13: Ashlyn Jaeger



Program and Year of Study

PhD, 5th year

Previous degrees and colleges

MA Sociology, University of California, Davis (2014)

BA Sociology, University of California, Davis (2012)

BA Women and Gender Studies, University of California, Davis (2012)

Where did you grow up?

Sonora, CA—a small town near Yosemite. 

Where do you live now?

Davis, CA

What's your favorite spot in Davis?

“The ditch”—it’s a trail on the edge of town near some farm land where my dog and I go running in the mornings. When the farm grows sunflowers during the summer it’s one of the prettiest places in Davis to watch the sunset. 

How do you relax?

I run and do yoga to recover from the stress grad school puts on our bodies. I also watch mindless TV shows or spend time outdoors to take my mind off work.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

Ready Player One by Earnest Cline

What was the last film you saw at the theater?

20th Century Women

Research interests

Sociology of gender and reproduction; science and technology studies; sociology of risk; reproductive technologies; feminist research methods

Dissertation title or topic

Titled Freezing Uncertainty: A Feminist Genealogy of Fertility Risk in the Field of Gamete Cryopreservation, my dissertation investigates the role of gender and other social positions in shaping the construction and navigation of fertility risks in the field of egg and sperm freezing.

Please share a surprising or noteworthy fact or finding from your research

Through my media analysis, several ideal typical representations of candidates for egg and sperm freezing emerged. Female candidates for egg freezing were portrayed in 1 of 3 ways: 1) sympathy-garnering cancer patients, 2) empowered/selfish “career women”, or 3) waiting to find “Mr. Right”.  Importantly, in discussions of both single and career-focused women, the relationship between aging and fertility decline is a key process described as driving women to store their eggs. Ideal male users of sperm freezing are depicted in primarily two ways: 1) also as cancer patients, and 2) as employees in professions with hazardous working conditions (e.g. soldiers). 

Which professor or class inspired you to pursue graduate studies?

Working as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Dina Okamoto on the New Immigrant Destinations Project. Dr. Okamoto’s mentorship allowed me to realize my passion for social research and offered me the skills and confidence to begin working on my own project and apply to graduate school.

Which scholarly text do you wish you had written? Why?

Donna Haraway’s Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Haraway is always thinking way outside of the box when it comes to gender, science, and technology. She inspires me to push theoretical and methodological boundaries with my own work. 

Which other researchers at UC Davis are doing work that particularly interests you?

Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies Natalia Deeb-Sossa’s work on women’s reproductive rights. Associate Professor of Sociology Patrick Carroll’s work on the intersection of science, government, and the California Delta.

What’s the best thing about being a grad student?

The autonomy—going on vacation without having to get it approved by a boss never gets old.

What's the worst?

The autonomy—it makes it difficult to stay motivated and on task. 

If you weren’t a grad student, what would you be doing?

I would probably be working at a non-profit related to women’s health.

Finally, please ask yourself a question

Plans for your next vacation?

Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc this summer.


—April 2017


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