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Skidmore College
American Studies Department

Alumni

Check out what our alumni have been up to! If you are an alumni and don't see your information here, or want to update what is currently posted, fill out this form.

Olivia Fidler

Current Pursuits:

Intern for documentary series for PBS called UnLadylike2020 (https://www.pbs.org/video/trailer-unladylike2020-vulzwa/).

Sydney Nathan

Email:

snathan4597@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I work at a PR company called M Booth in the fashion department on the JCPenney and Canada Goose accounts. The major helped me develop strong writing and time management skills.

Lexi Parker

Email:

15parkera@gmail.com

FAVORITE AM CLASS:

Sports Cinema

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I'm a kindergarten teacher. The American Studies major has given me a wider viewpoint of the world, and different ways that I can share those viewpoints with my students. As well as an abundance of fun facts to share with them. 

Charlotte Simon

Email:

charlottesimon97@gmail.com

Favorite Class:

A Humorous Discourse

Current Pursuits: 

I work in media relations at FX Networks in NYC. The major introduced me to topics and perspectives that have benefitted me tremendously in my industry. It helped improve my writing, critical thinking, and research skills, and since graduating I've networked with many AMST alums.  

Grace Florsheim

Grace Heath

Sofia Jofre

Devon Kilburn

Gabriella Lewin

Antonia Penfold

Aliza Sabin

Wyeth Taylor

Rel Bogom-Shanon

Email:

abshanon@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

American Orientalism

Current Pursuits:

I work front of house as a cashier and barista for K'far, a recently opened Israeli bakery and cafe in the CookNSolo restaurant group. More broadly working for CookNSolo, my professional pursuits include creating excellent hospitality experiences, disrupting unjust food systems and giving back to the Philadelphia community, and giving honor and voice to Israeli food in a Philadelphia context. I love thinking critically about the particular United States culture around food and hospitality. Being able to understand culture in a global and political context gives me depth perspective and compassion while working in unjust and thankless systems, which then gives me hope and energy for recreating and turning towards just systems.

Nora Faber

Email: 

norarfaber@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I currently work at a brand management agency aiding in production, consulting, and public relations. We work across various industries to deliver creative and thoughtful work for our clients and their consumers. My American Studies degree continues to aid my life outside of Skidmore each and every day. The deep understanding of American social and political dynamics allow me to closely analyze our modern world, including trends and cultural shifts, with a great deal of knowledge.

Magden Gipe

Email: 

magden.gipe@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Myth and Symbol in America

Current Pursuits:

I am a Photoshop restoration artist at New Moon Films, and create promotional videos for aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Lisanny Manzueta Custodio

Email: 

lmanzuet@sbu.edu

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

After graduating Skidmore in 2018, I began working at St. Bonaventure University's Higher Education Opportunity Program as an Academic Counselor. The classes I took as an American Studies major challenged me both personally and academically. I use those skills to help my current students be successful in their academic endeavors.

Jack Spiegelman

Email: 

jack.spieg@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I work as a digital and social media manager at a strategic communications and public relations firm in NYC. Being an American Studies major enabled me to improve my research and writing skills. I utilize those skills each and every day both in my professional and personal life.

Alessandra Canario

Arianna Fustini

Brian Hall

Ian Iversen

Meaghan McDonald

Laila Morgan

Lucas Pickering

Zoe Resnick

Louise Sullivan

Allison Trunkey

Emily Walter

Dustin Foote

Email: 

dfoote88@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

American Studies: Methods and Approaches

Current Pursuits:

This May, I'll finish my MFA in doc filmmaking. While I finish my thesis, I've started work as an associate producer at The Players' Tribune - a digital sports media company. With my degree and work experience I hope to build a portfolio to, one day, return to the classroom as a media professor! Every AMST class forced me to be critical and creative - two qualities needed to work in film/video.

Krista Lamoreaux

Email: 

Lamoreaux12994@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Senior Seminar

Current Pursuits:

I currently work at Cadent, a media company, as a sales planner. I am able to view media through multiple lenses and think strategically on where to place media based on American demographics.

Maya Cohn

Claire Cook

Emily Fritzson

Steven Gilbert

Molly Goldman

Benjamin Kim

Gabriela Perez

Leigh Tooker

Andrew Uebelein

Rachel Barrachina

Email: 

reb124@georgetown.edu

Favorite AM Class:

American Studies: Methods and Approaches

Current Pursuits:

I taught 4th grade ELA at a no-excuses charter school and 9th and 10th grade Earth Systems Science at an independent school in DC.  Now, I attend Georgetown University for a M.A. in Education Advocacy and Policy while concurrently working for the STEM Education Coalition. I learned to think deeply about the ways multi layered identities interact with one other. In the federal education policy sphere, I use my American Studies background to inform policymakers about the unique experiences of underrepresented groups in STEM fields to help facilitate meaningful change. 

Regina Bonsu

Email: 

regina084@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I am currently an office Manager at the Jewish Board.

Hannah Doban

Email: 

hdobez@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Reading The Wire

Current Pursuits:

I am an aspiring director, currently working as a Production Assistant in NYC on a variety of film and TV projects (“The Deuce”, “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “For Life”, a Denzel Washington film based on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom). I’m on a track to be an Assistant Director and join the DGA. I work in media and help tell stories about all walks of American life! My major has been instrumental in understanding the medium in which I work. I wrote my thesis on David Simon’s “The Wire,” and then ended up working for David Simon on “The Deuce.”

Lisa Fierstein

Email: 

lisafierstein@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

African American Experience

Current Pursuits:

I'm working at Spotify on developing educational and inspiring content for people around the world who aspire to create podcasts and share their voices and stories using Anchor, a free podcasting platform owned by Spotify. Being an American Studies major has allowed me to synthesize disparate pieces of information and make sense out of them; I can analyze culture trends and paradigms and understand societal shifts — and lastly, I'm grateful to have developed the skills of intersectional and critical thought.

Nevon Kipperman

Email: 

nevonkipperman@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

1968

Current Pursuits:

I work on the marketing side at a tech-startup; we connect social media influencers with brands, and we work with creators to tell compelling stories at scale as part of a brand's advertising. It was within the American Studies major where I first learned how to study pop culture and examine media. My current job absolutely builds off of the skills that I learned within the major -- I now analyze contemporary brands and ads, and pair them with the right social media influencers.

Claire Lindsay

Email: 

clindsay2493@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

Last May, I completed a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management at Hunter College. Since then, I have been working at Legal Outreach, a nonprofit organization based in Queens. LO is a college access after-school program for first generation, low income, minority youth in NYC. The focus on history and culture was extremely helpful in my pivot to Public Policy. 

Dorothea Trufelman

Email: 

trufelmantwo@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Disorderly Women

Current Pursuits:

I am currently a video editor/producer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where I make short films to promote upcoming shows. I'm thankful that American Studies gave me the confidence and tools to be a thoughtful writer.

Mollie Welch

Email: 

molltarr@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Disorderly Women

Current Pursuits:

I've just given notice at my current job as a Copywriter at a women's health startup called Ovia Health. My new role is a Content Marketing Manager position at EF Education First! I tell people and brands' stories for a living. I pull the right methods and do customer research to tell these stories in an authentic way that resonates, just like I did in my American Studies courses. If you've read my honors thesis about women bikers, you know what I'm talking about!

Paula Cafiero

Jean-Paul Choe

Shevanna Cole

Eleanor Grubb

Sophia Inkeles

Daniel Plumer

Nicholas Shafir

Rebecca Eve Baruc

Email:

rebaruc@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Black Feminist Thought

Current Pursuits:

I'm a visual artist, music curator/producer, and teacher in Chicago. I'm proud to say this degree has specifically equipped me for my career. The ability to see American culture through multiple lenses, to talk about it and write about and to synthesize both contemporary and historical angles has been a boon.

Alicia Pierce

Harrison Priest

Joanna Mendelsohn

Grace Aretsky

Robyn Baird

Email:

robynbaird6@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Critical Whiteness Studies

Current Pursuits:

Just started a research coordinator role at a Technology-focused investment firm, Coatue Management. My American Studies work has been a major factor in expanding my thinking of the world along with supplying me with critical foundational skill sets (e.g. writing / presentation / analytical skills / etc...)

Grace Hammerstein

Email: 

gehammerstein@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I am currently a producer in Post Production / Voice Over Artist. My very first job out of school was at a company that created content and messaging for American politicians and organizations fighting for progressive causes. While I no longer work in the political sphere, I’ve remained in production because of it.

Christopher Lawton

Favorite AM Class:

Critical Whiteness

Current Pursuits:

I am currently a high School Teacher in SFUSD at a continuation (credit recovery) school.

Matthew Schonfeld

Email: 

matthewbschonfeld@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Critical Whiteness

Current Pursuits:

I work as the Creative Marketing Manager of a menswear brand called Rowing Blazers. I'm also the founder of a company called Not 97, a music discovery platform that produces a bi-weekly podcast, showcase events, music videos, zines, & more. I also manage a music group called Black Grapefruit. American Studies taught me that diverse interests & multidisciplinary skills would be an asset in professional environments. It taught me the value of creative communities, ultimately putting me in a place to be an active part of my own community—creating resources & platforms for artists.

Becky Stern

Email: 

becky.chloe.stern@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

A Humorous Discourse 

Current Pursuits:

I am currently a senior associate at small a political communications firm. I work on a wide-range of issues from changing NYS law so sex abuse survivors can have more time to sue their abusers to passing ranked choice voting in NYC. American Studies made me a stronger writer -- and solid communicator. It forced me to think critically and question how and why things happen. Also, professors ~literally~ taught me historical knowledge I need to take on new issues!

Emily Werner

Email: 

emmy92@optonline.net

Favorite AM Class:

Mark Twain's America

Current Pursuits:

I am currently in graduate school at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I am working towards an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, and Museum Practice. 

Laura Cornachio

Melissa Davis

Isaac Forman

Gabrielle Gignoux-Wolfsohn

Colleen Hochberger

Elijah Johnston

Mackenzie Lacy

Julia Mandel-Folly

Veronica Monroe

Miguel Roel

Jung-Hee Schwartz

Lawrence Siegel

Molly Sinsheimer

Adam Smith-Perez

Martha Snow

Michelle Tarkulich

Sara Vosburg 

Alex Becker

Email:

alexbecker714@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

A Humorous Discourse

Current Pursuits:

I’m currently playwriting, songwriting, musical theater writing, acting, singing, arts advocacy and education. American Studies gave me the most wonderful foundation -- an interdisciplinary approach to understanding history and humans. It prepared me for a myriad of career paths (I traveled down many since graduating college). It helped me better see the world I live in, better analyze it, talk about it, write about it.

Kali Block-Steele

Email: 

kali.block.steele@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Black Feminist Thought

Current Pursuits:

I'm currently working on a new blog called The Guided Way & developing my first book. I am also clearing space for deeper self discovery so I can live life with the most intentionality. This major taught me how to unveil the world so I could see it more deeply. It taught me how to think more clearly and write passionately. It also taught me that anything is worth studying if you see it right and that there is such care in investigating things that others don't always see.

Mallie Buffum

Email: 

mbuffum75@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Any class with Greg Pfitzer.

Current Pursuits:

I am a grade 4 teacher at an international school in Hong Kong. The knowledge I gained has been helpful in teaching curriculum, the study skills and writing skills have been helpful in my professional development and curriculum development.

Taylor DaFoe

Rachel Kim

Evan Krasner

Meghan Leishman

Mallory Mendelsohn

Michael Pannozzi

Jared Seigal

Victoria Young

Jessie Garretson

Email: 

jessiepiper@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I currently work at the Clio Awards, helping to head up the Clio Entertainment awards program which celebrates creativity in film and television marketing and advertising. Writing, research, and critical thinking -- also the media studies I did as part of my major is helpful now working in the entertainment industry.

Kathryn Lazell

Email: 

k.lazell1@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The Civil War

Current Pursuits:

I'm the Cambridge Events Lead at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in Massachusetts. CIC provides flexible office space to innovators & entrepreneurs, and the events program (producing 120+ events each month) allows the community to connect and collaborate over a myriad of subjects. American Studies taught me that's not just about the places and dates: it's about the people. In my current role, I get to support programs that humanize innovation, and connect people to subject material they may not have connected with outside of the classroom.

Rebecca Meyer

Email:

reba1sheba@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1920s

Current Pursuits:

I am currently an early childhood educator. My American Studies major has taught me how to examine and think critically.

Jacob Wolf

Email: 

jacobwolf18@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Critical Whiteness

Current Pursuits:

I am currently an attorney at Shapiro Arato Bach LLP in New York. Previously, I was a law clerk for Judge Helene White of the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit Court. 

Megan Barlow

Adam Becker

Adrian Caridi

D'Juan Gilmore

Benjamin Grossman

Isabel Kagan

Benjamin Mickelson

Hailee Minor

Allison Otto

Ivana Portes

Hannah Ronson

Alexander Steinberg

Callison Stratton

Eric Strebel

Steven Zapata

Brian Connor

Email: 

bhconnor@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

AM 102

Current Pursuits:

I currently work as a prosecutor. In the same way people describe the benefit of a liberal arts education generally: the interdisciplinary American Studies made me a well-rounded person.

Suzie Finkel

Email: 

suzannefinkel@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Basketball and Culture

Current Pursuits:

I am a nutritionist and finishing graduate school now to become a registered dietitian in NYC. Best preparation I could have asked for! I believe (an learned through the major) that An interdisciplinary approach to everything is critical to succeeding in any profession or pursuit. Grateful for the critical thinking skills the major granted me and ability to think holistically.

Lavere Foster

Email: 

lavfost999@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Too many to list!

Current Pursuits:

I am currently working in politics as Legislative Aide to the Mayor of Miami Gardens. It has helped me view our society more holistically, which benefits me as I interact with people who come from all walks of life

Elizabeth Leigh Franke

Email: 

leigh.franke@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I am an analyst with a consulting firm after getting a masters in Econ/International Affairs from Johns Hopkins. It helped with persuasive writing.

Kate Savage

Email: 

katejordan.n@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I am a full time stay at home mom now and I'm an evening supervisor at Starbucks to help with the family income. Prior to motherhood I was an Associate Director at a local non-profit for 3 years. When my kids are older I hope to work in the non profit sector again. American Studies gave me a well rounded understanding of "American" culture and taught me how different subgroups of American culture have been affected by our shared history. 

ANDREW SCHRIJVER

EMAIL: 

andrew.schrijver@gmail.com

FAVORITE AM CLASS:

American Studies: Methods and Approaches

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently a Real Estate Developer. My interest in the built environment, communities, cities, the urban form, was fostered through the freedom and perspective of American Studies. Please see the first project I completed on my own: www.instagram.com/183libertystreet

Eliza Straim

Email: 

straim.eliza@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Any class with Professor Pfitzer.

Current Pursuits:

I work as a Senior Consultant at the national non-profit EducationSuperHighway, where I partner with state governments and empower school district leaders across the U.S. to upgrade their internet infrastructure to ensure equity in digital learning. Being an American Studies major has allowed me to approach my work with compassion and the motivation to understand an issue from multiple perspectives. This has especially been useful in the social justice field, where diverse stakeholders across sectors are needed to create systemic change.

Brooke Williams

Email: 

brookiedw@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I have my master's degree in library science and I'm a research and instruction librarian at Northeastern University in Boston. I teach classes on information literacy and research, and I work closely with students and faculty on their research projects. And I get to buy ALL the books! My AmStud major required me to do a lot of the types of research that my students and faculty do now, so having that background is really helpful.

Odemaris Alicea

Manpreet Aujla

Elise Fariello

Rainey Ferdinand

Karen Granados

Kelsey Hastings

Nicholas Laracuente

Eve Lewis

Eliza Perkins

Nicole Peterson

Courtney Spiller

Alexander Stavrou

Emily St. Denis

Mary Weiss

Emma Newcombe

Email: 

emma.l.newcombe@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

New England Begins

Current Pursuits:

I work in higher education. I am a part-time writing lecturer at Boston University, and I run academic support and internship programs for college students. It has directly impacted my career: I went on to get a Ph.D. in American Studies. In my college writing courses, I continue to teach using an interdisciplinary methodology.

Claire Solomon Nisen

Email: 

claire.a.solomon@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

American Memories

Current Pursuits:

I'll be starting a job as Manager of Lasting Impressions programs at an organization called DOROT on March 16th. This job is basically a re-creation of my senior honors thesis--except I'm getting paid to do it. Wild, right? I'll be working with older adults on lots of projects--happy to talk more! I 100% wouldn't be here without American Studies! I earned a dual-degree in Social Work and Public Health from Columbia post grad (I worked for 5 years in between), and ALL of the ways in which I conceived of my career were interdisciplinary and fueled by our department.

Gemma V Striker

Email: 

gvstriker@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

AIDS and the Public Sphere

Current Pursuits:

I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy and currently a Neurological Physical Therapy Resident. I am working towards this specialization to better assist in the recovery and rehabilitation of people with neurological conditions such as stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease, etc. As a physical therapist understanding the impact of the intersection of an individuals's race, gender, socioeconomic status, culture, as it relates to their health condition and access to the health system enables me to better understand, connect, and assist my patients.

Elizabeth Arzt

Emily Bresnick

Rachel Cohen

James Dillon

Krista Glencross

Jordan Klein

Kristen Kurtz

Andrew LaSane

Elena Milius

Kathleen Mullins

Victoria Raun

Emilie Shea

 

DANNY TEJADA

EMAIL:

DanielTejadaJr@hotmail.com

FAVORITE AM CLASS:

Diversity in the United States

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I have been a college counselor for 7 years. The major had me fall in love with reading. So I often research topics dealing with my industry and different cultures.

LUNA MALACHOWSKI BAJAK

CHARLEE BIANCHINI

COURTNEY DESTEFANO

ELLEN ELDREDGE

ROSE FINN

SARAH MAGIDA FOSTER

BETTINA GUEVARA

SHANNON HASSETT

LACHRISHA LASANE

SAMANTHA LEVINE

JENNIFER PIEPENBRINK

AMY PROULX

MICHAEL THOMAS

ALISON WIGGINS

Josh Benjamin

Email: 

Joshbenjamin86@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Representations of the American Past in Film

Current Pursuits:

I help cover the New York Yankees and New York Knicks for Elite Sports NY and I completed my first book at the end of last year! It's made me a great researcher. I leave no stone unturned in my work and never hesitate to dive as deep as possible into a particular subject.

Meredith Lu

Email:

meredith22@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

American Culture

Current Pursuits:

I have been an RN in the pediatric emergency department at Johns Hopkins for 6 years; now getting my doctor of nursing practice for Acute/Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to pursue Infectious Disease and Public Health. My major and liberal arts generally helped me value a rounded education and made me appreciate knowing more than just my current field. Medicine is a career that can have a very narrow vision--I wish it were as interdisciplinary as American Studies.

Michael Matias

Email:

matias.1262@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I went on to NYU to pursue studies in their American Studies department. I decided academia was not for me and now I'm a fundraiser for a hospital system in Massachusetts. I have to create and share a narrative with people persuasively during face-to-face interactions, and my American Studies career has helped with that immensely. 

Dario Abreu

Joshua Benjamin

Margaret Farrell

Margaret Farris

Jacob Freedman

Amanda Gray

Tiffany Islar

Carrie Von Glahn Jenkins

Joel La Puma

Kelsey Lewis

Meredith Lu

Michael Matias

Katherine Morris

Emily Rossi

Kacey Schneider

Abigail Whitaker

James White

Shauna Covell

Favorite AM Class:

Hudson River Valley Culture

Current Pursuits:

I am a Grade 5 Humanities Teacher at Shanghai American School. I teach mostly expat children at an elite private school in China. I teach social studies and language arts at an American school. It's part of everyday life for me in China.

Josh Lauren

Email: 

josh.lauren007@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

American Studies: Methods and Approaches 

Current Pursuits:

I'm the Regional Director for Teach For America in Western Massachusetts. I oversee Corps Member and Alumni Recruitment, placement, and hiring within our 12 partner schools in Springfield and Holyoke, MA. Being an America Studies major at Skidmore was transformative for me. I learned about the power of great teaching, and interdisciplinary approaches to education. I'm forever grateful to Dan Nathan, Greg Pfitizer, and Joanna Zangrando for their mentorship and belief in me as a student athlete.

Sam McHale

Email: 

sammchale@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

Civil Rights in 20th Century U.S.

Current Pursuits:

I will graduate from law school in May, take the bar in July, and then I will be clerking for a U.S. District Judge in Baltimore, Maryland for a year. 

Katherine Reid

Email: 

kirkpatrick.katherine@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

AM101 with Professor Pfitzer

Current Pursuits:

I work in fine art and luxury sales and strategy at Sotheby’s. It was the multidisciplinary approach to history that first captured my interest as a freshman. It was that same approach to history that helped me to navigate my first interview at Christie’s as a non-art history major seven years ago.

Daniel Bentley

David Bernstein

Kathleen Jevne

Sarah Jeffery Kelson

Anne Knopf

Nathaniel Levy

Jessica Mayer

Allison Klein Milazzo

Sarah Mitchell

Alissa Moore

Emily Mopsik

Peter G. Rose

Brian Salcido

Alexander Shapiro

Daniel Shapiro

Hal Thomas

Peter Zogas

Andy Scopp

Email: 

andrew.scopp@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I am a 7th grade social studies teacher and chair of the social studies department at Hommocks Middle School in Larchmont, NY (my alma matter!). I've taught 7th grade in Mamaroneck for 6 years and taught 7th and 8th grade US history in the Bronx for five years before that. I use so much of what I learned in the American Studies Department at Skidmore while teaching. 

Christopher ­Brown

Amber Caruso

Jacquelyn Clark

Stephanie Cruz-McGinn

Tiffany Currier

Elizabeth Dickson

Jeffrey Field

Katelyn Garvey

Molly Greenberg

Theresa Cary Guillaume

Jamie Harris

Rebecca Jackson

Michelle Kim

Joshua Kinsel

Michael Linker

Peter Loring

Fatimah Mahdi

Damien Michaud

Michael Parker

Alice Peisch

Kerina Pharr

Timothy Ryan

Caitlin Snydacker

Karen Smyth Skinner

Email:

kes.skinner@gmail.com

Favorite AM Class:

The 1960s

Current Pursuits:

I have 2 MAs and a PhD in American Studies and I am currently the Academic Coordinator of the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis where I use everything I learned at Skidmore to advocate for my incredible students. ABSOLUTELY-- I would not have my job or be the person I am today (or live in St. Louis) if I hadn't been an AMST major. It changed my life!

Courtney Lambert Carroll

Christopher Currallo

Alexander Goldman

Gillian Halpern

Kristen Helmstetter

Shanley Irving Henry

Oleg Iogman

Erin Klemyk

Jessica Leonard-Donaldson

Alyssa Garvin Moore

Kaitlin Morton-Bentley

Sean Robb

Marta Schenone

Megan Stuart Rogers

Ethan Vincze

Lauren Doherty

Current Pursuits:

After graduating I went directly into an M.A. program in public history at SUNY Albany. I graduated with my master's in December 2006. I have been working as a research associate and historian for Curtin Archaeological Consulting in Ballston Spa, N.Y., for almost two years. I use my degree every day!

Megan Williams

Current Pursuits:  

Megan E. Williams ’04 earned her MA and PhD in American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Kansas. She is now the Program Coordinator at the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity. She has published a number of academic book reviews, journal articles, and scholarly essays that explore issues of gender, race, sexuality, and class. She is committed to advancing intersectional social justice education and advocacy; feminist consciousness raising; college student activism; and community building practices rooted in vulnerability, empathy, and love.

Andrew Borden-Chisholm

Jerica McClure-Pries Cadwallader

Edward Fredrich, IV

Thomas Grimaldi

Kate Jablonsky

Kyle Lewis

Sara Lugert

Gayle Mender

Meghan Monks

Ross Morgan

Matthew Naventi

David Siegel

Jessy Marie Wheeler

Jessica Bloomfield  

Current Pursuits:               

I lived in Maui for six months after graduation, and then moved to San Francisco, where I am currently selling advertising for two business magazines with G&J USA Publishing. However, I plan to move back to Maui next September.

Catherine "Katie" Campbell

CURRENT PURSUITS:    

After taking a year off and living in England, I'm back at school. I'm earning my certification and masters degree in teaching at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. At the current time I'm an intern at New Canaan High School and will student-teach with their history department this fall (2005). I am also keeping myself busy as a volleyball coach at the high school and I'm loving it! Fingers crossed I'll get a "real" job by next year!

Carolyn Depoian

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently an attorney at a law firm called Rapport Meyers LLP in Hudson, N.Y. After Skidmore I went to Tulane Law School and then returned to the area for work in late 2009. American Studies is a great major for anyone considering a legal career. The research and writing skills are of course invaluable, but the major also provided me with a huge leg up in my constitutional law classes. It was helpful to have a comprehensive understanding of the historical context of the founding of our government. 

 

Samia Elia                   

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After graduation I moved to Washington, D.C., and accepted a position as public affairs specialist at the Smithsonian Institution.

Jude Mooney Fricano            

CURRENT PURSUITS:

"Jude reports that ""Our daughter, Elizabeth Grace (Ellie) Fricano was born March 22, 2006, 5:22 p.m., 7 lbs, 14oz, 22 in."" While working full-time as a VP of sales and marketing for a multi-office travel agency, I pursued my degree through UWW. The faculty of the American Studies Department is the reason for my choosing it as my major. I used to say, ""My head is in the business world and my heart is in American studies."" I am currently an auto underwriting team Leader for State Farm Insurance in Malta, N.Y. My husband and I bought a house just outside the city with a large yard for our growing lab, Jack!

UPDATE, Summer '09:  Our family has moved to Charlottesville, Va., as I took a leadership promotion with State Farm Insurance. Ellie is now 3 1/2 and enjoying her new preschool as we explore this gorgeous new area. The learning hasn't stopped for me as I now continue to pursue insurance designations!"

Joe Hooker                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently working in the financial services industry for PFPC. My office is in King of Prussia, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, not far from my hometown. I am debating whether or not to take the LSATs and dreaming of the lazy days I squandered while at Skidmore.

Kristin Dutcher Jonash                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently living in Boston and approaching the last semester of my social work graduate program. I am attending Simmons College near Fenway in Boston. Throughout school I have worked in a pilot high school program for students with specialized social and emotional needs and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Hospital in both their Emergency Department and Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery program. I am looking forward to graduation but have really enjoyed being back at school. My American studies degree has provided me a background useful in understanding some of the cultural and institutional factors that affect all client populations. It has been a broad foundation from which to draw knowledge that impacts or informs both my work and life almost every day. Thank you for a wonderful education.

Elizabeth Menard                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:

Three years after graduating from Skidmore, I made a career change to graphic and web design. I worked for two years at Myriad Inc. in Boston doing all of their front-end web production. In February of this year, I joined the Web Marketing Department at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. While I don't use my American Studies degree directly, it provided me with a broad foundation for building a career in design and marketing, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the American past. I currently live in Somerville, Mass.

 

Jen Nathan                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:

Jen lives in Asheville, N.C., with her husband, two dogs, two cats, and six chickens. She grows everything from hops to artichokes and is a floral designer for the local wedding industry on the weekends. She also has a crafting business named after her grandmothers Bertha & Rose, where she sells jewelry and hand-stuffed pillows at several local stores. Jen also spent seven years as a producer for National Public Radio affiliates across the country.

Lori Pelech                 

CURRENT PURSUITS: 

It's the spring of '05 and I'm in my seventh month in London, studying human geography at King's College. The city is wonderful, and classes have just ended, which means I will now be dividing my time between my thesis and travel (and only minimal procrastination, I hope). My thesis will actually draw on my American studies roots, as I'll be looking at some cultural and historical aspects of apple farming in New York. When I'm finished up here (sometime in mid-August), I plan on returning to the States to either teach high school or work for an environmental NGO. Doing my graduate work abroad has worked well. There are 100 master's students from 35 countries in our department, and the fact that master's courses in the UK are only a year long saves you both time and money. Best wishes to everyone in the department.

Alexis Reynolds          

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After finishing my master's degree in historic preservation, I moved to Austin, Texas, where I am working for Mead & Hunt, a cultural resource management firm. I am an in-house contractor with the Texas Department of Transportation and as of this writing, I'm still waiting to see my first armadillo! 

Helen Thompson                   

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently certified by the Unity Healing Center (2004) as a Reiki master-practitioner, and I am pursuing holistic medicine and energy work as an occupation. As of now, I am still in Saratoga. 

JOANNA COLANGELO                   

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After spending a few years in nonprofit development and fundraising, I've packed up and left New York City temporarily to begin work as a graduate student in American culture studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. My primary research and writing involves American comedy and the satarization of our tragedies, for example Mel Brooks vs. the Nazis. I miss the lights, sounds and moods of New York, but am keeping myself busy as I also continue to work on a fiction manuscript called "Notes from Hollywood's Highway," which is a series of stories loosely based on a two-month journey that I took on American railroads.

Erica Seifert                

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After two years of teaching American history, women's history, and American government at a small private school in Raleigh, N.C., for the last two years, I have decided that I really am a Yankee after all and will head to Boston University in fall '04 to begin working for a Ph.D. in American studies. I intend to focus my studies on either 20th century political history, 18th century political history, 19th century women's history, or 20th century cultural history.

 

Eileen "Aili" Palmunen                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After graduating, I spent the first few years working on pro bono legal cases for a Washington, D.C., law firm. I had the opportunity to be a part of large civil rights cases and individual political asylum applications, which allowed me to use the interdisciplinary background of the American studies curriculum. Then I moved to London for a year, where I obtained a master's in comparative politics from the London School of Economics. Since methods of study in the American studies field closely mirror the methods we are taught in comparative politics, it was easy for me to apply the knowledge from my undergraduate research experiences to my graduate ones. Currently, I'm at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University studying for a master's in public policy. The topics and research techniques I learned in American studies prepared me well for my work in the "real world" as well as my graduate studies.

Kenneth Dunbar                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am willing to bet that I'm the closest alumnus to the American Studies Department... In July of 2002, after completing my M.A. in U.S. social and cultural History from SUNY Albany, I accepted a job at Skidmore as an assistant director of the Admissions Office. It's great to be back on campus, and I couldn't ask for a better place to live! Admissions can be very challenging but rewarding work, and my writing, researching, and speaking skills learned as an American studies major are revisited every day as I share Skidmore's unique characterisitcs with prospective students, families, and high school counselors across the country and the world. Hope to see some of you on campus or in town!

Lisa (Byun) Forman                

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I spent the year after graduation teaching K–9 general music, music history, and strings classes at an international school in Jakarta, Indonesia. I did some travelling in SE Asia after the school year ended and then moved to a beach on the North Carolina coast, where I somehow became an extra for the "hit" television series Dawson's Creek. I am now planning on moving to D.C., where I will do paralegal work at Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll. From my experiences, an American studies degree has been a great starting point to pursue everything from education to law. The research and analytical skills we meticulously sharpened in Senior Seminar have come in handy in the least likely of places and have given me the credibility and background necessary to impress potential employers and other bigwigs.

Abby (Swormstedt) Gegeckas           

CURRENT PURSUITS:

It's spring 2005 and I am back in New Orleans, teaching second grade in the public schools. I moved back here in the summer of 2004, after getting a master's in education at Harvard University. I'm now working on a second masters' at Xavier University, and contemplating my next career move! My other news is that I am now Abby Gegeckas. I got married in October 2004. My husband Vytas is a chef and runs a restaurant here in the French Quarter. We would love to see any Skiddies venturing down to the Big Easy! Hope everyone in the American Studies Department is doing well—and congrats to Professor Zangrando on her retirement. I know she will be missed! 

Bryn Varley Hollenbeck                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I'm currently a doctoral candidate in the History of American Civilization Program at the University of Delaware. Most of my days are spent working on my dissertation, The Material Culture of Childhood, 1900–1965. The research process is a lot of fun, especially when I spend time in Princeton University's Cotsen Collection (an incredible collection of children's literature) or at Winterthur Museum and Library (where I am a McNeil Dissertation Fellow). Periodically, I take a break from full-time dissertating in order to teach a class for UD; I've really enjoyed teaching in both history and art history. My undergraduate training in American studies hugely impacts how I approach both my own research and my teaching experiences. My American studies background broadens and directs my dissertation's source base and the questions I ask of the past. Skidmore's American Studies Department also held high standards in analytical thinking and writing, and this training continues to affect my own work and the work I assign to students.

Allison Kupfer            

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I work at a public policy consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass., on studies of federal education programs, mostly in early literacy. I've met tons of great people young and old, and seen many hidden corners of our country in the process. I've gotten everything I need to know on the job or in grad school, so if I had it to do over again, I'd still take all those American studies classes because they were just so much fun.

Shirley Morgan                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I graduated from the UWW program, live in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and am enrolled in the MALS program at Skidmore. Joanna Zangrando has been my advisor for both programs. The focus of my graduate work is women's history and material culture, specifically textiles. I also do freelance research and writing on local history and am part of a research team preparing for a traveling exhibit on mid-nineteenth century black settlement in the Adirondacks titled, "Dreaming of Timbuctoo," opening this summer at the Adirondack Museum, sponsored by JohnBrownLives! I hope to continue with research projects and work in a museum. 

Rovin Recio 

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After graduation from Skidmore College in 2000, I went into the teaching field through the New York City Teaching Fellows. Last year I got my master's in elementary education and presently I teach Pre-K in Brooklyn, N.Y. I married Martha Solis in April 2004. We both received our master's in elementary education from Hunter College in May of 2002. We have a son named Lucas who is now 2 years old. I would like to say thank you to Prof. Pfitzer and Prof. Lynn.

Marni Richman                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am finishing my second year of law school at the University of Pittsbugh School of Law. I will be spending the upcoming summer at a firm in Chicago.

Laura Russak              

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I just moved outside of Boston and I am currently living in Watertown, Mass., with my cat Rascal (also a Skidmore alum). I received my master's as a reading specialist from Boston University and I have been teaching eighth-grade reading in Waltham, Mass., for the last six years. To this day, I still discuss with my students the unique experiences I had as an American studies major and the impact that had upon my understanding of our country and myself.

David Dratch              

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After Skidmore I moved to Boston and am currently in my second year at Suffolk University Law School. Although not as interesting as the 1950s class, I am getting by in my studies. Give me another year and I'll let you know how my American studies degree has changed my work life. Although I haven't given any great info about how American studies has helped me in law school, I think it was an incredible major in college and wish I could still be taking some of those classes now.

Kristin Finnerty                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently teaching first grade in Great Barrington, Mass., and working on my master's degree in reading at SUNY Albany. Since the children in my classroom are so young I cannot say that I directly use my American studies degree. However, it has been useful to know about the culture of our country when we are studying various holidays and events in our history. I also have found that the American Studies Department helped me to develop my writing skills, which I need to use on a regular basis!

Rich Greeney             

CURRENT PURSUITS: 

I am currently teaching high school social studies at Cold Spring Harbor High School.  I also coach junior high school basketball and varsity basketball.

Margaret Sills Huckel             

CURRENT PURSUITS: 

I currently work at the Saratoga Springs Public Library as technical services principal clerk. I supervise four other clerks; we accession 20,000 new items a year. In addition I work seven hours a week as a senior clerk in the Children's Department. I continue to use my American studies education and training in my family history research, which is a great pleasure to myself and my family members. I believe American studies is one of the best backgrounds to have for library work, both in reference and iin acquisitions. This year (2007) after years of avid following from the public side, I joined the 18th century reenacting hobby. I belong to the 1st New York McCracken's Company, which participates in French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and the occasional War of 1812 events. I started as a female camp follower but because one of our company, an underwater archaeologist has built an 18th century boat, I have become a sailor as well. We do events on Lake Champlain and Lake George, as well as the Hudson River and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Of course my American studies background is what gives me the depth of knowledge and understanding to enjoy and contribute to these events, as well as the awareness of what I still don't know. The biggest lesson was this: You are never done learning, and Skidmore gave me the tools I need to keep researching and striving to learn more all the time.

Laurence Jackson       

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am living in Astoria, Queens, a section of New York City. Officially my address is Astoria, N.Y., but it would be equally accurate to just say New York City. I have not received any further education since Skidmore, but I do plan to enroll in a graduate program in September. My preference right now is the liberal studies program at The New School. This is not official, though. Currently I am an editor and writer for MAMM Magazine, the only consumer magazine for women with cancer. Our readership is approximately 100,000. We address various issues concerning breast and reproductive cancer, including scientific developments, women's advocacy, federal funding for cancer research and the socioeconomic inequalities associated with cancer risk and treatment. My American studies degree has been of use in several ways. First, I use the research and writing skills that I developed at Skidmore on a regular basis. In addition, my understanding of American politics and social realities helps in my understanding of the political and social issues surrounding cancer treatment. Finally, a liberal arts education aids students in learning, thinking, and presenting arguments. The broad, interdisciplinary approach to education that American studies entails is useful for virtually any career choice. 

Jennifer Joseph                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After my move to Boston in the fall of '99, I began working at Bain and Co., a worldwide strategy consulting firm whose clients range from the consumer goods industry, to health care, to IT, and everything in between. I was at Bain for almost 2 1/2 years but left to work for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce as a program manager. My responsibilities include event planning and marketing for a variety of programs. I am especially excited for this new career move because it not only incorporates my interest in marketing, but also allows me to be in an environment where government and policy play an integral role in the organization.

Adam Kirkman           

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After taking a year off to enjoy life in Saratoga I decided to go back to school. As my ties to the area prohibited me from going too far away, I applied to and was accepted at the Rockefeller School of Public Affairs and Policy at SUNY Albany. I am now finishing up my second semester (our of four) and am currently looking for a summer internship. My concentration in the Masters of Public Policy Program is substance abuse policy, and I have recently completed papers analyzing the development of methadone maintenance programs in New York State and the implementation of needle exchange in New Haven, Conn. Anyone who has an interest in graduate work in public policy can feel free to email me, and I would be happy to tell you all about it.

Krista Senator            

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After graduating from Skidmore, I moved to NYC and found work in an art gallery on the Upper East Side. While my time at the gallery has certainly been enjoyable, I have decided to leave the art world and to begin a career in education. I have been accepted into a teaching program here called the New York Teaching Fellows. Chancellor Levy started the program this summer in response to the city's dire need for teachers. The program lasts two years, during which time I will be teaching full-time and taking graduate courses. I am not sure which grade I will be teaching (I am hoping for fifth or sixth), and I will probably be at a school located in upper Manhattan or in the south Bronx. So I am taking a deep breath and trying to prepare myself for this change... I will be moving from working in the wealthiest neighborhood in New York to one of the most impoverished, and I will be answering to "Miss Senator"—one friend commented that the title screams authority. Let's hope she's right! I have wanted to make this career change for some time. I had initially planned to go back to school for history but when this program presented itself, I decided to take it.

 

Lina Senzer                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:

Since September 1999 I have been living in Moab, Utah. I work for a company called Alternative Youth Adventures (AYA). They specialize in wilderness therapy for adjudicated youth coming from Colorado and Utah. These darling young angels come to our program with all kinds of legal charges and emotional issues. Our job is to teach them better coping skills and help them to strengthen thier self-esteem so that when they return to the community they are ready to take on more positive leadership roles and accept responsibility for thier life choices. My position focuses on spending time out in the field with a team of ten or eleven kids and then communicating with thier families and parole officers on thier progress. I also help to identify what the adolescent's needs are and to plan their aftercare for when they leave the program. The kids are awesome and I find the work really challenging and rewarding. I guess the conections between wilderness therapy and American studies focus mainly on the theoretical idea of "making connections" and being able to see the big picture. Each day, I am challenged to see an issue from a different perspective. My success in this line of work depends on my ability to think on different levels and be creative. These concepts were pretty central to my experience with American studies at Skidmore. In practice, I often draw resources for my kids from many different places to try and give them a bigger picture of how to problem-solve. I often bring in many stories, poems, pictures, and song lyrics and utilize these items to illustrate different aspects of our lives. I guess I continue to favor a multidiscplinary approach when I teach hard and soft skills to these kids. I have also learned a great deal about the southwest land and culture that I pass on to my kids. The rich history of native peoples is really fascinating to me. I am now in the process of moving to Colorado to begin working for the new AYA branch that will be based in western Colorado. My dog, Nisa, and I will probably be living in Ouray or Gunnison, Colo., as of next month. I look forward to lots of great skiing and paddling there! 

Wendy Singer            

CURRENT PURSUITS:

Currently I live in NYC. I am a second year student at Benjamin N. Cordozo School of Law. The American studies major gave me the necessary analytical, research, and writing skills that are so crucial in developing persuasive legal arguments.

Marc Tagliento                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I moved to Washington, D.C., in 1998 to pursue a M.A. in political science from American University. After graduation I accepted a management position with the Direct Impact Co. There I worked on a variety of "hot-button" reform initiatives relating to the Medicare entitlement program and managed health care systems. After September 11, 2001 however, I pursued opportunities to shape emergency management and incident response policies and practices. As a program manager with L-3 Titan Corp., I assisted Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with its development of a National Emergency Responder Credentialing System to document minimum professional qualifications, certifications, training, and education requirements for select emergency response and incident response personnel. In 2006 I joined FEMA's Incident Mangement System Division as a National Incident Management System (NIMS) and National Response Framework (NRF) program specialist. 

Tim Whiteman                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently an account executive with a sports marketing firm named Octagon Marketing. We are the third-largest firm worldwide, and we do pretty good for ourselves. I've been with the company since late March of this year, and it has been nothing but wonderful since. I am primarily in the event-marketing division, organizing and coordinating golf, tennis, and ski challenges all over the country, so I get to travel a great deal. The main office is in Stamford, Conn., but I commute from my hometown of Brooklyn every day. Needless to say the car is earning its keep. Life is good. I still see some Skiddies around here and there, but not too often. The real world is kind of bigger than Scribner Village, I hate to admit.

Jackie Abodeely                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I received my master's in archaeological heritage management from Boston University in May 2000. From September 1999 to August 2000 I worked for the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission in Canajoharie to author a guidebook to the Iroquois landscape in the Mohawk Valley in the 17th century. I often utilized the skills I learned in American studies with this organization. I then worked as a project director for a contract archaeologist in Saratoga Springs. I graduated the New York State Park Police Academy on June 20, 2003, and I am currently a park patrol officer stationed in the New York City region at Riverbank State park in Manhattan. In the end, I wish that every student could have the opportunity to take classes in American studies. It is not just something you learn in the classroom. The issues are very real in everyday life and have lasting impacts on the way we see our world as it changes so rapidly.

Jane Shannon Barnes

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I am currently living in Delmar, N.Y., which is a suburb of Albany. After graduating from Skidmore with a double major in government and American studies, I moved to Washington, D.C., where I was a paralegal at a large intellectual property law firm. Initially my plan was to gain experience in both the legal and historical fields and then either attend law school or obtain my master's in museum studies. Law prevailed, and I graduated from Albany Law School in 2001. I currently practice family and matrimonial law in a small law office. However, my long-term goal is to enter the field of public interest law, where I feel that I can better serve society. I am forever grateful for my liberal arts education. My experience with the American Studies Department provided me with not only the facts of our past, but also the emotions. As high school students we were taught the names of battles and generals. We memorized portions of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. As American studies students, we were taught about nameless women and their struggles on the prairie. We read biographies of slaves. One cannot try to make this world a better place without knowing its intricate history and the effect it had on our society.

Regan Eysman Franklin                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I have decided to become a history teacher for grades 6–12. I am entering a program at George Mason called "Career Switcher." It is a program that allows individuals who have been working for a while to become teachers more quickly than if they were to quit their jobs and go back to school full-time. The obvious advantage being that you can still work while getting certified! I cannot wait to get into a classroom! I have spent the last year teaching second graders at Sunday school at my temple in Alexandria, Va., and I absolutely love it. [It should also be noted that Regan was married about 2.5 years ago!]

Carrie Gates               

CURRENT PURSUITS:

After graduating in 1997, I taught fourth grade for a year prior to attending Boston College to earn my M.Ed. in literacy and reading in education. I currently reside in Boston with fellow American studies alum, Melissa Pollock. I teach sixth grade in the Weymouth public schools. I feel as though my American studies major was a valuable part of my education. Being a teacher I am constantly discussing current events in the classroom. I am able to draw upon historical facts and events which I have learned to supplement the conversation. In addition, when teaching "social science," I have often referred back to notes taken from Professor Pfitzer's class to remember specific dates and add tantilizing stories which intrigue the students.

Kristin Harrison                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I will graduate from Brooklyn Law School in 2003. Before going to law school, I worked for a year at a law firm and for two years in a Congressional Office doing constituent service. I draw from what I learned in American Studies almost every day. I think an integral aspect of a liberal arts education is learning about the history of your country from the perspective of all the groups who experienced it. As a law student I am constantly reminded how important it was to be a well-rounded student before focusing on one area of study. With its multidisciplinary approach, American studies was perfect because it encompassed all areas of study.

Chad Kasdin               

CURRENT PURSUITS:

Currently I live in Chicago and work for a 200-lawyer law firm called Hinshaw & Culbertson. After graduating from Skidmore I went directly to law school at Washington University in Saint Louis, where I graduated last May with the class of 2000. I recently passed the Illinois bar exam and I am waiting to be sworn in and receive my license to practice, which will both occur on this Thursday, November 9. As an attorney for Hinshaw & Culbertson, I work mainly as a litigator, meaning that I try cases in front of a jury. I work in the Professional Liability Group of the firm representing professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc., when they get sued for malpractice. My American studies background plays an important role in my job as a trial lawyer. For example, the most important part of a trial is picking the jurors who will decide the outcome of a case. In selecting jurors, the first and sometimes most important factor to consider is a juror's race, class, gender, and ethnicity. Understanding the different cultural perspectives of different groups of people and how they feel toward certain issues and topics gives me an advantage that other attorneys might not have. Some groups/cultures might not be able to be fair or impartial towards other groups/cultures, whether it be a conscious decision or not. Based on my American studies background I find it easier to determine which potential jurors have the subconscious potential to be unfair or partial in a particular case and excuse them from the jury panel.

Mindy Hapeman Rose           

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I have worked in several capacities since leaving Skidmore. I went first to NYC, where I worked at both the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and the Museum of Television and Radio. My arrangement with Ellis Island was actually an oral history internship through which I finished up credits for Skidmore. It was a fabulous experience. My time at the Museum of Television and Radio was spent coordinating a series of educational seminars featuring television- and radio-related topics. In the fall of 1998, I entered the M.A./Ph.D. program in American studies at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. I completed all my M.A. coursework and then opted to take a leave of absence from the program for medical reasons (its always something with me). In July I began my current job as an admission counselor at the University of Richmond. Here, I am working with prospective students who are interested in entering our heavily writing-intensive and liberal arts-minded undergraduate curriculum. I have always been ardent about how my experience with the American studies program at Skidmore—with the curriculum, with the faculty, and with the classes—has profoundly affected my life. Discovering a passion for examining American culture across disciplines led to an enhanced self-confidence and broadened world view, and thus my time within Skidmore's American studies program is truly at the root of my identity. Greg Pfitzer, Joanna Zangrando, Mary Lynn, and Wilma Hall always seemed to understand how formative those years were to me, and their influence on me was profound. I am indebted to them for the way in which they challenged, supported, and nurtured me.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Rowland                

CURRENT PURSUITS:

Major: double American studies and elementary education. Right now I am living in Brookline, Mass., but working in Ashland, Mass. I received my master's in education at Boston College this past spring. Currently I am teaching social studies to sixth-graders in Ashland. The curriculum is U.S. history, beginning with the Revolutionary War, which is wonderful! I rely on my background as an American studies major all the time. I refer back to my notes, books, and handouts from all my classes, especially Greg Pfitzer's. It has been a tremendous experience thus far, and I thank the department!

Marcie Simon             

CURRENT PURSUITS:

I received an M.A. in American history and an M.Ed. in secondary curriculum and instruction. Currently I live in Boston and teach history (world and U.S.) at Brookline High School in Massachusetts. I think it's obvious how my major affects my work every day!

Melissa Pollock                      

CURRENT PURSUITS: 

I live in Boston and received my M.Ed. from Boston College in 2000. I am currently a fifth-grade teacher in Weymouth, Mass. 

Jody Westwood

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

In Munich I work at a school, Wall Street Institute, that does English as a foreign language training for adults all around the world. We have a franchise system of over 400 schools in 20 countries. We're part of Sylvan Learning Systems, which you may have heard of. I started out there as a teacher, as I had worked previously for a couple years as an English teacher in another city in Germany (Halle) to which I initially moved after graduating. What I do now is much more concerned with acquiring new students and supporting existing students in their studies. I'm not using my American studies background at work per se, except for the fact that I am simply a more well-rounded, perceptive, critical, and learned person because of it. It's often interesting to be able to explain more of the culture, history, politics, and psyche of Americans to my students who are curious or who criticize. I'm definitely glad I followed a liberal arts course of studies, and more specifically that I was a major at the Skidmore American Studies Department. It's something most college students in Germany don't enjoy.

Karen Northrop Barzilay                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

After I graduated from Skidmore, I began the M.A./Ph.D track in American studies at the College of William and Mary. I earned my master's degree, completed my coursework and comprehensive exams for my doctorate, and am now working on my dissertation. At William and Mary, I had the opportunity to direct a summer program for students from Keio University in Japan. I helped design the curriculum for this program, and found my American studies background extremely useful in planning themes, lectures, and fieldwork. Now I live in Cambridge, Mass. I have done some teaching at a local community college, but spend most of my time on my dissertation project. When I finally finish, I hope to be a full-time professor. I found graduate school in American studies to be quite different from my coursework at Skidmore, though I enjoyed both. I am grateful to my professors at Skidmore for helping me develop the analytical and writing skills that I use every day and for introducing me to the study of the American past—a subject that has become such an important part of my life and the way I understand the world.

Marcy Bouley             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I have lived in Boston since graduation. I am the manager of operations and planning for a small, nonprofit neighborhood development group, the Downtown Crossing Association. I work on events planning and membership development and also manage a pushcart vendor program. Prior to my work at the DCA, I worked at the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office. My American studies education at Skidmore has helped me invaluably along the way. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of an American studies degree, I was exposed to a broad scope of knowledge. I have since re-read many of the books I was first introduced to through the major. I appreciate the emphasis on American culture rather than historical facts, and I hope that my outlook on today's society is greater because of this.

Jennifer Cecatiello                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I received my master's in education (English) from the University at Albany in '98. I currently work for TOH Managed Staffing in Albany, N.Y., as the account manager. We work to support large companies in thier staffing needs. Being an American studies major gave me a broader perspective on how the country works: We're not a "dollars and cents, who did what" society. It gave me the insight to look beyond the "facts" and into reality.

Leslie Cypen               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

After school I did a year graduate program in photography at the International Center of Photography in NYC. Than I moved back to Miami to figure things out and to live my boyfriend from forever who was in law school in Miami. I did some freelance photojournalism and assisting and then took a job at the University of Miami. I became their lab supervisor and department manager for the Photojournalism Department in their School of Communication. It was great because I got to teach, have lab access, and work side by side with my photography mentor of five years. While I was there, I received a BA in none other than ... liberal studies! It was awesome and interesting, very similar to my American studies education. After my graduate work was completed I left the office 9-to-5–like job and started to do wardrobe and prop styling for photography shoots mad commercials. And here we are. I have been styling for about two years now and I love it. I live in Miami Beach with my boyfriend and everything is great.

Carrie Durant             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

After graduating from Skidmore in 1996 I went to St. John's University School of Law and graduated with a law degree in 1999. I spent the following six years practicing law in the real estate departments of Clifford Chance US LLP and Bryan Cave LLP. Currently I worked in the securitized products group, in the fixed income division of Morgan Stanley.

Kevin Grinwis             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

My initial path after graduation led me to Seattle, where I worked for several years in business development and acquisition integration for an automotive software firm. Although not directly related to American studies, I found the major’s methodology of looking at culture and experiences through multiple perspectives to be very useful in my role of analyzing the corporate cultures of the companies we acquired and for recommending how to best work together. I returned to grad school to get a MBA in 2004 and reposition myself for a career in real estate, which has allowed me to combine my business experience and education with passions studied in American studies; the American-built environment and landscape. I now work on the portfolio management team of a multifamily real estate investment trust (REIT), where I am responsible for analyzing financial performance of the Florida portfolio and identifying demographic, economic, and land-use trends that influence buying, selling and development decisions.

William J. Kambas

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

I have covered a lot of ground since graduating in 1996. I would love to tell you about all of my adventures since then, but suffice to say, I went from ceramics to law school (graduating with a J.D. and M.B.A.) and am now a lawyer and tax consultant with Ernst & Young. However, it feels like things have come full circle. Just like in American studies at Skidmore, I find myself enjoying the demands of research and writing. In fact, I am just beginning an article analyzing Internal Revenue Service practices and the protection of taxpayer privacy (if all goes well, this will be my third scholarly publication and fourth overall publication). I credit my senior honors thesis for opening my eyes to the joy of scholarly writing. Although I am enjoying life as a professional, research, writing, and general academic dialogue is the most rewarding part of my life. 

Tami Safer                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I work from home for my father's textile company while I raise my 6-month-old son. Since graduating in 1996 I have worked in textiles, selling fabric (which has nothing to do with what I studied at Skidmore). I value the education I received, in particular all that I learned from my American studies courses. However, nothing I learned prepared me for a career in textiles, being married, or having a baby.

Ben Soreff                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I have been living in NYC for the past year and a half working In television production. Currently I work at True Entertainment making shows for the Learning Channel. I spent most of 2000 working on a documentary for PBS's Frontline called "The Merchants of Cool" about giant media corporations and their efforts to market solely to teenagers. Before New York, I was in Boston working at WGBH, the largest PBS production facility in the world. So when you talk American studies and how it was helpful, I would say that in everything I have done it has been helpful, from shows like Frontline, Nova, and The American Experience, to my current project a documentary on the World Trade Center and September 11, 2001.

Sarah Wight               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I am currently the promotions director for WROR 105.7 Greatest Hits of the '60s and '70s in Boston! I actually married Skidmore Alum Brian O'Connell ('95) on July 8, 2001, and had a couple Skidmore students helping out at the reception. When I graduated from Skidmore I came to Boston and began as an intern at WRKO, AM 680, a talk station, and worked there for two and a half years as the promotions coordinator. How does this relate to my major at Skidmore? I went out to reach the people during election time (gettting their perspectives, putting them on the air) and watched the reaction to the community during the Louise Woodward case. After Talk, I went to work for a Classic Rock station, learning about musicians and social influences that we learned in American studies classes. I helped coordinate interviews with musicians as well as created events for the station. Two years ago I started as the promotions director of WROR. Just this past month we celebrated our morning show's twentieth anniversary, which is a big feat in radio. Part of the celebration included an on-air interview and concert with Ringo Starr. I remember one of the assignments during one of my last American studies classes was to pick an influential 1960s song and introduce it and play it over the air. I chose Beatles, "Revolution"! How weird it is to think that I was so nervous that night about going on the radio and reading my paragraph out loud—now I can record commercials with ease! One can tell a lot about a culture through music—I know a ton about our listeners, fans of '60s and '70s music—people who went through some of the stuff I learned in my American studies classes. 

Christopher Wollen               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I live and work in Manhattan for Grey worldwide advertising agency. I am an account executive on Procter & Gamble. I have had no further formal education since graduation. As an advertising account executive I am a marketing partner to the client (Procter & Gamble) and a manager of the creative process to develop advertising. Two main things have come from my American studies major that I find very valuable in my career. One, having an understanding of our country's cultural history and the events that have shaped the American populous gives me strong insight into the consumer culture and why we are the way we are. Two, by looking at our history through first-party documentation (not through history textbooks), then developing our own opinions of those events and the effects they have had, one learns to be strong conceptual thinker and develop their own analytical process which they can then hopefully communicate to others through a paper, a presentation, or in my case now an advertisement. The benefits of my American studies degree in the business world are not external but internal, which in the end are much more valuable.

Rebecca Brynteson Conner               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I recently transferred from managing the records management program at the regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to EPA headquarters. My contract assists in records management for the entire agency, and I spend part of my month in Washington, D.C., and part of it telecommuting from my home office in Atlanta, Ga. (or travelling to other offices around the country). I even was handling some history questions for a time, linking directly back to my American studies major!

Adam Fein                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I live in Boston with my wife, Toni, who graduated from Skidmore in 1996. I received a master's in library and information science from Simmons College in August of 1999. I am now working for Bain Capital in Boston as a research librarian. The work is largely the same as my last job at KPMG. I was laid off from that job last summer/fall which was definitely a bummer, but I am happy here and feel lucky that I was able to find a new gig. And in some respects, the work is a little more challenging. People ask us to find some pretty obscure information about very small niche industries and companies. So my American studies degree is still quite a valuable asset that helps me tackle these questions. It's the ability to think critically and to solve problems that comes in handy the most. My degree in American studies gave me a solid foundation of general knowledge about the culture that we live in. Most importantly though, it taught me how to learn. I think this is because of the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies (and the great faculty). In our American studies classes we explored a variety of subjects related to American culture and this taught me that there are always many perspectives from which to view any topic. This, in turn, taught me to always ask questions about any given topic, which is how you learn.

Heather Pace Lewis               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I left teaching almost 1.5 years ago to be a full-time stay at home mom to Emma, born 11/8/00. I was teaching third grade in Mansfield, Mass. I integrated my American studies degree while preparing and teaching social studies units. I tried to bring the lives of early colonists and the time period alive for my students—the only way to keep the attention of 8- and 9-year-olds! Rather than "telling" students about the history, I encouraged them to explore and investigate for themselves. This reminds me of Professor Pfitzer handing out the packets of documents, photographs, etc., and challenging us to "find out" the history. One year I dressed up as a different Rhode Island colonist each day. The kids had to ask questions to determine who I was—tons of fun and great pictures!

Heidi Reich                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I currently work at Wieden & Kennedy advertising in NYC. I am the receptionist. Being an American studies major helped sharpen my critical thinking skills—to look at all perspectives and the context from which those perspectives stem.

Blaine VanRy                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I'm living in Piffard, N.Y. (near Rochester). I received my M.A. from Bowling Green State University in 1996 and my New York State teaching certification from the University of Rochester in 1999. I am in my second year as a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Honeoye Falls-Lima Middle School. I teach five classes (about 120 students) American history up to the Civil War. I am also co-advisor of the student council and girls varsity tennis coach in the fall. Of course my degree in American studies comes into play every minute of every day in my work. My education at Skidmore advanced my interest in our nation's past. The information and training I received in the American Studies Department has allowed me to offer my students an interdisciplinary look at American life and culture. I don't have to simply provide the traditional, bulimic learning of American history by feeding my students facts and dates, and asking them to regurgitate them back. History is not just learning about old, dead guys.

John Anning               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I am living in Cincinnati, Ohio, and work with Merrill Lynch. As a financial consultant I develop financial plans for individuals and families. American studies has helped make me a more well rounded person, which is important when trying to establish and strengthen long-term relationships with people. There is a need to be able to relate to people in ways other than finance, and American studies gives you the necessary background and knowledge to do that.

Andre Cook    

Favorite AM class:                   

Professor Pfitzer's 101 class  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I graduated from Skidmore in 1994. I spent two years working on my M.A.T. from Union College. In the summer of 1996 I took a job at Hudson Falls High School as a social studies teacher and varsity basketball coach. I can remember coming to Skidmore in the fall of 1990 and not having a clue of what I wanted to do. By chance I was enrolled in Professor Pfitzer's 101 class. He turned me on to history like none other. I continued to take classes with him and Mary Lynn and others and I found a love for history. Their passion for history helped me formulate ideas for what I wanted to do with my life.

Michael Ellis               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I graduated in 1994 after a terrific experience as an American studies major. I still think fondly of Professors Hall, Lynn, Pfitzer, and Zangrando, and have many of their pearls of wisdom stored in my head. My life has been profoundly shaped by what I learned in the American studies course work, not only as a professional but in regard to how I live every day and how I see myself as a member of this incredibly complex society. I went on from Skidmore to Smith College School for Social Work, where I received my master's in clinical social work, specializing in work with children and families. I am presently working as a child and family therapist at a large nonprofit agency in urban Hartford, Conn., called The Village for Families and Children. I am also a consultant to Head Start centers in the greater Hartford area as well as co-chair of the Diversity Steering Committee here at The Village. In order for me to do my various jobs well, I need to be able to think systemically about how people are affected by laws, poverty, discrimination, culture/ethnicity, religion, politics, media, popular culture, etc. I feel that my idealism and my desire to serve people were nurtured and strengthened by the readings, lectures, and discussions that took place over the four years that I spent at Skidmore in the American Studies Department. 

Julie Gibbons-Keblinsky                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I received a M.A. in teaching from Tufts University in 1995 and I currently teach 9th- to 12th-grade history at Medomak Valley High School in Maine. My American studies degree has enhanced my teaching. By examining history through various disciplines (literature, art, social history, etc.), I am better able to engage my students and bring history to life. 

Seth Goddard             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

It would be a stretch to say that my degree is of much use in my current job, senior interface designer at BlueLight.com. Insomuch as American studies helped me to see the interconnectedness of facts and trends, sure, it's helping me—but, really, any good liberal arts education should do as much. I am living back in my hometown of San Francisco after spending five years in New York City. The two towns, as would happen, were also home to my senior thesis subject, The Frontier Dichotomy, Circa 1939 (The 1939 World Fairs of San Francisco and New York, "The Pageant of the Pacific" and "The World of Tomorrow). In New York, 1994–1999, it's safe to say that I made use of my degree every day as a print and then web journalist for People, Life, and Time magazines. Some of my favorite projects were Company Town: Norilsk Russia (hello machine in the garden); The Time 100 (most important people over the past 100 years); Top 100 Events of the Millennium; Missions to the Moon (the frontier attitude); Time 75 (focused around Time covers); A Giant Leap for Mankind (ditto); Joe DiMaggio, 1914–1999; Black in America (disregard the errors at the bottom of the page, nobody's maintaining my old site—Life went out of business last year); Diana, Princess of Wales, 1961–1997; The Baby Boom Turns 50 (look for interviews with John Lewis and Allen Ginsberg); Pictures of the Year, 1998; Pictures of the Year, 1997. Today it's safe to say my degree comes in handy every time I pay even the slightest attention to current local, national and international events, which really is every day. Many thanks to the professors who helped me make sense of all that I see through my open eyes. 

Alex Goldberg            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I currently reside in NYC. I am currently attempting to be self-employed as a filmmaker/actor/writer/director. I recently completed the shooting of my directorial feature film debut and am starting the post-production process. An American studies degree is necessary in interpreting events in our country, obviously the major political and cultural events. However, I am more concerned with the interpretation of daily life, for the stories to tell often aren't paraded around on television. They have to be found. An American studies degree taught me how to look between the lines.

Melissa Raff Goldberg           

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I was a double major with American studies and elementary education. I taught first grade for six years, and now I am a stay-at-home mom with my 7-month-old daughter. I completed several internships in museums while I was in college. I worked at the National Air and Space Museum and the National Racing Museum. Integrating my American studies major with museums is an exciting opportunity. When I return to work, I hope to pursue that avenue.

Jennifer Lanfranco                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

After working for one year, I went to law school and graduated in 1998 from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. I have been practicing as an attorney for over two years in Portland at Busse & Hunt. I practice plaintiffs' employment law, which means I represent employees in disputes with their employers. This includes civil rights actions, various types of employment discrimination, contract actions, and defamation. I really enjoy my work, and I know that majoring in American studies provided a wonderful background for law school. Understanding our country's history and culture made it easier to understand the legal system. For instance, I am able to have a better understanding of certain statutes by understanding the time period in which they were enacted. The interdisciplinary nature of the major enabled me to learn about many different subject areas, which is very helpful to me as an attorney. Practicing law requires not only knowledge of the law, but also an understanding of effective writing, psychology, and many other areas.

Frazier Rugg               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I have not pursued a higher degree, but I have taken plenty of classes in a variety of things. I live in NYC and work in advertising sales for the Atlantic monthly. I work as a liason between the agencies and their clients. I help them to understand the benefits of using the Atlantic as an advertising vehicle. American studies taught me to research, think critically and creatively about issues, and to back up my thoughts/arguments with facts. Working for a magazine rich in American literature, history, politics and policy, I feel my liberal arts degree has provided me with a variety of ways to connect with my clients and with the magazine itself. 

Daniel Schwenk                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

My life has been a bit of a whirlwind since Skidmore, and my American studies degree has been helpful in both direct and indirect ways. After I got back from China, I lived in New Hampshire for a year, then Colorado for two years. In the summer of 1998, I moved to West Hartford, Conn., with Sophie Markovic '96 so she could attend UConn dental school. We married in the summer of '99 and had a baby boy (Benjamin John Daniel Schwenk). In February of this year. I was going for my master's in colonial American history at UConn, but left to work and take care of my family while Sophie finishes school. I started working for Wild Oats, a chain of natural and organic supermarkets. I do marketing for them and I cover twenty stores across ten states. I do advertising, community relations, promotions, and special events for the twenty stores. It's a fun job, but very tiring and very stressful. American studies has definitely helped me in my work. I am able to understand different areas around the country in terms of shopping trends, values, perspective, etc. This is valuable for me because often I need to understand different areas of my region as a separate entity in order to develop marketing plans for them. My degree has also enriched my life because I have never put my interests in American culture and literature aside. I still read the same type of books and still watch the same types of documentaries. It has also helped develop my communication skills, which is very valuable when you need to email and cell phone so many people on a day-to-day basis.

Christine (Vigliotti) Bonavita             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                     

After Skidmore I went to Villanova University School of Law and graduated in 1996. I clerked for a judge in Ocean County, N.J., after I graduated, and am currently working in Philadelphia. I work at Blank Rome Comisky and McCauley, where I practice labor and employment law. I am recently married and living in Philadephia. 

Shaun O'Connell                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I received my J.D. in 1996 from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. I'm an attorney working for General Dynamics. My primary responsibility is the negotiation of contracts with the U.S. government as well as with foreign governments and commercial corporations around the world. My job calls for discussion, interpretation, and compromise while interacting with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. Having majored in American studies allows me to better understand where the viewpoints, predispositions, and beliefs of other people stem from, as well as allowing insight into how others may perceive my own actions.

Peter Steedman                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I live in Kingston, Mass., and received an M.A.T. in history at Teachers College-Columbia University (1995) and C.A.G.S administration at Boston University (2001) I spent the last five years teaching at the American School of The Hague. Last year I was the chair of the English and history departments and the dean of students. I am currently an administrative intern at Norwell Public High School. This includes acting as chair of the English, physical education, and technology departments. If all goes according to plan, I hope to be a principal in a few years. My wife is also a teacher in the disctrict. My American studies degree comes into play every day. I emulate the wonderful teachers I had at Skidmore. Unfortunately, I will never be able to attain the high standard they set. I encourage all Skiddies to explore teaching. It is a wonderful life!

Whitney Savage Tosh            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

American studies has followed me in virtually every part of my life since leaving Skidmore. Upon graduation, I moved to LA and worked for a startup company to produce a multicultural sitcom for the Fox network. I worked with a diverse group of people and was able to harness my understanding of cultural differences and perspectives while on the job. I then worked for Castle Rock Entertainment before moving back East. Little did I know I would be reading City of Quartz when I took some American studies courses at the University of Maryland a couple of years later. Although accepted into the University of Maryland, I decided not to pursue a master's while there and moved back to NYC. I worked in public relations for a couple of years and then worked for NBC, Lifetime Television, and Primedia. It was at Primedia that I discovered event planning. I have been an event planner since 2000, having worked for Gartner in Stamford, Conn., and now at Wings Unlimited in Darien, Conn. Event planning seemed a natural fit because of the interaction with people from all different backgrounds, domestic and international travel, and the research and attention to detail that planning requires. I use my American studies degree every day in this capacity—particularly when trying to understand the needs of each client. I married in 2006 and my husband, Stewart, and I are expecting our first child in July. Life is good and I'm looking forward to the next stage!

Wendy VanAntwerp  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

I graduated from Skidmore with an American studies degree in 1993. I currently live in Breckenridge, Colo. I moved out here in the winter of 1993 and have not left. I spent quite a few years exploring my ski bum side! I now work for the Summit County Department of Human Services. I am the intake caseworker. My job requires me to interview children and their families surrounding abuse, neglect, and welfare issues. My degree from Skidmore enables me to accept people within the context of their own history and circumstances. I must admit that my investigative skills are straight from the teachings of Mary Lynn! Please encourage other grads to contact me at this e-mail address.

Jennifer Brown                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

Jennifer Brown and Alex Cranstoun are both from the Class of 1992, married, and living in Ossining, N.Y. (about 45 minutes north of Manhattan). Alex is a business manager at DMCD, Inc., a design firm that focuses on a lot of historical and science exhibits. Jennifer is an attorney with the Hudson Valley Poverty Law Center. We both feel that the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies helped to give us a solid foundation and background that has enabled us to grow in our careers.

Alex Cranstoun                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

Alex Cranstoun and Jennifer Brown are both from the Class of 1992, married, and living in Ossining, N.Y. (about 45 minutes north of Manhattan). Alex is a business manager at DMCD Inc., a design firm that focuses on a lot of historical and science exhibits. Jennifer is an attorney with the Hudson Valley Poverty Law Center. We both feel that the interdisciplinary nature of American Studies helped to give us a solid foundation and background which has enabled us to grow in our careers.

Samantha Strauss                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

I'm living in Washington, D.C., working in the human resources department of a trade association called the Nuclear Energy Institute. I handle new-employee orientations, benefits administration, and lots of little things to make sure all 140 employees are happy little clams. How American studies got me to this point, who knows. I've worked in insurance, retail, and college admissions! This is probably not what prospective American studies majors want to hear! However, my liberal arts education—primarily my coursework in American studies—made me open to the possibilities. Especially in a city like Washington. There are so many opportunities. You just never know where you will end up—which is fine by me. It keeps life interesting! I have yet to go to graduate school, and quite honestly probably won't go anytime soon. I'm getting married in April (at the Hall of Springs, Saratoga).

Christianne Clancy      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

Christie currently works in the energy trading and risk management consulting industry. Please ask the department for her contact information.

Melissa Parodi Essigman                   

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                 

I received an M.S. in secondary education. I am a middle school teacher (currently on maternity leave :). I teach eighth grade American history, so my degree and everything I learned is my life. 

Adam Larson              

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

I graduated from Syracuse University College of Law in 1996 and am a civil litigation attorney in Boston with Campbell Campbell Edwards & Conroy, P.C. It is nowhere near as much fun as my days at Skidmore but then again, going out three to four nights a week is tough to do when you're married and have to bill 2,000 hours a year. Anyway, life is good and tell everyone I said hello.

Michael Heath           

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                 

Afer Skidmore I worked at Gabelli Funds as a representative for their line of mutual funds. Having no particular interest in that, I left there to attendthe Culinary Institute of Ameria in Hyde Park, N.Y. While there I studied culinary and pastry arts with some great chefs. Their facilities were extensive, as were the training and cooking instructions. Since I already had a college degree (most students are there for a 2-year associate's degree), I left after one year of class and applied to some M.B.A. programs. I lived in NYC for two years while going to NYU's Stern School of Business. Although not their forte by any means, I majored in marketing and graduated in 1995 summa-cum-nothin'. Only joking, as did most liberal arts graduates, I did well in subjective subjects like strategy, management psych, and others while I had more trouble with quantitative courses like statistics. After leaving NYU, I started a company that produced and bottled fresh squeezed orange juice and smoothies. I leased space, set up juicing and blending machines and sold to prepared-food retail places like lunch and breakfast delis, bagel stores, and the like. Here we are six years later and BoraBora Fruit Juices is still in business. We are on our second factory and sales have increased over the years. We concentrate mostly on the New York Metro region. The products are fresh squeezed juices and smoothies which are of course all natural, made fresh daily, and sold mostly in places you would get a bit to eat for breakfast or lunch. 

Greta Hagner Kennedy                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                 

I graduated from Skidmore in 1990 as an American studies major. After a brief two-year stint in advertising I went to Boston University Graduate School of Education. I have taught U.S. history for the past seven years at the secondary level. I recently took a one-year leave of absence from my current teaching position after the birth of my son, James. I really think my major in American studies helped me tremendously in becoming a better teacher. My background allowed me to bring in so many different aspects of history to the classroom: architecture, clothing, popular trends, literature... I chose American dtudies because it was a combination of everything I loved about the United States and its history, it has served me well.

Robert Land               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

Living in the Washington, D.C., area with my wife and two children, I work as the vice president for government affairs and associate general counsel of JetBlue Airways, a New York based, low-fare airline I co-founded two years ago. My day-to-day work life involves regular involvement with state, local, and federal legislative bodies and agencies, as well as courts of law and lots of other attorneys. As a double major in government and American studies, I have found that my Skidmore education and background has suited me well in my professional life. While my legal education has its particular advantages at times, my broad based Skidmore education has allowed me to view and work through issues from various perspectives rather than from strictly legal framework. My years at Skidmore, though quickly growing distant, remain among my fondest.

Andrea Banbury                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

When I graduated from Skidmore I worked for a congresswoman in her district office in Connecticut. When I moved to San Francisco, I worked for six years at a Planned Parenthood clinic. I now stay home with my 1 year old daughter.

Blake Hering, Jr.                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I currently work in commercial real estate finance (going on 11 years in commercial real estate). The application of my liberal arts education is subtle. American studies in particular, as I've come to define it, applies American history, or aspects thereof, to contemporary American culture. AS seeks to better understand the influence these periods (the 1960s or the 1920s, for example), or inventions (the car), or other events of history have on the current psyche or culture. I could be way off from what I was supposed to be learning, but I now have post-education definition autonomy. What I learned, and perhaps more importantly, how I learned, has influenced the way that I approach the world: my views, my ideas, my conclusions. The questions I ask, the answers I seek. American studies was a vehicle to learn critical thinking; learning to support a viewpoint, whatever that may be. One of the ways in which I feel I've benefitted in business, is through my learned ability to see, think, and support an opinion or idea from varied points of view. A necessary quality for any business person, not just a salesman or politician is to vacillate, and sound reasoned in your vicissitudes. The obvious personal downside is the ability to slip willingly into rationalizations. But that is fodder for another major. Despite what you might conclude from the above, I have actually been somewhat successful in my career. Perhaps more importantly, I feel I could be and would be successful in whatever I chose to pursue, in part, because of my liberal arts education. "I think critically, therefore I can."

Gregory Alan Rutchik             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I live in San Francisco and work in Sunnyvale, Calif., further education at Temple Law School 1992, University of Tokyo, Fulbright Fellow 1992–1993. As a businessperson in Silicon Valley and simply as a human being, my American studies background is with me every day. Much of what I do as a lawyer is to solve puzzles and negotiate relationships. Although they are often legal/business puzzles revolving around two companies working together, I must understand the context of the transactions, the people involved and their motivations. Negotiations are all about the people involved and the transaction is usually about the business cultural context of the deal. Having first read Henry James' Washington Square and many great works of American writers, and having first looked carefully at America's economic policies, historical and cultural norms, etc., during my days with Mary Lynn, Tad Kuroda, and others at Skidmore, I began to learn to make important connections to the themes and undercurrents operating in the world around me. These insights help me in my work and life to connect with those around me and to lay a context for my endeavors. It has been a great way to look at our world.

Terri Cook-Melloy                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I currently live in Minneapolis with my husband, Evan, and my kids, Wyatt and Marin (3 1/2-year-old twins). I work for Philips Lighting Co., selling industrial/commercial lighting in Minnesota. Life is busy, full, and fun. American studies was the perfect major for me, as I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and was able to take diverse, interesting courses. I truly enjoyed my courses and professors at Skidmore and I believe it has made me quite well-rounded and open-minded.

Michele Helfgott MD             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I live in Fort Wayne, Ind., with my fiance Rodney and am practicing Ob/Gyn with six other people. I am much happier than I was in Munster, Ind., although that job was a good starting ground. I have passed my boards so I am official. Rodney and I are doing well and hope to be getting married this fall. I miss Skidmore, the people and the teachers very much. I hope to be back this summer for the reunion. In terms of how American studies helped me in my profession, I think it enabled me to be more well-rounded and to appreciate the little things in life like nature, history, culture, reading—things that, as a physician, we often lose sight of or do not have enough time for. I truly do my best to make time for those things; life is too short not to.

John Levinson            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                   

I currently live in Atlanta. No further degree beyond American studies. I am a media promotions professional with an international media agency. The degree has helped me become a well-rounded person in ways that have helped me become successful not only in my career but also in my personal life. Life has been good to me, and I owe that in part to my experience at Skidmore, the degree, and the professors who helped me earn it.

 

Michael Quincy                      

 

In 1986, I started working in money management and economic consulting (which took me as far away as Hong Kong for two months to set up an office to service clients from the Far East). However, I really wanted to get back to working with words, something learned in spades at Skidmore and especially as an American studies major. I got into publishing via a biweekly rag called Tennis Week (I think I made $13k per year). I was associate editor and went to a lot of tennis tournaments. But I longed to write about cars, my first, and still-burning passion. After nearly a year of pounding the pavement and a string of rejections, I finally broke through with Automobile magazine, based in Ann Arbor, Mich. I followed that with a stint as a writer for a public relations agency with several automotive clients, and then went on my own for a while as a freelancer writing for PR and ad agencies. I knew I needed to settle down, however, because I met the woman of my dreams and we planned on getting married and buying a house. I landed with Consumer Reports as an automotive editor and managed to stay for nearly seven and a half years. Last Spring (2000), though, I received an offer too good to pass up from a "dot-com" in Austin, Texas; I became the senior editor for carOrder.com and was responsible for all of the content for the web site. The company became a "dot-gone" only four months after I joined, but I was quickly hired by the parent company (Trilogy Software) to work in the marketing division for the Trilogy/Ford joint venture. Well, the kiss of death followed me there, too, and the joint venture blew a gasket not three months later! I went back to the freelance world and have been busy ever since. My work at Skidmore and everything I learned from the American Studies and English departments prepared me well to handle the rigors of the working world. I so believe in my Skidmore education that I've volunteered as an alumni admissions correspondent for the last thirteen years or so.

Heather Hartland Steele                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I received a master's in philosophy and international relations from Cambridge University, UK (Pembroke College) in 1989. I worked as a senior project manager at the Washington, D.C., based International Life Sciences Institute, but I am presently a full-time mom to Patrick (age 6), Annabel (4), and Peter (1). Although the American studies degree did not have a direct impact on my future studies or career, it did provide me with excellent research and writing skills and I loved the course offerings, history, literature, art history, American culture, etc. The professors were great, too! 

Lisa Bogart                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I attended Montclair State University and am currently the owner/founder/president of a small advertising and PR agency, LAB Associates in New Jersey. I started it six years ago, working with other small businesses. I use my analytical skills constantly. What are the trends? What kind of history is there to that trend? Research it! I am an avid researchers on the internet, gathering info to support my ideas in making decisions and presentations and cooking up ideas for clients. I still think American studies was a great major, even though I have to explain what it is many times. I use the skills I developed constantly. So what else have I done? I worked primarily in marketing-related jobs in many areas: publishing nonprofit, classical music industry. I've taken a few courses at Montclair State, learned some adult school French and Irish, volunteered up a storm (Girl Scouts, CCD, Cancer Car), got married to a Skidmore alum, getting divorced from a Skidmore alum, lived in N.J., moved to Calif., moved back to N.J., taught myself how to use a computer, learned a little programming, computer maintenance, graphics, programs, some HTML type stuff, how to curse at the computer when all else fails, etc. Mostly I'm pleased with my efforts but like any good study, it's still a work in progress.

Laura Soper Budd                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I'm living in Greenwich Conn., married to Scott Budd (also class of 1984) three children (6, 3 1/2, 2). I'm VP Associate Media Director Media Partnership, Norwalk Conn. I plan and place media for a variety of national marketers, specializing in strategic executions for retailers. While I do not directly utilize my degree by working in an academic environment, the skills I garnered as an American studies major help me every day as I study the media consumption habits of Americans. Being able to translate universal themes into common actions, i.e., seeing the forest and not just the trees, has made me a long-range strategist and a better manager. The work you do as an American studies major gives you the skills needed to communicate thoughtfully, orally and in writing, analyze data and qualitative themes, and gives you perspective on the world around you.

Linda Borish               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I'm living in Kalamazoo, Mich. I have an M.A. and a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Maryland at College Park. I am an associate professor of history at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. I use my Amercian studies training in my career here in numerous ways, teaching courses in American history and American studies, and my research and publications focus on American women's sport and health history. I am the president of the Great Lakes American Studies Association and work with the American Studies Association on committees and projects, most recently as co-chair of the Pre-Convention Collaboratives/Local Arrangement Committee for the ASA conference in Detroit in October 2000.

Debora Lee Freedman Clower                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:                     

American studies, Business Minor Bryn Mawr, Pa. I have been a stay-at-home mom for eleven years and am the proud mother of three girls, ages 11, 8, and 4. Prior to motherhood, I worked in advertising, private school administration, marketing for a public television station, and director of special events. My American studies degree allowed me to have many diverse career opportunities, and most importantly enabled me to be open-minded in any endeavors I chose to undertake. My career is solely volunteer at this point, I have served on our children's museum board, and have been active in committee work for various charitable organizations. My involvement with my daughter's schools is very important to me as well. My life feels full at this juncture, but I know my many experiences will serve me well when I decide to go back to a 9–5 job. I am so glad I decided to switch from an English degree to American studies—I truly received a liberal arts degree!

Christine Edler           

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I am teaching at Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Northfield, Mass. My courses vary from the traditional U.S. history requirements to a contemporary issues course and a sophomore-level world history course. I have been a coach of field hockey, lacrosse, track, and basketball over the years. This coming year marks my 18th in the teaching field! I have a MALS degree from Dartmouth, which reminded me of how much I enjoy being a student. My American studies degree from Skidmore has come in handy more times than I can say. But perhaps the most important aspect of my American studies education is the reminder that some of the most interesting and provocative ideas come from outside the textbook (speakers, museum trips, hands-on activities). I often invite world travelers, for example, to come into my sophomore classes and talk about their views of the world. Then we discuss the kids' reactions. American studies reminds me that the world is full of living "artifacts!" History can be fun—even for high school students!

Marcia Whittle Price              

CURRENT PURSUITS:                    

I am living in St. Petersburg, Fla. I received my J.D. from Mercer University in 1998 and am presently the in-house counsel for Bankers/IMSG Insurance Co. Prior to returning to school, I worked in the insurance claims industry for several years. My American studies degree has been extremely valuable as it has helped me to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for a career in business and later, the law. In addition, I believe that the skills I acquired due to the program's great emphasis on writing have been instrumental in my success in the business/legal community.

Nancy Wagner Schaffer     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I received an M.A. in ancient history from the University of Wisconsin in 1986 and also studied modern Greek language at Aristotolean University and Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania. I used my degree to teach ESL to Greeks and Japanese students in their respective countries. My lessons were usually with a history twist. I married in 1998 and my first child was born on December 2, 2000: Helena Grace Schaffer. Now I'm a mom and work part-time as an assistant buyer at New Super Liquor in Clifton Park, N.Y.

Cynthia Hawkins Guarino                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I am currently living and working in Bahrain, in the Middle East, as a newsreader on the radio. We've lived here since 1997 after spending the previous nine years living and working in Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and a brief stint in Sweden. After graduating from Skidmore I worked in public affairs and event organization. In 1987 I received an M.B.A. from Columbia University and subsequently moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, with my husband. Since 1987 my work in various countries has encompassed event organization and government and public relations. My current position on the radio fully utilizes the skills aquired through the American studies degree as I am required to select, edit, and rewrite as necessary all the news I read on air. As course work in American studies develops these skills as well as encouraging exposure to many different areas of study, my work has benefited greatly. 

Ellen Sprouls              

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I am the executive director at Impression 5 in Lansing, Mich. Impression 5 (Science Center) is a hands-on learning center (museum). Our mission is to facilitate learners of all ages in appreciating, exploring, and understanding the wonders of the physical and natural world. The official name includes Science Center; however, we use only Impression 5. At Impression 5 we believe that learning is multidiscplinary, so our exhibits and programs are no longer limited to science. I also serve on the board of the Automobile National Heritage Area Lansing Corridor. The Automobile Heritage Area was established by Congress and is administered by the Department of Interior. Since moving to Lansing I have taken up photography. Last one of my photographs was included in a show at the Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University and another appeared at Oxbow in Douglas, Michigan. Oxbow is a summer institute affiliated with the Art Institute of Chicago. During the month of May 2001 I will have a show of many of my photographs at the Greater Lansing Visitors Center. I am the featured artist of the month. The vast majority of my photographs are of buildings. I have also spent a lot of time working with the preservation planner for the City of Lansing doing research for several proposed local historic districts. The best program I have developed at Impression 5 is called Lansing: the Living Classroom. In this program we use the City of Lansing and all its component parts to teach local history and environmental science. You haven't lived until you have exposed a group of second-graders to the concept of reading a building and then you go out looking for clues from the past. This summer I am also teaching a class for middle school students on local government and city planning. So I use my American studies degree even though I am the director of a museum that was a science center.

Jane Page                   

CURRENT PURSUITS:                            

I graduated in 1982, earned a master of science degree in broadcasting from Boston University in 1987, and have worked as a producer and editor for public television in Washington, D.C. (thanks to the Washington Semester program!) and in Maryland. Since I have two boys, ages 3 and 5, I now freelance as a producer and editor of videos that promote the use of technology in the classroom. My clients include Johns Hopkins University and Maryland's State Department of Education. American studies was a dream major for me. I grew up in Massachusetts surrounded by history, but ironically never understood the significance of New England's history until I came to Saratoga. Combining art, fiction, firsthand accounts, and the works of historians breathes life into history in a way I couldn't have imagined. I think I learned how to boil information down to the essence of what it means, and that is crucially important for communicating through video. At most I have 15 minutes to convey a message to teachers that will inspire them to explore the technology options at their disposal. You have to find what clicks with them and give them just enough information to pique their curiosity.

Paul Sigrist                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

After graduating as a double major in music and American studies, I spent a year in graduate school at NYU in the American civilization program. I then returned to Saratoga in the summer of 1983 and spent two years identifying and cataloging the entire collection of decorative and fine arts at Yaddo. The project culminated in a public lecture given at Yaddo in 1985 as well as a written catalog. During these same years I was curator of the historic costume and textile collection at the Saratoga County Historical Society at Brookside in Ballston Spa. In 1985 after the Yaddo project was completed, I assumed the position of curator of the Yates Collection at Skidmore, where I remained until 1989. All during the 1980s I also maintained my own antiques business in Saratoga. In 1989, I accepted a position at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which at that point had not opened to the public. I was the director of the Ellis Island Oral History Project at the museum from 1989 to 1999, overseeing all aspects of the project including conducting interviews, working with all kinds of researchers, conducting public lectures about the project, and training student interns from many different academic institutions. After resigning from Ellis Island in 1999, I returned to dealing in antiques, this time specifically selling 19th century Staffordshire ceramics. I also work as a professional actor and singer here in New York.

Deborah Dion             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

 

I graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983 with a degree in public Policy. I work for the AFL-CIO/Media Specialists where I do the presswork for AFL-CIO officers, write press releases, statements, speeches, etc. I develop press strategies for political and legislative campaigns and prepare materials for field campaigns on issues such as Social Security, minimum wage, education, Patient's Bill of Rights, etc. I use my American studies degree mostly with writing, but more importantly I believe American studies gave me the background to fight for candidates that support the needs and agenda of American's working families and worker's rights.

 

Lisa Harden Brickey               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I loved my major, although I'm not in a job one would immediately associate with the field. My husband and I launched, and continue to own and operate the Red Geranium. This is a home accessory and fine giftware business, started in 1982 in Rome, N.Y. It is in a circa 1840 cottage that had been condemned when we first occupied the building. This, of course, appealed to my architect husband and American studies self. We opened our second store in New Hartford, N.Y., in 1987, and our third location in DeWitt in 1996. Together we do all the buying for the stores, and my particular areas of expertise include all personnel hiring and scheduling, advertising planning and execution, and all computer work relating to invoices and accounts payable. I also spend many hours on the floor helping customers—the real wealth of retail. The best thing about my job is the flexiblity it affords me in trying to "do it all." Our office is in our home, which allows me to be an at-home mom as well as a working woman. As for my American studies background relating to my occupation, both a specific and general example come to mind. A few years ago we came up with the idea of commissioning a custom afghan for our area, i.e. Oneida County. This involved a great deal of research, because I felt the afghan should present the history of the area. I read, interviewed, and wrote for permission to use images which ultimately were woven into thousands of afghans. In fact, this was so successful that we later designed three more afghans. My Skidmore education and American studies degree in particular equipped me with a writing ability that has been helpful on a daily basis. Whether I simply write memos or letters, press releases, or the historical paper that accompanies our custom afghans, I feel comfortable to take pen in hand. I would add here that my writing earned me my first job in the Communications and Development Office at Hamilton College directly after my 1980 graduation. I worked there for nearly seven years, writing proposals for small and large grants ranging from microscopes to buildings, writing for the alumni magazine, and even ghost-writing letters for the president of the college.

Ellen Flight                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I currently live in Middlebury, Vt. I received my M.A. in education from Lesley College Graduate School (now Lesley University). For fifteen years I taught seventh and eighth grade history, English, and writing in Washington, D.C., and Boston suburb independent schools. American studies taught me how to learn and think about history in a cultural context. This was especially handy during those times when I worked to write new curriculum. I was also fortunate to teach at schools where I could connect the literature study with the history curriculum. Currently I am director of a girls' summer camp. For this new job, I think the interdisciplinary nature of American studies has helped me be able to do all the different things this job involves: recruiting, hiring, overseeing kitchen and maintenance, writing articles, mandating, etc., and when I'm not sure what to do or how to proceed, I know how to find the info I need.

Donald G. Lindsay                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I was not the shining light of the American Studies Department. The requirements for language arts skills were daunting for me. However, much of what was covered in the American studies curriculum was quite interesting. The courses heightened my ability to observe. A required interview for Material Culture led to Genesee Country Museum, a reconstructed 19th century village in Mumford N.Y. The curator was impressed. Apparently few students from other institutions had been able to come up with any intelligent questions. Fewer still had been able to pay attention to the answers to create a coherent series of questions. No other students had touched upon the reality of the work necessary to implement the museums goals and policies. Several months later, while struggling to complete my senior year, an unsolicited job offer came through. School took priority. Nevertheless Genesee Country Museum saved an interpreter job for me. I worked there from graduation until the museum closed for the winter in November. Interest in sailing, travel, and late 19th century life led me to a rewarding career. I spent over fifteen years sailing in square-rigged sailing ships. I am thankful for my Skidmore education. My ability to quickly study plans, specifications, procedures, and routines of various ships has given me a dramatic edge in evaluating the operating programs of these vessels. This advantage allowed me to spend time in ships that furthered my knowledge, skills and experience in the shortest amount of time. A Norwegian masters in nautical transport and a USCG license for "master of steam, motor, sail and auxiliary sail vessels any gross tons upon oceans" round out my professional qualifications. Very few living Americans have achieved either distinction. Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been my home for the past five years. I have a rewarding career in an unrelated field, contribute to my church as platform assistant, and enjoy developing my public speaking skills.

Paulette Adkins Rainie                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I reside outside D.C. in McLean, Va. I have been an aerobics instructor and personal trainer for fifteen years. I just graduated in May 2000 from a physical therapist assistant program and am now practicing in several rehab/subacute centers. I use my American studies background primarily when helping my three kids with homework! I am thrilled to have the degree and wouldn't trade it for the world!

Laura Brockway                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                  

I stayed in Saratoga for a few years working at the Gideon Putnam, after which I enrolled in business school at Emory in '82. I'm still in Atlanta. I never expected to stay this long. After Emory I went to the corporate world of Southern Bell, now Bell South, as a auditor of independent phone companies, among other jobs. After I took my CPA exam (I passed the first time I took it) I quit Southern Bell and started working for a small CPA firm. I stayed with them for eight months searching for my escape. For the next couple of years I filled my time with temporary jobs, presiding over a huge voluntary corporation, trying to help a friend start a company, and reading for a great guy who was blind. One of the temp jobs led to a permanent job doing accounting work for an Applebee's franchise. After Applebee's I held another job, then I did the temp job routine again and really enjoyed some of the long-term projects that I got. I started working for Martin and Yarborough CPA back in 1994. For the next two years I traveled almost every week auditing the federal government. The work experience allowed me to get my CPA in '96. I loved working for Martin and Yarborough even though they are devoted Republicans. But the government contract was lost and everyone was laid off. I then took a job as a controller of a Burger King franchise—my dream job, or so I thought. Again I sought my escape. My next career adventure was to enroll in the Art Institute of Atlanta and earn a degree in the culinary program. I am now officially Laura Brockway, BA, MBA, CPA, AA, CC. I'm a certified culinarian and a CPA. "I cook the books." While I was in school I landed a contract to do accounting work for a very successful multi-store fine-dining restaurant company in Atlanta. As well, Martin & Yarborough got another government audit contract. Since they only needed me a few months I took a leave of absence from school to travel to San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Washington. I continued to work for the restaurant and returned to school. For the last three years I have been working two jobs and/or going to school full-time. When I'm not traveling I work from my home—no traffic, surrounded by my three cats. So after more than 20 years since leaving Skidmore, my career is finally at a place that I love. 

Carter (Jones) Meyer             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

Not a day goes by that I don't draw on my training in American Studies. After graduation from Skidmore, I worked briefly as an editor at Ginn and Company publishers in Lexington, Massachusetts, then entered the Ph.D. program in American Studies at Brown University. I received my Ph.D. from Brown in 1991 and began teaching shortly thereafter at Ramapo College of New Jersey. I spent 26 years on the faculty, serving either as chair of the American Studies or History programs for over half of them. My areas of expertise included American Indian history, the history of the American West, and late nineteenth and early twentieth century American cultural history. I always tried to model my academic work on the professors I had at Skidmore. That meant being a dedicated teacher and scholar, and trying to provide for my students the kind of academic opportunities I had as an undergraduate. Toward that end, I am honored to have received both the Henry Bischoff Excellence in Teaching Award and the Fred and Florence Thomas Faculty Award for significant and ongoing contributions to the development of Ramapo. Although I retired from the College in 2018, I continue my scholarship and stay involved in education, now as a docent at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. I'm also pleased that my daughter, Carter Robison Meyer ("Kit"), is a  current American Studies major at Skidmore. I guess the apple didn't fall far from that interdisciplinary tree, did it?

Debbie Gramkow Morton                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I began my career after Skidmore at the Peale Museum in Baltimore, Md. (the first museum in the U.S. built as a museum) later known as the Baltimore City Life Museum, where I started out as an assistant curator and then ended up doing public relations and fundraising. Something that all nonprofits always need! After working there for five years (the museum has recently been closed because of lack of funding—it is or was owned by the City of Baltimore), I switched jobs and was director for the annual fund at Garrrison Forest School in Owings Mills, Md. Once my children were born I switched to part-time there as an associate in the Development Office. I helped coordinate reunion weekend, special events, and trustee meetings, assisted with the Alumnae Bulletin and annual reports, and mostly worked on research of the constituents to help plan for a major capital campaign. Ten years ago, my husband changed jobs and we moved to Chicago. I have not been working for the last ten years, but have instead been at home in my role as a mom, and I do lots of volunteer work. I would say that majoring in American studies definitely gave me a broader view of America. I am still interested in American history, politics, and mostly American culture and art. The research we did was a crucial life skill: I use those skills every day! Also the organizational and analytical skills we developed in the research process are key to everyday life, working or not. My daughter, who is a freshman in high school, has been very interested in history, especially American history, and I am enjoying it with her too!

Kim D. West (passed away, 2019)                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

I double-majored in history and American studies with the intent of teaching high school history. I believed the two majors gave me a balanced perspective on life in Colonial America, my area of interest. My career path and continued education, however, took me a different way. I received an M.A. in college personnel services from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1983 and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Southern California in 1997. I have been a university administrator since graduating from Skidmore and am currently the director of residence life at the California Institute of Technology. I also teach in the graduate school of education at the University of Southern California. I thoroughly enjoyed Skidmore and the opportunity to know faculty like Tad Kuroda and Dave Marcell, both of whom I still occasionally see on campus. I have kept all of the books we used (and there were a lot!) and they are kept proudly on my bookshelves at home. I hope my children will someday explore them as well as consider Skidmore as they select a college. We have awhile to wait though: boy/girl twins born on April 28, 2000 will be members of the class of 2022! I should note that my daughter is named Cady Rutledge, Cady stolen from Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Rutledge being a family name that can be traced back to a signer of the declaration of independence (E.S. Rutledge). I keep telling her that she has a very rich, historical name, but all she does is look at me and spit up. Someday she'll get it!

Anita Koppel Blackman                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                             

Presently I am chief of staff at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, a public corporation within the U.S. Department of Transportation. We operate locks in Massena, N.Y., that enable vessels to transit through the St. Lawrence River into the Great Lakes. I work directly for the administrator, who is based in Washington, D.C., and focuses a lot of effort on promotion of the system as well as day-to-day management. When I graduated from Skidmore in 1978 I did a short stint in law school and realized it wasn't for me. I did however want to get a legally and politically related job and went to work in the Minority Leader's Office of the New York State Assembly. In 1982 he obtained a presidential appointment in the Reagan Administration as Administrator of the Seaway and asked me to go to Washington with him to serve as special assistant and director of marketing. For the next seven years I worked at the Seaway, through his term. Then I worked with my husband in his public affairs consulting firm until 1991, when I was presented with an opportunity to career into the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration as manager of the international trade mission program. For the past nine years I migrated through various positions within the U.S and Foreign Commercial Service working in the International Operations Office for Western Hemisphere overseeing commercial operations throughout Latin America and South America and ended my career there this past July as director of domestic operations. There I was responsible for overseeing 105 offices throughout the U.S. aimed at helping small and medium-sized companies export their products and services throughout the world. Out of the blue came the offer to return to the Seaway, and I jumped on it! Regarding your question about how my degree has helped me, I reflect on my Washington semester which really gave me Potomac fever! I spent the spring of 1977 at American University and just loved the city, promising myself that someday I'd return. Well, 18 years later, I've gone native! My interests in American history, politics, and culture certainly factored into my pursuit of an American studies degree in the first place and have played out in my career with the federal government too. I just love living here and take full advantage of all the city has to offer me and my family! We're always on the go!

Lynn Elisha Hansen                

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

For the past 18 years I have been owner of the Artisan Shop and Gallery, a contemporary American craft store representing American artists from all over the U.S. I currently have two stores. One is located in Wilmette and the other in Long Grove, Ill. I guess you could say my American studies degree paid off in that it has helped me to appreciate American art and the tradition that it comes from. I enjoy seeing the connection between art and life in my work, and I learned to make these connections through my American studies degree.

Elizabeth Bowie Fesperman              

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I live in Baltimore and have been a reporter for the Baltimore Sun for the past 14 years. I have covered environmental issues, the state legislature, biotechnology, and business. Currently I am writing about Baltimore's public schools, which have an enormous number of social problems. I love the job. A journalism degree might have been more useful when I was looking for my first job, but I think the courses I took in American studies have given me a better context for the subjects I have written about over the years. I believe journalists are writing rough histories of our culture every day. I try to use my background in history, art, and culture to give greater depth to the stories I write. Believe it or not, occasionally I do think about an idea I discussed during a class 25 years ago. (I still remember David's freshman lecture about the future of our society and his prediction that terrorism would replace war). I hope today Skidmore has courses in the influence of race in America and the role of women in our culture. Those are two of the biggest issues I face in my work/life.

Sandra Gibson-Quigley                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I received my teacher certification for secondary education from the Upper Valley Teacher Training Program in 1977; I have an M.A. from the University of Vermont in Cultural History/Museum Studies (1981). From 1981 to 1994 I worked in museum education. My choice of this field was directly related to my work at Skidmore. I spent one winter term (as a sophomore) with Mary Lynn at Old Sturbridge Village. The following year, I spent the fall semester interning in the OSV education department. From 1981 to 1986 I was a coordinator in the Education Department at OSV. I was responsible for developing and maintaining their education resources and curriculum materials, and for developing and instructing in their teacher training programs and workshops. From 1986 to 1994 I was the education director for Preservation Worcester; and I also worked as a consultant developing programs and curriculum for museums, local and state historical societies and commissions, as well as various school departments. Since 1994 I have been teaching at Notre Dame Academy in Worcester, Mass. This job combines many of my interests, as well as fitting well with my family and lifestyle. I currently teach modern European history, and the AP course in U.S. history. My academic and professional training and experience are all invaluable in my current work. My history courses are interdisciplinary, with a strong reliance on social history and the arts.

Ellen Lynch                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I am a senior VP and managing director at Albert B. Ashforth Inc., a commercial real estate company. I am married to Dennis Morrissey.

Lisa Anderson Musumeci                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I have stayed very active politically, serving on town committees to make a difference. I have an extensive collection of historical American papers on common women: letters, postcards, recipes, furniture, leaflets, etc. I own a company producing specialty foods called "OTWELL'S," a pioneer woman in our family. 

Polly Vail Walsh                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

Wow. How do I use my degree ... I worked in the media business for 18 years. I found that my background was helpful because it was a broad liberal arts degree. I now live outside of Washington D.C., am fairly active in politics, and just joined the board of Presidentail Classroom, a (profitable) nonprofit that brings talented high school students into D.C. for a high-level and high-impact experiential learning experience. My degree enhances my interest in the dynamics of how our country runs. In this age of diversity and multicultural experiences, it's great to know your own history and use it as a launch pad. thanks!

Marcy Hirschfeld Raines                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

Currently, I am the development coordinator for a regional, resident theater. For the past eight years I was with two dot-coms, working in their marketing departments. American studies was a wonderful major; however, this course of study has had little impact on my professional life.

Kate Ferris                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I currently live in Greenfield Center and have been in the Saratoga area since 1987. Previously I lived in Old Chatham, N.Y., and Manhattan (for eight years). I earned my master's in library science from Simmons School of Library Science in 1975. I am currently an independent contractor doing board leadership training and event management for various clients. My biggest project is running the Showcase of Homes put on by the Saratoga Builders Association each year. I also do a lot of fundraising, but I wish I didn't. I think my American studies degree comes into play frequently, perhaps routinely, in my life. The interdisciplinary approach to a situation or a problem helps me to see the whole. I'm still fascinated by all the different influences that impact our lives, individually and as a society, and how these are reflected in our culture. My degree may have been one of the reasons I first worked in the advertising field (yes, as a librarian!) and I can juggle all lot of different parts of a project to make it come together as a whole.

Ellen Miller-Wolfe                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

My graduate work was at Cornell University, where I received a master's in city and regional planning. I am the economic development manager for the city of Benevue, Wash. I am responsible for general projects and initiatives including enhancement of retail centers, recruitment and retention of technology companies, telecommunications deployment, etc. American studies provided a generic background in American culture to which I added practical knowledge gleaned from an urban planning program. All provide good basis for analyzing issues. 

Pat Willstatter            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

What am I doing with my life? I'm selling advertising here in Chicago. Actually, I'm the Midwest Advertising Manager of the new Rosie O'Donnell Magazine, Rosie. I've been in the advertising business for almost 20 years now. After college I wanted to be a museum curator (Mary Lynn will remember that) but when I figured out that it a) paid dog-poop and b) that I needed at least a master's degree to get a decent job (and with my grades, grad school was out of the question), I looked for another career. Tripped into advertising sales. Like many businesses in the mid- to late '70s, advertising was heavily dominated by men, and women held mostly clerical and lower-level positions. I started as a secretary (which I did very badly) and worked my way into a sales job in New York. First real sales job was at National Lampoon, and then I moved to Chicago sixteen years ago. I've been with various magazines since I started including Teen and McCall's (may it rest in peace) and really love what I do. How has American studies helped/impacted my ventures? Well, sometimes when I am developing a new pitch, I use the fact that magazines are a reflection of popular culture, and that successful magazines grab hold of a vision of American life that resonates with its audience. So that's what I'm doing and how American studies has impacted what I do. Haven't gotten any less wordy then I was at Skidmore, but what the heck!

Deborah Barton                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

Currently I live in Baltimore, Md. I received my master's in speech/language pathology. My current work includes evaluation, development, and implementation of programs for speech- and/or language-impaired students in a Pre-K to eighth-grade school. I am a member of an interdisciplinary team and provide consultative services to school staff. My degree in American studies does not relate to my work, but I feel I had excellent preparation for teaching the English language to my students due to my study of American literature. In my personal life, I continue to enjoy visiting museums, traveling, and reading anything about American history. 

Sam Croll                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I received an MA in religion from Yale in 1975 and a JD from the New York Law School in 1978. I practiced with the firm of Barnes Richardson and Coburn in New York in the late '70s and early '80s and also practiced on my own. In 1984 I began work at Croll Reynolds, a firm founded by my grandfather in 1917. We are an engineering group specializing in air pollution control equipment. We also design process equipment utilized by the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. I am currently president of the firm. The market for air pollution control equipment is driven for the most part by regulation, and therefore my legal background has helped. We have developed state-of-the-art designs for the control of air toxics. We are, for instance, currently involved in a project in the former Soviet Union where we will design a system to control the off-gas as rocket engines (for ICBMs) are destroyed. The process calls for approximately 1,000,000 CFM of gas flow! We are currently seeking investment capital to underwrite our projected growth. Until capital is secured, we will continue to bear significant risk.... I guess that's where my work at Yale comes in. On the process side, we have opened an engineering facility in Ahmedabad, India, and are currently discussing global alliances with our former competitors. My work at Skidmore was critical to the modicum of success that I have experienced. I was encouraged, for the first time, to look beyond/beneath the text, to bring imagination to the process of research. To be critical but yet creative in my approach to the task at hand. This has stayed with me. 

Diane Stone Kendall              

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I now live in Houston, Texas. I received my master's in education from Nazareth College and did additional graduate work at Teachers College, Columbia University, in instructional technology. I am now a writer/editor/consultant/reviewer with my own little company called Children's Software Press. I write about technology in my own newsletter and on websites like www.smarterkids.com and www.powertolearn.com. I was also the co-author of Kids, Computers and Homework (Random House, 1995). When I left Skidmore I put my American studies background to work as a social studies teacher. Of course I never got to teach American history, but it was good background and training. I also worked as a research assistant for an organization that created for social studies teachers and as a textbook editor. Again, not in American history, but the training was useful. In 1980, I taught the first course anywhere on incorporating computers in the teaching of history at Teachers College, Columbia, and wrote a book on the subject. Perhaps the best skills I got out of my American studies training were how to find, analyze, and present material—all very useful in my real-world job these days! 

Janet Egan Steinmeyer                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I completed study at the International Institute of Culinary Arts, did an internship at Al Forno in Providence, R.I., and earned a fellowship at Le Mirador in Vevey, Switzerland. I've used my American studies degree in my previous career as director of development for the Rhode Island Historical Society, New England Historic Geneaological Society. I enjoyed the American studies program at Skidmore, especially Mary Lynn's courses, and was involved in public relations and fundraising for many years for historical societies in Boston and Providence. Recently I retired from my position as director of culinary arts at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.

Mary Shirk Blakinger             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I have always felt that my undergraduate major in American studies at Skidmore has enriched my work as a newspaper reporter and editor, introducing at a theoretical level themes I later saw played out in municipal government and commerce. After graduating in 1972, I got a master of arts degree in communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and went to work as a reporter in Harrisburg, Pa., the state capital, and then as a reporter and features editor in Bucks County, Pa. More recently, I was a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering municipal government and then business in the counties west of the city. I left the Inquirer in June 2001 to pursue other writing and professional opportunities.

Deborah Chapin-Horowitz                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I live in NYC. I received my MPA in 1974 from the University of Cinncinnati and my JD in 1974 from NYU. Recently I left Viacom after serving as associate general counsel of the Corporate Law Department for 11 1/2 years. Prior to Viacom I was in a private legal practice. Prior to law school, I worked for New York City Council President and the City of Cinncinnati. American studies was very helpful in my career in public service as well as law. It gives a good general background but should add some course work in American business. 

Mary Crouter             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I was an American studies major at Skidmore, class of '72, but transferred to the University of New Hampsire after two years and graduated from there in 1972. I went to the University of Rhode Island, earning an M.L.S. in 1974; then a J.D. from George Washington University in 1981. I'm an attorney in the legislative division of the General Counsel's Office at the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. I have worked for the government for almost 27 years. My American Studies major was terrific. Unfortunately UNH didn't offer it, so I ended up a history major. I highly recommend AS; it has been valuable to me in the public sector.

Jane Feinberg Karlin              

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I have lived in Manhattan since 1975. Following graduation, I went to Brown University to pursue a Ph.D. in American civilization. What I had not recognized was that the job market for American civilization Ph.D.s was getting very soft, and the best and brightest in the program were opting for lives as itinerant scholars. This was not for me. I left Brown with a master's, having used a National Endowment for the Humanities research grant to collect the data for the M.A. thesis. During the research and writing period I taught at Moses Brown School in Providence, the first woman ever to teach in this Quaker school's upper school. I taught history and American studies electives, based very much on my Skidmore experience. In 1975 I returned to Manhattan and began work in the Development Office of Pace University. I was hired not because of my fundraising experience—none—but because I could write and do research. A new career was born. Since 1975 I have been a fundraising professional in the university community, subsequently at New York University and the New School for Social Research, serving at the highest levels of administration. Today, I am the director of the fundraising division of Hadassah, the largest Jewish women's organization in the world with 300,000 members, the largest medical research center in the Middle East, Israel's leading college of technology, and a network of residential communities in Israel for youth at risk. In the U.S., the organization is a progressive voice for women's issues, especially in health, domestic violence, and genetic discrimination, as well as being a force in Jewish education. While working I obtained a Ph.D. from New York University in higher education leadership, administration, and technology. I reverted to my roots and wrote an American studies thesis, Disciples of Mercury: A Study of the Business Education Program of the Young Men's Christian Association, 1851–1916.

Diana Williams Green            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I left Skidmore with hopes of entering the field of historical research but while debating graduate school, I decided to temporarily detour into the field of medical records administration. I picked up the missing science courses at Randolph Macon College in Lynchburg, Va., in 1971–72 and received an R.R.A. from USPHS Medical Record Administration Program in Baltimore, Md., with affiliation at Johns Hopkins. I began working as director of the Medical Records Department at a local hospital, as well as consulting at two others, in 1973 and remained until 1986. I remained home with my youngest child until 1993, when I began working in my husband's office—financial planner with AXA Advisors—and here I remain. Obviously, I never actually used my American studies degree but have fared well in other fields as the result of the great Skidmore preparation! 

Alison Chalmers Rodin                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

Since earning my American studies degree I worked in the public sector for 10 years, first for a town's new rent control board, then for the City of Boston Law Department. While there I got a master's in public administration, followed by an M.B.A. Of course I was well prepared through my American studies background. Since 1989 I have been in the private sector, working as a paralegal in a law firm, which now specializes in representing social security disability applicants. It is a very rewarding field, where the client contact is extensive and usually satisfying. More than as preparation for any particular field of work, however, I feel that my American studies background has provided a good basis for being a participant in our local, national, and global society. It has also enhanced my enjoyment of some of the wonderful historical literature published in the last thirty years.

Ruth Ellen Shankman Stern               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I always planned to be a teacher, so I'm not sure why I majored in American studies, other than I always liked history. Or it might have been because Stuart Blumen's parents were friends of my aunt in Florida. I left Skidmore after my sophomore years and transferred to the University of Texas at Austin. It was a more congenial climate for a southern girl. I don't think Texas had an American studies department, so I majored in secondary education with a concentration in history. After a semester of student-teaching eleventh grade, I was certain teaching high school was not for me. I graduated as scheduled in 1971, but proceeded to add an early childhood certification immediately. Then I taught kindergarten in the public schools in Memphis, Tenn., (my home town) and Little Rock, Ark., after I married. After two children, a move to Atlanta and a decade or two as a homemaker, I am working in the health insurance field as an insurance agent for Humana in Charlotte, N.C. It would seem that I have not really put my American studies major to any use, or at least any use that pays. But becoming literate about the country in which we live is always a good thing. I have been active in the National Council of Jewish Women and have been to Washington to lobby on issues of gun control, choice, etc. The experience brought back memories of Erwin Levine's class during 4-1-4 in January of '68, taking a parlor and discussing the political process. I have also been active in the American Diabetes Association and lobbied for fetal tissue research. Every day affords the opportunity to relate to some topic or another that was introduced to me in the Skidmore American Studies department ... politics, literature , art, culture ... and that I have continued to pursue. 

Ellen Tanner               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

My American studies major included an American literature concentration. The literature courses fostered my continuing love of reading. I can safely say that I always have at least one book going! After Skidmore, I went on to get a M.S. in recreation therapy and was the director of a senior citizens center for two years, then worked with the developmentally disabled. I was given administrative responsibilities at my new job, as I had at at my senior center position, so I went to school part-time to earn an M.S. in public administration at Russell Sage College. I worked with the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities for several years, then made a move to the state Department of Health, where I now work as assistant director of the Managed Care Section of the AIDS Institute. We're currently developing managed-care programs for people with HIV and AIDS. In 1998 I earned an R.N. degree from a local college. I am active as a volunteer for two animal rescue groups, usher at SPAC, assist on a local level in some political campaigns, and have at times been a volunteer for Skidmore. American studies gave me a broad perspective on life, fostered a wide array of interests, and provided my first taste of the joy of being a "generalist." It also made me more aware of what's happening around me and the cultural history of our world that's being made daily.

Barbara Tsairis           

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I was an American studies major with a concentration in American literature. I went on to get an M.A.T. in English (secondary level) and then an M.A. in literature from the University of New Hampshire. My life has taken many turns professionally: I taught for a few years, then did some freelance writing, then worked in the New Hampshire Legislature as a lobbyist for the New Hampshire Women's Lobby for five years, then took a job as executive director for a statewide writers' organization (The NH Writers' Project) for five years, and then started a study-abroad program for college students who want to study in Greece, called Odyssey in Athens, for which I have been the U.S. director for the last five years (time for another move?). Throughout the years, I've taken an abiding interest in politics and grassroots political work (I've been on several statewide boards, including NARAL-NH, NH Peace Action, Women for NH's Future) and have been active in many national, statewide, and local campaigns. In 1990, I managed a successful campaign for state Senate, and have done fundraising work for our current governor, Jeanne Shaheen, in each of her three successful runs. During the Reagan years, I coordinated a chapter of WAND (Women's Action for Nuclear Disarmament) in the Portsmouth area. My years as an American studies major at Skidmore gave me a broad and interdisciplinary perspective on life, encouraged wide-ranging interests, and taught me to think critically about the world. I sometimes wish, however, that I could have been (could be) more narrowly focused and single-minded! Perhaps in my next life! 

Wendy Berman Bloom                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I live in Millwood, N.Y., which is the western side of Chappaqua (go Hillary) in Northern Westchester County. I received a master of library service, degree from Rutgers University in 1971 and have worked in public libraries for my entire professional career. I am the director of the Mount Kisco Public Library, a position I have held since 1992. American studies allowed me to weave many aspects of a Skidmore liberal arts education together. My area concentration was in American history, but I also took as many American literature, art history, and architecture courses as I could schedule. I have to make connections between disciplines when answering reference questions. This type of thinking was nurtured by the American Studies Department. Defending my thesis senior year taught me everything I needed to know about diplomacy. These are invaluable skills for working with the library board and negotiating for the annual budget with the municipal trustees :)! I'm always happy to speak with anyone in greater detail about my profession.

Elizabeth Miller Grasty                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I graduated in 1970 (Dr. David Marcell was head of the American Studies Department back then)—a year of great political involvement, the Strike Skidmore and invasion of Cambodia etc. Geography? I was born and raised in western Massachusetts and married an Army officer in 1971 (to 1979) and moved frequently (Arizona, Missouri, Maryland, Virginia, and finally in Texas for 12 years). I remarried in 1985 and have lived in northern Virginia now for eight years (after five years in New Jersey). I started in credit unions in 1972 on a military base; worked my way up the "ladder" with five credit unions and have been president of New Horizon CU for eight years. What do I do? Management of people and finances, set policies, work with staff, board, auditors, and examiners. Loans, collections—do it all in a small credit union ($24 million in assets with two offices). I was very involved with political action with HR 1151 in 1998 in the Campaign for Consumer Choice to change the Federal Credit Union Act in a response to lawsuits by the banking community. (We won by a landslide!) My American studies background has helped me be resourceful and flexible in the credit union movement, the "People Helping People" philosophy is reinforced by Skidmore (and my family's) code of ethics. No advanced degree but lots of continuing education in the credit union environment of Loans, Compliance, Investment and ALM, Human Resources. Being a scholarship student at Skidmore, I was required (and wanted!) to work a campus job - from working in the library to senior year being a research assistant to an American studies professor who was working on his Ph.D. I spent hours on microfilm in the library researching Nixon in the New York Times. Students were not covered by the minimum-wage laws, so freshmen were paid $0.25/hour and working up to $1/hour as seniors! I also ran the Furniture Exchange for three years. New York had Sunday blue laws then, so the stores were closed. I received an interest-free grant from the Skidmore business office of +/- $2,000, then put up posters announcing that my partner and I would be going through each dorm buying selected items (bookcases, rugs, bedspreads, desk sets, lamps, etc.) and paying on the spot. This was particularly successful just before spring break! We returned with a truck and Groundsmen during exam time and collected our purchases, storing them in an old building during the summer. We returned in September a few days early to prepare for our Sunday sale to incoming freshmen when we were the "only game in town" for these necessary items. American studies taught the value of capitalism and self-sufficiency.

Eileen Kaufman                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I have a J.D. degree and an LL.M. degree from NYU School of Law. For nine years I worked for a legal services program and for the past sixteen years I have been teaching law (for the last four years I was also the vice dean). There is an obvious link between American studies and law. In fact, when I asked my American studies professors for their advice as to a career that would permit me to address issues of social justice, one professor's advice was go to law school and David Marcell's (the head of the department) advice was to teach. I have done both and they were both right!

Nancy Lawson            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                               

I am a partner at the law firm of Dinsmore & Shohl in Cincinnati, Ohio. American studies must be in my blood, because my husband Steve Simon was a history major at Duke and all three of our sons are history buffs. We are really following the election news! 

Stacey Lesser             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

I feel that my experience at Skidmore, particularly my major in American studies, was key to getting me to where I am today. I am now the director of brand planning at Kirshenbaum, Bond & Partners, a mid-sized advertising agency in NYC. Brand planning is the advertising discipline that focuses on understanding consumers, what's going on in their lives, how they relate to products and brands, and using that information to set strategic directions for our clients. My background in American studies provided me with a grounding in this discipline and indirectly inspired my interest in the area. 

Lynn Doe Shipway                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                

I live in Arlington, Va., received my M.L.S. in '72 and M.P.A. in '78. I have retired after about 30 years in higher education as a librarian and administrator at Skidmore and an administrator at George Washington University. I'm now awaiting word as to whether Dugan and I will be moving to Australia. I did and do use my American studies background nearly every day ... especially in these days of "election chaos." It has always been a wonderful "starting point" and background for conversations, research projects, graduate programs and even just reading the newspaper!

Donna Kunan Campbell                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                  

Very little has gone as I had originally thought it would. After graduation I went on to get education/training in computer science and actually used both my American studies background and my computer background in my first job as a computer programmer, then eventually senior systems analyst, for the City of Boston—everything from an infamous parking ticket system to citywide payroll to voter lists. For the past 30+ years, I have worked in IT and general management in the corporate world, done nursing, been a special-needs teacher, worked for the Red Cross, and done disaster relief work for FEMA. Several years ago my husband convinced me to join him in running our very successful executive recruitment business. We are "headhunters" for finance professionals nationwide, with particular emphasis on filling treasury and cash management positions in both the corporate and financial spheres. My one regret has been that I never got my MBA. It would have helped immeasurably in helping me get a quicker grasp of domestic and international finance. At the time I was at Skidmore, business courses were not in much demand by women. One of my friends graduated as a business major (Joanne Jackson) and went on to quickly eclipse us as she went up the corporate ladder. We had thought she was crazy for studying business. Wish we had been so crazy! All in all, it's been a good and fulfilling life. The interesting part is that I'm enjoying my career now more than I ever did before—it's more interesting, more demanding, and more intellectually stimulating. I just wish this had happened a few years earlier! My husband and I blame our late arrival to success as being the result of being "late bloomers". Whatever it is, I doubt I will ever retire. Right now I'm traveling between two offices and homes in two states. I want to add one or two more. I picture myself in my 60s with a small corporation (private) that I'm co-running. How much American studies helped, I don't know. I'm sure it did help. In running the business I've had to call on every bit of education and experience that ever came my way.

Maxine Isaacs            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

The American Studies program was the best thing about Skidmore in those years. After graduation I moved to Washington, D.C., where I went to work for Congressman Louis Stokes, then chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, eventually becoming his speechwriter and a legislative aide. I stayed with Rep. Stokes until 1973, when I became deputy press secretary to Sen. Walter Mondale. I left Mondale's staff in 1975 and worked for a year as a freelance reporter, but when Carter chose him as his VP nominee, I joined the campaign. When Carter and Mondale were elected in 1976, I was Mondale's deputy press secretary in the White House until 1981. I then spent two years working in financial public relations in New York. In 1983 I became the first woman press secretary to a major presidential candidate. After Mondale was defeated in 1984, I got married, had a son, and went back to school. I received my master's in international public policy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1988. During that time, I was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard, where I fell in love with teaching. I decided to get a Ph.D. so I could teach in a serious way. I received my Ph.D. from the Maryland School of Public Affairs in 1994. My research was on the relationship between elite and mass opinion on American Foreign Policy. Since 1994 I have been an adjunct lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where I am currently teaching a course on "The 2000 Presidential Campaign and Election." Through all these years, my approach has been America-centered and multidisciplinary, very much on the American studies model.

Ann Kiley Morgan                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I live in Nyack, N.Y., but I work in Manhattan on the Upper West Side, where I am director of graduate admissions. After graduating from Skidmore I did a year of graduate work at Brown University in American civilization, but I was terribly disappointed in the program (my education at Skidmore had been so much better!), and disillusioned by the politics of academia. I left Brown after a year and began teaching high school English, first in Massachusetts, then in New York. I taught both American and English lit classes—Skidmore had prepared me well. Because of my major I was always looking for ways to put the literature in a broader cultural context.When my children were both in school, I went back to graduate school and earned my master's degree in computers in education from Bank Street College. I developed software for children with autism and other severe language impairments for a few years, taught writing at Bank Street and also taught in the Computers in Education Department.In 1993 I was asked to become the director of graduate admissions, a job for which I am well-suited. I feel I have found my niche.I feel that a background in American studies helps one to see how deeply interrelated the various disciplines are, how each discipline is but a window onto the broader picture. Through American studies I learned to look for connections and reverberations. I learned to synthesize material across disciplines and to think more deeply about the implications of events and social movements. It trained me in habits of mind that have served me very well to think with more depth and breadth and to seek an understanding that takes many perspectives into consideration. I have found that the kind of education I received through American studies is invaluable in any complex field in which one needs to look at issues from many sides. 

Suzanne Hubbard Okie                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

I have been a residential realtor for twenty-four years and put my American architecture interest to use describing homes to customers, writing ads, etc. As a mother of four, I have used my American history and culture knowledge continually, i.e., introducing my family to Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin music, American art, as well as helping them with homework!

Joan Taylor Vanderbeck                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                              

American studies is truly a generalist's major. It offers a broad discipline and ultimately a great base for decision-making and problem-solving.

Judith Allen Wilson                

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                 

I wrote my thesis on the failure of charter reform in Saratoga Springs. (The race track controlled the politics of the town at that time, and reform was not something they were interested in seeing!) I became very interested in local government so I went on to attend the Maxwell School of Public Administration at Syracuse University, where I earned a master's degree in public administration. I currently live in Pasadena, Calif., and I am now director of sanitation for the City of Los Angeles. We provide service to over four million people in a 533-square-mile area. I have had a varied and interesting career. I have worked for the New York Port Authority, the U.S. Virgins Islands, and managed the capital program for the Northern Virginia Transporation Commission when the Washington, D.C., Metro subway system was under construction. I moved to California in 1980 to be the assistant city manager of Pasadena, which is a position I held for ten years. In 1990 I became head of planning for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority and went back into the transit business. In 1995 I joined the Orange County Sanitation Districts as the chief administrative officer, and in 1997 I became head of sanitation for the City of Los Angeles. I still retain a strong interest in American history, and I am currently serving as president of the board of trustees for the Pasadena Historical Museum.

Janice Brophy Billingsley                   

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                  

I live in New York City. I've spent my career as a journalist and magazine writer and am now a medical writer for a medical website and wire service called HealthScout.com Although my background in American studies doesn't seem directly related to my work, I certainly appreciate the background it gave me in American history and literature. I am still very interested in same, as well as in politics.

Barbara Botein                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                  

After several brief careers, I returned to graduate study. I received my M.A. in American civilization in 1971 and my Ph.D. in American Civilization in 1975 (both from New York University). I taught American history and American culture at Stevens Institute of Technology from 1975 to 1980. Given the terrible job market for Ph.D.s in the '70s, I went on to law school in 1980 and earned my J.D. degree from NYU in 1983. I clerked for Constance Baker Motley, the chief judge of the Southern District for the U.S. District Court in New York in 1983–84. After this clerkship, I practiced law at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York until 1988. At that time, I began working as in-house counsel for TIAA-CREF, which, among other things, has a vast portfolio of real estate around the country. I returned to private practice in 1996 as counsel for an Atlanta-based firm, Kritzer & Levick. You've asked (on more than one occasion), what impact my American studies background has had on my life. Most obviously, it created a long and strong desire to learn and teach. As you can see from the above, I have spent many years of my life in an academic setting. The eclectic nature of the American Studies major always suited me; I have always wanted to know the why's, how's and who's of almost everything I encounter. When I travel, both in the United States and elsewhere, I've always been fascinated by the many facets of any culture I see. The multidisciplinary training also helped immeasurably in answering my children's questions. At least as to any questions on American life, I was always one step ahead. More importantly, the training helped me to analyze why different cultures develop such unique approaches. Ironically, my liberal arts training has been more often praised and recognized in the practice of law than in other settings. For whatever reason, more people I encounter have noted more interesting nature of a multidisciplinary major and the ability to write clearly and articulately that was demanded in my years at Skidmore and NYU. As students become more strongly focused on a single discipline or a "trade" to be used immediately after graduation, I believe that they miss the opportunity to be exposed to so many intellectual and cultural ideas that were basic to the college experience I had at Skidmore in the 60's.

Suzanne Chait-Magen            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                  

I graduated from Skidmore in 1968 and sought my fortune in NYC, where I remain today: Manhattan. Eventually I became a social worker, with a master's from Adelphi University. Later I obtained a license in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and began a part-time private practice. I continue to be an administrator with the health department, functioning now as a director of staff development and training. I also edit a newsletter and create educational posters at my workplace (after all, I concentrated in American literature in American studies). My favorite thing has always been foreign travel, to places like Bali, Tahiti, China, Japan. That is not so distant from interest in American studies. One must know one's own culture well in order to compare it to others. I recently married a man who is involved in the gift industry; he prefers American travel but we compromise: one year Aruba and Florida, the next a Mediterranean cruise to Greece, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt. How has my major affected my life? Easy answer: It gave me a well-rounded education. I understand politics (as much as one can today) and continue to be curious about all cultures and facets of life. I probably always was. But I am sure I gained more depth at college and am proud of my educational beginnings. Writing a senior case thesis was no picnic, but I was quite proud of it and still have it in a drawer. I have subsequently learned to write in more comprehensible English to readers not with those complex sentences I was so bogged down in. I had to present an in-depth case study to graduate from my analytical institute and writing my American studies thesis ("Tradition in American Society") provided preparation.

Mary Anne "Mimi" Barker                 

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                  

I think there were only nine of us in the program, and we might have been the first to graduate with a degree in American studies. It was a wonderful course of study, forcing you to learn and think about many different things—government, literature, art, history—and then synthesize your thoughts into a coherent world view. My degree has enabled me to work in government (as press secretary to U.S. Rep. Pat Schroeder); the nonprofit sector, (media for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America); and in business, (director of marketing and public relations for professional service firms—Deloitte & Touche (accounting), Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy (law), and Broadview Associates (investment banking)). I'm currently director of communications for fund services at Standard & Poor's, the rating agency. 

Sandra White Lorden             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                  

After graduation I pursued another love—retailing—and was a buyer for Filene's for three years. I am married with three awesome boys. Now John and I are mostly retired and have moved to sunny, wonderful Punta Gorda, Fla! After twenty-six years in New Hampshire, we are loving it! Wherever we travel, my knowledge (mostly forgotten) does help me to enjoy the architecture, especially, but also all aspects of a different environment. I also am the Great Gatsby expert and have helped two sons in college do research and have given them "my wisdom" on the book. Thank you, Dr. McGill! I do still continue to do all the accounting and billing work for my husband's company, The Jeremiah Group, a consulting firm. I owe my readth of knowledge, love of American history and architecture, and skills at Trivial Pursuit to my American studies degree. My broad education has allowed me to enjoy and respect many avenues of knowledge.

Beverly Harrison Miller                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                  

I'm a freelance book editor, living in Concord, Mass. Since graduation I've always been involved in writing, first (and briefly—that was in the days when we moved a lot) as a newspaper reporter for a local (and excellent) newspaper in New Jersey, but as an editor since 1969, initially working primarily on books in the field of American studies for Greenwood Press. Since then I've broadened the books I work on to encompass just about everything except hard science. I worked in a publishing house for seven years, but have been freelancing full time since. American studies teaches how to be analytical and how to write. It also fosters an outlook that encompasses a broad array of disciplines; and life, after all, is interdisciplinary. More than that, it gave me something I was passionate about studying. That, after all, is the point of a liberal arts education. The rest will just come. Currently I am president of the Skidmore Alumni Association and a member of the Skidmore College Board of Trustees.

Nancy Cooper Diamond                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

Current residence: Haverford, Pa. Education: M.L.S., Indiana University, 1976; Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1999. Current residence: Haverford, Pa. My bachelor's degree in American studies has continued to have an impact on my professional career and academic interests, which center on American higher education. Following graduation from Skidmore, I held a number of adminstrative positions at a variety of colleges and universities, including Johns Hopkins, Goucher College, and the University of Maryland. Last year, as noted above, I received my Ph.D. in policy sciences with concentrations in 20th century American history and education policy. I am currently a post-doctoral visiting scholar at Penn State University, where I am continuing my study of the rise of American research universities. My B.A. in American studies has continued to influence both my professional and academic life. Without a doubt, my professors at Skidmore, particularly David Marcell, Erwin Levine, and Alan Kifer, nurtured and guided a lifelong interest in American issues.

Kathie Aberman                     

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

I received my MS in education in 1977 from Morgan State University. I teach at Liberty High School in Liberty, N.Y. I run the remedial reading/writing program for kids in grades 8–11. I think majoring in American studies was a good decision for me. It helped me to become and continue to be a broader thinker, one open to all the possibilities inherent in a situation. I enjoy teaching enormously, and I see myself, every day, disseminating the American studies point of view that everything is connected. One of the best rewards of teaching, as far as I'm concerned, is that I get to help kids look at the world with a more critical (analytical) eye, and see some of the connections.

Judy Farmer Fulton                

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

After graduating I worked one year as the assistant to the librarian at Franklin and Marshall college in Lancaster, Pa. (where I still reside). I did all his correspondence, ordered books, etc. My "paid" employment ended with the birth of my first child in December 1966. I have been a stay-at-home mother and grandmother ever since (three married children, 4 3/4 grandchildren!) My American studies degree opened up many new worlds: I was a Republican committeewoman; and president of many local nonprofit groups, including the Lancaster Museum of Art and the Lancaster Country Day School. It was a wonderful major for me who was interested in American government and history plus American art and architecture. With the requirements of a thesis and comps, we learned to do research, think critically, and write concisely (and sometimes creatively). For a generalist, it was a fascinating and exciting major!

Eugenie Hintzpeter Redman              

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

I was born in Chicago; worked in New York City after graduation; married in Cincinnati, Ohio; moved overseas for five years, where I had two children; and returned to live in Cincinnati in 1973. I now live in northern Kentucky and work for A.G. Edwards & Sons, in Cincinnati. I returned to school in 1993, Cincinnati State Technical & Community College, to pursue an associate's degree in marketing management, business management, and financial management while taking as many computer, presentation, and technical writing courses as possible. I assist two stockbrokers fulfilling administrative, research, and customer service functions. I love working with people and markets, which are constantly changing and challenging. My American studies degree is particularly valuable because it allows me to approach decisions and questions with a long-term, balanced approach based on history, economics, sociology, etc., rather than on a short-term, volatile basis. David Marcell taught me to think and to analyze information and people's actions, not to just react to short-term stimuli. I am more interested in trends and sectors than I would have been had I not studied American studies with Mr. Marcell. This approach has been very successful for me and my family. I personally direct the investments for several family trusts since my father's death in 1977. Currently, I am teaching the trust beneficiaries about investing and financial planning. I love my job and am never bored.

Kate Crangle Semerad           

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                    

I live in Virginia. I have taken additional courses in American studies, without completing my masters, at Syracuse University. Following Skidmore I lived for a couple more years in New York State. Then my husband and I moved to the Washington, D.C., area where we pursued our careers over the next thirty years. At first I worked part-time and volunteered in political campaigns (we had a daughter). My political interests continued to build as I was employed in several campaigns at the state level and then went to work for the Republican National Committee, where I ran two nationwide programs designed to engage more people in the American political process. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected, I first went to the White House where I helped with personnel selections for the new administration. Then, I was selected to run an outreach program at the Agency for International Development. This ultimately developed into being appointed by President Reagan as the assistant administrator for external affairs at AID. Here I ran the public-affairs program for the entire U.S. foreign assistance program, traveled, testified before Congress, and participated in the policy councils of the agency. For several years following my government service I had my own consulting firm. I am currently working on a novel. For thirteen years I have also contributed substantial volunteer time as a trustee of a U.S. university located in Honduras that educates students from all over Latin America. While it might not at first glance appear that my studies at Skidmore had any relevance to my career, I would suggest otherwise. First and foremost, the design of the American studies major, when I was there, strongly encouraged independent thinking and what I call "whole" view thinking. For instance, in seeing an author or artist or politician in the context of their time, in relation to each other, rather than in isolation, you were urged to see the importance of the interrelatedness of ideas and (wo)men. This began the development of a critical thinking and reasoning skill which I believe has served me well not just in my career, but in my life. Also, because of the small class size and the terrific faculty, we were pushed to think, not just learn.

Julie Upham               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

I'm located in the lakes region of New Hampshire, 30 minutes north of Concord, the state's capital. Following graduation from Skidmore, I took a summer program in publishing procedures at Radcliffe College. I am currently news editor for the Citizen, a daily newspaper based in Laconia and serving some two dozen communities in central New Hampshire. I assign stories, edit copy, work with young reporters, lay out pages (and compose some of them on the computer), write headlines, etc. Courses in history, government, and economics, taken in conjunction with my major, provided invaluable background for covering local news. History also comes into play in my volunteer work as a trustee of the Belhuap Mill Society, which preserves an 1823 textile/hosiery mill as an arts and history center, and as secretary of the Laconia Historical Society.

Linda Fuller            

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

One of the first American studies majors! I'm an associate professor in the Communications Department of Worcester State College. I earned my B.A. in American studies from Skidmore, an M.A. in human technology from American International College, and a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Massachusetts. I am responsible for more than 200 professional publications and conference reports, and am the author/(co-)editor of more than eighteen books, including the five-volume series Beyond the Stars: Studies in American Popular Film (Popular Press 1990+); Communicating Comfortably: Your Guide to Overcoming Speaking and Writing Anxieties (HRD Press, 1990); The Cosby Show: Audiences, Impact, Implications (Greenwood Press, 1992); Community Television in the United States: A Sourcebook on Public, Educational, and Governmental Access (Greenwood, 1994); Communicating About Communicable Diseases (HRD, 1995); Media-Mediated Relationships (Haworth, 1996); Media-Mediated Aids (HRD, 1996); Women and Aids: Negotiating Safer Practices, Care, and Representation (Haworth, 1997); and Dictionary of Quotations in Communications (Greenwood, 1997). My next books are on the subjects of ethnic images in film and telecommunications in terms of multiculturalism. A resident of Wilbraham, Mass., I won a Fulbright to teach and do research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for 1996. And I've just been awarded a Fulbright to Senegal to work with the West African Women's Association. 

Sandra Scott Klink                  

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

I was in one of the first classes to have this major and there were only six of us. We studied with Donald Baker, an inspiring and brilliant professor—and he was tough! We each pursued our own course of interest, and mine included a lot of art and literature with a splash of history thrown in. In many ways it "set" my interests for the upcoming years. I wound up working at New York magazine in its early years, after it split from the old Herald Tribune and went out on its own and had the privilege of working with people like Tom Wolfe, Gloria Steinem, Gail Sheehy ... all people who were on the pulse of the "American spirit" at the time. I wound up going on from there to King Features (newspaper syndicate) editing lifestyle columns like Hints from Heloise, Dr. Ruth, Tom and Ray Magliozzi (the humorous car experts from NPR), Calvin Trillin, and many others. Right now I am working solely for Heloise and have arranged it so I can work from home. It is most convenient! I think what this major did for me was make me profoundly aware of what is going on around me: how people think, what trends are taking shape. It also has made me into a voracious reader—three books a week in a good week. I seem to have passed my interests on, because both of my two daughters are also in the communications industry, one in magazines, one in music.

Nancy Bigelow Sinclair                       

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

In the '60s I took graduate education courses at Boston University and received my M.Ed. in counseling/consultation from Keene State College in 1992 and I am currently taking graduate education courses at UVM. How does what I do in my work and how does an American studies degree come into play in my work and life? My Dad kiddingly told me that my degree plus a quarter would get me on the subway. He believed in a liberal arts education so it was said "tongue in cheek." My first four years after graduation, I taught fourth and fifth grade. My American studies major was a helpful knowledge base to draw and teach from, particularly in the social sciences and history—literature, too. Today I am a K–6 school counselor in Cavendish, Vt. Developmentally, I work with a wide range of children. The predominant population in this small rural town is "working poor." To practice successfully, one needs to be resourceful, flexible, creative, caring ... all on a very limited budget. I'm not sure how much I use the context knowledge from my American studies, but I think the horizontal approach to courses helps me to keep a perspective on the "big picture." In my "other life," I've been a very active community person ... things like coordinating the first Vermont community-built school playground, heading up downtown an economic revitalization plan, establishing an environmental learning program in local (Springfield) schools, coordinator of a school mentor program, raising a handicapped child, plus soon to celebrate two other children's graduation from law school in June (Harvard and Penn State). Do I attribute all to my American studies degree? Ho! Ho! Hardly. I fine tuned it along the way.

Penny Dammann Johnston               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                    

I graduated in 1963 with Don Baker as chair of the department. My earlier life was certainly related to being an American studies major as after graduation, I did go to Washington, D.C., and worked for the government for a few years plus. My first job was working at the Committee for Interior and insular affairs (under Scoop Jackson), which I did from September 1963 until November 1965. At that point I had a crazy job working for the assistant secretary of the Army for installations and logistics, who subsequently became regional director of the Office of Opportunity for the western region with headquarters in San Francisco. He asked me to go west with him, so I did that until 1967, when I got married and went back to graduate school at San Francisco State University to get a California elementary teaching credential. From then on I did teach on and off for a number of years (totally unrelated to being an American studies major) both paid and volunteer. Since then (having raised two daughters), I haven't really been "in the field." I worked as a hospice volunteer, sang in a local singing group for 22-plus years, and am now running our family foundation—perhaps slightly related. I'm married now (for 17-plus years) to Alistair Johnston. Was married previously for 14 1/2 years to the day to William Swartchild, and my maiden name was Dammann.

Kathryn Zucker Epstein                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                    

As I remember, my choice to become an American studies major was quite simply that I felt it would provide me with the optimum liberal arts education, and that is certainly what ensued! Mr. Baker was the department head at that time, and no question he was a "tough" professor. We were the only students at that time that had to write a senior thesis ... and what an effort that was! The title of my thesis was, "The Left-wing Playwrights of the 1930s and How Their Plays Reflected American Society at That Time." Whether or not my choice of American studies as a major had any direct bearing on my career as a travel consultant is hard to say, but I certainly enjoyed the diversity of the curriculum at that time.

Gail Garner Jacobus               

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                    

Before attending Skidmore, I mapped out the American Studies Program, the requirements of the college, and the New York State requirements for teaching in secondary education. I practice-taught in Saratoga Springs my senior year. At the same time, I wrote a thesis for Dr. Donald Baker, who was head of the program. It was grueling but well worth it. I have taught for twenty-three years at Kent Place, corrected AP exams, and have sent many students to Skidmore. 

Barbara McGrew Jenkel                    

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                    

Currently I live in Chappaqua, N.Y., on the other side of the tracks from the Clintons. I got an associate degree in computer science and for ten years ran the computers for the student administration at our local high school. I currently am a full-time, four days a week, 9–3 volunteer with East Coast Assistance Dogs. This program takes at-risk teenagers and teaches them to train service dogs for people with disabilities. My American studies education made me aware of America—its different cultures and struggles. Some of these struggles still exist. They are not just economic, or religious or ethnic but a combination of all the above. We are still looking for the solution—and the history of our country is all a part of the solution—still. 

Linda Kenerson                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                    

 

I have never held a job but have voluntered my entire adult life. I have spent 17 yrs at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, mostly working with children. My first art history classes were at Skidmore! What did my major do for me? I have always enjoyed learning, so that has impacted my life.

Charlotte "Gigi" Smiley Read             

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                    

I retired from the federal government, thirty-two years as a human resource specialist. Twenty-four years in a psychiatric hospital setting, and the last eight years coordinating college recruitment for the Foreign Service at the Department of State. We were targeting women and minorities to make a more diverse Foreign Service for America. In that role I realized that American Studies was an excellent background for potential Foreign Service officers. The Foreign Service exam, which is very competitive, covers American studies as well as political science, international relations, economics, etc. In summary, I have never regretted choosing American studies as a major. It was an excellent background working for the U.S. government, as well as in my role of wife, mother, volunteer, and U.S. citizen. I'd love to come back and take classes today. 

Sharon Brant Wharton                      

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

I live in Baltimore, Md. I have done graduate work in education and general studies. Right now I am teaching a course in spirituality at the Renaissance Institute, College of Notre Dame. It is a program for people over 50. I have worked as a journalist, teacher, and actress over the years. I would say that the greatest benefit of my American studies degree has been that the multidisciplinary nature of the program has enabled me to delve into so many areas of learning along the way.

N/A

Audrey Malkary Uchill           

CURRENT PURSUITS:                                   

Babson College, 1979, M.B.A.; Columbia University, Vassar College, University of Minnesota and UMass Gerontology Institute Certificate Program. I work at the New England Pension Assistance Project, a federally funded program of the Gerontology Institute of UMass Boston. I investigate and resolve problems people experience accessing their private, union, federal and/or state pensions and help them to navigate and understand the complex and seemingly arcane world of pensions. These problems include among others the possibility that the company is no longer in existence, has merged or has changed its identity; pensions may not be calculated correctly; plan sponsors are unresponsive; and widows and divorcees may have been adversely affected by rules and regulations governing pensions. I was one of the first three students in the new American studies curriculum at Skidmore. It was exciting to trail-blaze a new direction. We had the unique opportunity to focus on cross-discipline issues in American literature, history, constitutional law, economics, political science, and sociology. For many years, at least for me, this was all incubating. Today I am involved in one of the more complex social, political and economic issues facing older Americans, particularly women, as they approach retirement. Our federally funded project, one of ten around the country, was established and funded in the '90s as a demonstration project under the auspices of the Administration on Aging. This concept represents a pioneering effort to assist pension recipients who experience a range of difficulties accessing their pensions. What makes this significant is the fact that there are literally billions of unclaimed pension dollars out there. The size of the pension frequently precludes the option of a lawyer. Be that as it may, the pension is often what stands between a relatively secure retirement and poverty. We have the most successful track record of all the projects in recovering pension monies for our clients. As of this year, we are now a permanent project. So I am involved in another pioneering effort as I did back in the '50s to have the opportunity to impact one of the major and multifaceted issues facing older Americans, which is the expectation and hope of realizing a secure retirement.