Mosley, education and visitor specialist with the Eudora Welty House & Garden in Jackson, is pursuing her doctorate of philosophy in U.S. history
A sociology assignment 15 years ago on the differences between the way toys are marketed for boys and girls made a lasting impression on Meridian Community College graduate Kasey Mosley.
That assignment on the social construction of gender, as well as other lessons on race, class and ageism from MCC Sociology Instructor Kim Coward, awakened a desire in Mosley to look at history through a new lens and set her on a long academic career path she continues to follow.
Mosley, education and visitor specialist with the Eudora Welty House & Garden in Jackson, is pursuing her doctorate of philosophy in U.S. history through Mississippi State University with an emphasis in the history of science and medicine. The dissertation she is working on examines cancer narratives in popular culture post World War II paying particular attention to how masculinity and femininity are represented.
“I have never forgotten her sociology class and that particular assignment,” said Mosley, in a telephone interview from her home in Brandon. “I vividly remember it. I took a friend with me to Geoffrey’s, and we went to the toy section, and I thought, ‘Wow, my mind is exploding.’ It was something I had seen all of my life, but had not really ‘seen’ before or even thought about. Toys are marketed differently between boys and girls -- the gender roles of toys, the colors.
This is something we have engrained in us from an early age through the media and pop culture and social expectations.”
Mosley said it wasn’t just the lessons on gender but on race, class, ageism and empathy that had lasting impressions on her as a wide-eyed freshman. She wrote Coward an email earlier this year to thank her for impacting her life and letting Coward know she has never forgotten her class.
“Those lessons and discussions about gender, advertising and social constructivism settled deep in my brain and never left,” Mosley wrote.
Coward, who still teaches sociology to MCC students, said the email from a former student took her by surprise. She remembers Mosley because of a conversation they had when Mosley stopped by her office to get her signature on a form in order to add the sociology class to her schedule.
“It is such a privilege to have a student take the time to let you know that your class not only mattered to them, but it helped to shape their career path,” Coward said. “In all honesty, Kasey reminded me of assignments that I had forgotten... The mere fact that she remembered details of those assignments is astonishing to me, and I feel honored to have had that type of impact on a student’s life.”
Mosley completed the University Transfer Program at MCC to earn her associate’s degree in 2008. Two years later, she received her bachelor’s degree in history from MSU-Meridian, changing her major from secondary education to become one of the first graduates of its history program. In August 2011, she started MSU’s graduate school on the Starkville campus, earning her master’s degree in history in 2017.
“I had always known I wanted to go into teaching but wasn’t sure in which direction. I think that is the beauty of college,” she said. “Along the way, I discovered myself, and I discovered what I love, and I had some wonderful people to advise me.”
Over the years, she has been a discussion leader, instructor of record and lecturer all at the university level, as well as has taught social studies at Quitman High School. She began her current position at the Eudora Welty House & Garden last June. She and her husband, Daniel Mosley, have a four-year-old daughter, Riley.
Mosley credits not only Coward but other MCC and MSU-Meridian instructors for instilling in her a love of history. While she always liked the subject during high school, the 2006 Quitman High School graduate never thought of a career centered on history.
“In college, I realized that history was more than names and dates on a page,” she said. “I passionately fell in love with what history can be and what history can teach us.”
The Eudora Welty House & Garden, operated by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, is presently closed due to the coronavirus epidemic. Mosley is still working from home for the Department of Archives and History and is finding time to research her dissertation.
She presented one of her papers, titled “Home as People, Not Place: Eudora Welty’s Personal Sense of Home,” during the Mississippi Historical Society’s Annual Meeting in early March. She was also invited to present her research at the American Association for the History of Medicine Annual Meeting in Ann Arbor, Mich., in May, but was disappointed to learn it was canceled due to COVID-19.
Mosley remembers her years at MCC fondly.
“I really, really enjoyed it,” she said. “I always felt I was getting a challenging, high-quality education while I was still able to stay at home, maintain my part-time job and get ready to transition to a four-year university. My teachers were all approachable and available for me.”
Coward said she is proud of Mosley and the path she chose to follow and says it is important to note that Mosley is proud to be an alumna of MCC.
“It is so rewarding to hear from students who recognize the value of the education they received at the community college level,” she said. “I am so proud of each and every student who aspires to be successful and who pursues their dreams.”
Photo: MCC alumna Kasey Mosley, who serves as education and visitor specialist with the Eudora Welty House & Garden in Jackson, credits MCC for igniting her passion for history.