Abby Kirby ?18

Abby Kirby

Class Year


Current home

McHenry, Illinois



Current Position

Graduate student in Media and Cinema Communications at DePaul University

At Carthage, Abby Kirby ’18 says she received support from professors who understood her interests and who wanted to open every door available to her. When Professor Shannon Brennan recommended that Ms. Kirby read “Fans, Bloggers, and Gamers” by Henry Jenkins, it blossomed a passion she didn’t realize she had.

“That was a turning point in my career, and it helped to know my professors would get me there.”

Ms. Kirby is now a graduate student at DePaul University, where she continues to pursue her dreams as she works on her master thesis, which focuses on “microfandoms.”

“Carthage promised me a family, and they delivered big time. I found a group of people who cared about something and then didn’t stop caring.”

Abby Kirby, ’18

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“At the moment, I’m starting on my master thesis. I’ve always been interested in fans and fanworks, so I’ll be doing research on ‘microfandoms,’ which are groups of fans who have created their own narratives. What happens when a fan becomes a creator? I love having the ability to ask questions and then answer them, no matter how silly the question may be. I love doing the research and interviewing participants; nothing is better than solving a mystery and having fun along the way.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“Writing my English thesis at Carthage has been, by far, the most helpful experience of my career. It was hard work, but I learned so many valuable lessons. I not only learned how to write a paper of significant length and how to do research, but I learned how to trust my gut and how to keep my confidence high in times of struggle. We do a lot of analysis and essay writing in my department, and I always feel good when I get to say ‘I know that! I learned it at Carthage!’”

Are you a Carthage alum who is excelling in your field?