Humans of the English Department: Hailey Hughes

Friday, 24 February 2017

Humans of the English Department: Hailey HughesStudents around campus either know Hailey Hughes by her great writing,…

Posted by English Department at Marshall University on Friday, February 24, 2017


Students and faculty all around campus either know Hailey from her spirit, her constant smile or her great writing. She’s a senior in our program, a Nonfiction writer and one of West Virginia’s first surviving quadruplets.

Currently, she’s a semi-finalist for a highly-competitive Fulbright Student Award.

The Fulbright Student Award was founded by Senator J. William Fulbright after World War II, and was designed to use surplus war funds to send students into the world to promote and contribute to peace and unity, which is exactly what Hailey wants to do if she wins. She’s already been accepted to the University College Cork, in Ireland. When asked what led her to chose Ireland as her place of study, she immediately mentioned their rich literary history—specifically the way they “used literature to combat oppression and reclaim their culture”—and the University College Cork’s student-led Society for Disability Rights.

Hailey, who has Cerebral Palsy, has a passion for helping other members of the disabled community. “I want to help the marginalized; I want to work with the disabled after college. I recently did a project called, ‘Freedom from the Colonized Disabled Body through Narrative.’ My goal is to start a storytelling group with people in the disability culture in Cork. I want to encourage autonomy in people with emotional or learning disabilities. Everyone can tell and be affected by a story, even if they can’t speak.” If she receives the Fulbright Student Award, she hopes to work with Stephanie Ballou, Marshall’s Director of Disability Services, to bring together members of Marshall’s and University College Cork’s disabled communities. “I want to start a discussion on accessibility and autonomy.”

Last May, she went on Marshall’s College of Arts and Media trip to Florence, Italy. “I knew I wanted to go to Ireland through the Fulbright, so I went to Italy in preparation, to gain international experience. I loved the nice people, the art, and the culture! I knew I wanted to go somewhere with art, culture, and literature.” She says this trip to Italy, especially the Roma she encountered, influenced her desire to work with the disabled community through education and the arts: “I couldn’t help the Roma in Italy, and that made me realize how much I wanted to do something to help the disenfranchised.”

When Hailey finishes her Masters (either in Ireland or here in the States) she wants to continue working with the disabled community and global education of disabled issues, and of course, to continue writing about her experiences.

Hailey would like to thank Mallory Carpenter, Joel and Rachael Peckham, and her parents for all their help and support.

For now, you can catch Hailey around the English Department, and read some of her work online at The Odyssey.