: What was your reaction to the 111-game winning streak the women’s team posted over the course of these past three seasons and the loss to Mississippi State?
AA: “Well, that’s fine!” No. Seriously. I thought it was totally fine. We were always going to lose. I was calming friends of mine down! I truly have a zen attitude about it all now. We’ve won so much and we’ve been so privileged. It’s someone else’s turn to shine. We’ll be back!
DM: Geno drew some criticism during the Final Four for his statements on the lack of female coaches in women’s basketball, and you did not shy away from the subject on Twitter. How important was it for you to add your perspective to his remarks, and do you think that eventually more women will return to coaching women’s basketball?
AA: As a woman, an educator, a feminist, and the daughter of someone who pushed me to be better at all of those things, i would be remiss if I didn’t speak up on things that matter. On my Twitter I am very engaged in political and social issues; it’s something that I think we could all stand to get more involved in.