Jackie Abodeely, 97 (updated 11/03)
I received my Masters in Archaeological Heritage Management from Boston University in May 2000. From Sept. 99 to Aug. 2000 I was hired by 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.
While a senior at Skidmore in 2007 and 2008, I knew where my career was taking me after graduation. I had accepted a position within Morgan Stanley (MS) and its Operations organization (I went with my other major Economics). While the Finance sector and American Studies seem quite distant from each other they are many connections between the two. For starters, the Finance sector is always in current events and it allows us to make connections between now and what occurred in the past. Additionally, MS has a strong focus on diversity and how it can expand its role in recruiting college undergrads from different backgrounds ands ideologies. I recently joined the committee on diversity at MS to help in its recruitment process. I joined the committee as a result of the lessons learned from the diversity curriculum presented by the AM department especially Prof Woodfork. I am still at MS today and working in project management role analyzing different financial products. I am also looking to enroll into business school sometime in the near future (need a bit of break from school after all the long papers AM professors put us through).
I am living in Cincinnati, Ohio and work with Merrill Lynch as a Financial Consultant. 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.
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 one year old daughter.
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 non profit 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.
I am currently living in Delmar, New York, which is a suburb of Albany. After graduating from Skidmore with a double major in Government and American Studies, I moved to Washington DC 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 masters 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 highschool 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 can not try to make this world a better place without knowing its intricate history, and the effect it had on our society.
Currently, I live in Baltimore, MD. I received my Masters 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 8th 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.
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, MA. 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 everyday, 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.
I reside in Queensbury, NY. My final project was done through the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls - an exhibit and talk on the Victorian Era customs and architecture in Glens Falls and surrounding area. The museum work led to an invitation to join the board of Trustees. During my terms on the board I served as President of the Historical Association and also Chairman of the Board during a time of museum expansion and fund raising. My connection with the museum was most enjoyable and afforded me further opportunity for personal growth and learning. I have shifted my focus to Hospice work now, but my experience at Skidmore's UWW is always with me and my interest in American Studies is ongoing.
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.
Presently I am Chief of Staff at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), a public corporation within the U.S. Department of Transportation. We operate locks in Massena, New York that enable vessels to transit through the St. Lawrence River into the Great Lakes. I work directly for the Administrator who is based in DC and focus alot 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 NYS Assembly. In 1982 he obtained a Presidential appointment in the Reagan Administration as Administrator of the Seaway and asked me to go to Washington DC 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. Along the way my husband, Ralph (who I married in 1985), and I had two children (now 7 and 5) and found that the demands of my job at Commerce were taking a toll on me and my family. 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!
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 of 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.
I live in Millwood, NY, which is the western side of Chappaqua (go Hillary) in Northern Westchester County. I received a Master of Library Service, MLS, 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.
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.
I attended Montclair State University and am currently the ownder/founder/president of a small advertising and PR agency--LAB Associates in New Jersey. I started it six years, 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. If I don't know what something is and need to know more, I research it on the internet and by finding books. I've also pursued several subject areas that have interested me. For example, I've learned a bit about Islam by reading about women's experiences of it over the last century. I continue to be fascinated by the last Czar of Russia, even after having gone to the Soviet Union through J-term at Skidmore. I've also continued to pursue my interest in the Amish and Mennonites--a subject matter I almost wrote about for Senior Thesis. I recetnly had the privilege of going to a mud slae in Lancaster, which was very exciting to me. The mud sale is a benefit put on the local Amish community--in this case mostly Old Order which is the strictest sect--for fire and ambulance squads. It was a number of auctions going on simultaneously--handmade quilts and wall hangings, horses, buggies, farm equipment, crafts, produce, canned food, furniture, etc. And there were few of us "English" there. So what else have I don? I worked primarily in marketing related jobs in many areas--publishing non-profit, 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, Skiodre, Cancer Car), got married to a Skidmore alum, getting divorced from a Skidmore alum, lived in NJ, moved to CA, moved back to NJ, taught myself how to use a computer, learned a little programming, computer maintenance, graphics, programs, some HTML type stuff, how to curse at teh computer when all else fails, etc. And, I think the most important thing I have done is to try and change and improve the one thing that I can--myself. I grew up with an alcoholic parent who stopped drinking when I was eleven. But the damage to myself and my family continues to reverberate. So, I have attacked that, too, using my American Studies skills by researching and understanding intellectually the whys and wherefores and then working really hard to change and learn what I've needed to do. Mostly I'm pleased with my efforts but like any good study, it's still a work in progress.
After Skidmore I went to Villanova University School of Law and graduated in 1996. I clerked for a judge in Ocean County, New Jersey 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.
I'm living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I have an M.A. in American Studies from the Univ. of Maryland, College Park and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the Univ. of Maryland, College Park, 1990. I am an Associate Professor of History at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. 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 Pre-Convention Collaboratives/Local Arrangement Committee for the ASA Conference in Detroit, October 2000.
After several brief careers, I returned to graduate study. I received my M.A. in American Civilization in 197l and my Ph.D. in American Civilization in l975 (both from New York University). I taught American History and American Culture at Stevens Institute of Technology from l975-l980. Given the terrible job market for Ph.D.'s in the 70's, I went on to law school in l980 and earned my J.D. degree from NYU in l983. I clerked for Constance Baker Motley, the Chief Judge of the Southern District for the U.S. District Court in New York from l983-84. After this clerkship, I practiced law at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York until l988. 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 l996 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 multi-disciplinary 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 multi-discipline major and the ability to write clearly and articulately that was demanded in my years at Skidmore and NYU. As students become more strongly focussed 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.
I have lived in Boston since graduation. I am the Manager of Operations and Planning for a small, non-profit neighborhood development group - The Downtown Crossing Association. I work on events planning, 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 multi-disciplinarian 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.
I was happy to receive your note, and pleased to think there will be an American Studies web site. 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, New York. Indeed, 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, New York 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, 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. My favorite area where my American Studies bubbles to the surface is in all our travels with our children. We make a point of going to historic sites around the country, and I try to help our girls "make connections" about what is important about what we are looking at, and why. Of course at 10 and 14, they roll their eyes and say,"Oh, Mom!" but I continue to be richly rewarded when they bring their report cards home!
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 8 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 lead 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 love 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 3 years I have been working 2 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. I truly enjoy my work, make more money than I know what to do with, have decent travel that no longer overtakes my life, and work with great people who respect me and treat me fairly. I have finally taken a proactive step to have a vacation. I just returned from a tour to China for 10 days. China is extremely friendly and fascinating. Next week I start another contract with Martin & Yarborough, this time to San Fran, Dallas, Chicago, Wash DC, and Philly. Even though I am a CPA, my research and writing skills, fine-tuned at Skidmore, have more value than my ability to add numbers. The math side of being an accountant can be handled by computers if needed. However, the ability to research and write can't be accomplished by hitting an icon on the keyboard. In my job with Martin & Yarborough, I have just completed a contract for the Office of the Inspector General which required no math knowledge, only writing skills. Throughout the process I was constantly reminded of using the same methodology to write research papers at Skidmore-- Select a topic, research from published material and through interviews, prepare an outline, write and rewrite. The ability to write is one of the most valuable skills necessary to be successful in any business environment.
Jennifer Brown and Alex Cranstoun are both from the Class of 1992, married, and living in Ossining, NY (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.
I'm living in Greenwich CT, married to Scott Budd (also class of 1984) 3 children (6, 3 1/2, 2). I'm VP Associate Media Director Media Partnership, Norwalk CT. 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, ie., 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 qualatative themes, and gives you perspctive on the world around you.
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 CT. 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!
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 Sr. 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 2 offices and homes in 2 states. I want to add 1-2 more. I picture myself in my 60's 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.
I received my Masters in Education (English) from the University at Albany in '98. I currently work for TOH Managed Staffing in Albany, NY 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.
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 masters 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.
I live in New York, NY. I received my MPA in 1974 from the University of Cinncinnati, 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.
Christie currently works in the Energy Trading and Risk Management Consulting industry. Please ask the department for her contact information.
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 daughters 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!
After spending a few years in non-profit 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 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.
I recently transferred from managing the records management program at the regional office of the US 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 DC 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!
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 Prof. 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.
I currently live in Minneapolis with my husband, Evan, and my kids, Wyatt and Marin (3 1/2 yr twins). I work for Philips Lighting Company, selling Industrial/Commercial lighting in MN. 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.
Let me preface this by saying that I did not receive a degree in American Studies from Skidmore. After my sophomore year, I transferred to the University of Delaware, where I received my degree - in American Studies - in 1971. I live in Middletown, Delaware. Further education includes a Masters in Library and Information Science which I received from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 1997, as well as a number of non-credit computer classes. While the two degrees may seem unrelated, I believe the general background I received as an American Studies major has helped me in my career as a librarian. As a reference librarian, it isn't necessary to have all the answers, just enough general knowledge to be able to understand the question and know how to go about finding an in-depth answer. For example, if I was asked for information on a historical figure, I usually knew whether or not that person was American, so that I could select an appropriate source. Today I am working as a Systems Administrator in the Technical Services division of a public library system, and do reference work only occasionally, as a substitute. In the late 1960's when I chose my major, how could I have anticipated my love for computers? Good luck with your project!
Alex Cranstoun and Jennifer Brown are both from the Class of 1992, married, and living in Ossining, NY (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.
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 '70's 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 ICBM's) 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.
I was an American Studies major at Skidmore, class of 72, but transferred to Univ of NH after 2 years and graduated from there in 1972. I went to Univ of RI, earning an M.L.S. (Library Science) in 1974; then an J.D. from George Washington Univ in 1981. I'm an attorney in the Legislative Division of the General Counsel's Office at the Dept. of Transportation in Wash, DC. 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.
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 free-lance photojournalism and assisting and than 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 5 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 grad. 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.
Nancy Cooper Diamond, 66
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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 PhD 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 life-long interest in American issues.
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--like Social Security, minimum wage, education, Patient's Bill of Rights, etc. I use my American Studies degree mostly with writing but more important, 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.
Lauren Doherty, '04
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After graduating I went directly into an MA program in Public History at SUNY Albany. I graduated with my masters in December 2006. I have been working as a research associate and historian for Curtin Archaeological Consulting in Ballston Spa, NY for almost two years. I use my degree every day!
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.
I am willing to bet that I'm the closest alumni to the American Studies Department... In July of 2002, after completing my M.A. in United States 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!
Carrie Durant, '96
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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.
After graduation I moved to Boston and worked in Corporate Recruiting for almost 2 years. Earlier this fall I decided to make a major change and I took a job as a Residential Counselor in a facility for troubled adolescent girls near Boston. I think I have found my calling and hope to work towards a Masters in Social Work.
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