I worked for 3 months at CBS in New York, at the Page Program. Basically I worked at all different aspects of CBS and experienced alot of different jobs, which was great for someone like me who doesn't know exactly what they want to do yet. I worked mainly for the Early Show and a little bit at 106 and Park (a show on BET), and I did other assignments at various departments around CBS. It's a great program and I really enjoyed it. Three months later I've been hired as a Production Associate in the Advertising and Promotions Department for CBS News. We do all of the print, radio, and on-air advertising for CBS News Programs (Evening News, Early Show, 48 Hours, CBS News Radio, 60 Minutes). This is a great position because I get to learn a lot about television and the advertising. And there are many different directions I can go from this job. One thing I have definitely learned is that it doesn't matter what your college major was, I am surrounded by Broadcast Journalism and Communications majors but I find my American Studies degree to be more valuable because it has set me apart. Also, American Studies classes give you great intellectual topics to discuss at office parties (the TV majors definitely don't have that!).
The American Studies program was the best thing about Skidmore in those years.
After graduation I moved to Washington, DC, 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 Senator 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 PhD so I could teach in a serious way. I received my PhD 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 multi-disciplinary, very much on the American Studies model.
I am living in Astoria, Queens, a section of New York City. Officially my address is Astoria, NY, 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 socio-economic 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.
Before attending Skidmore, I mapped out the American Studies Program, the requirements of the college, and the NY 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.
Currently I live in Chappaqua, NY- 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.
graduated in 1963 with Don Baker as Chair of the Dept. 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 Sept '63 until Nov. '65. At that point I had a crazy job working for the Assistant Sec'y 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 CA elementary teaching credential. From then on I did teach on and off for a number of years (totally unrelated to being an Am Studies major) both paid and volunteer.and since then (having raised 2 daughters) 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.
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 everyday. Thank you for a wonderful education.
After my move to Boston in the fall of '99, I began working at Bain and Company, 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 responsibilites 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.
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 JD and MBA) 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.
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 Am Civ PhDs 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 Masters, having used a National Endowment for the Humanities research grant to collect the data for the MA 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-non-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 US, 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." Who knew that the YMCA invented business education in the USA, using the program first for proselytization and then social control? Where does this tie into my American Studies training at Skidmore? Thank you, David Marcell, one-time chair, and Mary Lynn, for teaching me how to think critically and conceptually. This has helped me manage large departments, think strategically to achieve goals, and has given me the intellectual depth to create and articulate programs for varied target populations in a range of disciplines. On the personal front, I am married to an attorney (Union 71) and have two children, ages 14 (David) and 19 (Paula). My 19-year old is a Skidmore sophomore exercise science major. If any current American Studies majors want to discuss careers in fundraising/marketnig in the non-profit world, higher education administration or Jewish comunal work, I'm glad to speak or e-mail with students.
Currently I live in Chicago, IL 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, 2000. 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 towards 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.
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!
I received a MA in Teaching from Tufts University in 1995 and I currently teach 9-12th 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.
I now live in Houston TX. I received my Masters 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 (RandomHouse, 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!
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 Studies because it was a combination of everything I loved about the United States and its history, it has served me well.
I have never held a job but have voluntered my entire adult life. I have spent 17 yrs at the MFA in Boston-- mostly working with children. My 1st art history classes were at Skidmore!!! What did my major do for me??? I have always enjoyed learning so that has impacted my life. Hopefully this will allow you to have 100% of our 61 class.
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 Affiars 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 (seriously) and I have recently completed papers analyzing the development of methadone maintence programs in New York State and the implementation of needle exchange in New Haven, Connecticut. 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.
I'm in my sixth year (yikes!) at Watkinson School in Hartford, CT teaching primarily 10th grade English and an upper level Creative Writing course for students serious in their study of fiction. My students often find me relating nearly everything back to the Puritans or discussions on free will, and last week I showed my Creative Writing course the print of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln embracing during a discussion of symbolism in art. My students are really good to put up with my heavy contextualization of literature, but coming from an American Studies background I know nothing exists in isolation, and I try to pass this idea along to my students. (Sidebar: I received an NEH grant to work on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn last summer, and everyone in the program knew I was an American Studies major just from the way I shaped my questions, haha. I'm choosing to think this was a compliment.) In addition to my teaching duties, I also coach the Ultimate Frisbee team in the spring season, competing--strangely enough--in the Hudson Valley! From the summer of 2006 on, I've also worked for Wesleyan University's Prospect Program teaching English to high-end middle school students from racially and economically diverse backgrounds. Most recently, in 2009, I became the coach of Yale University's Equestrian Team. Not only do I get to travel with a wonderful group of riders, I get to talk about horses AND history, as I have had quite a few history buffs on my team in the past two seasons. It's a bit of a dream job, really. I am, literally, thankful every day for the excellent professors (PFITZER, Nathan!, Mary C. Lynn, Philogene, Janet Casey, Erika) I had at Skidmore, and I can honestly say that I use something I've learned from them in my classes--and any time I play Jeopardy!, actually--every time I teach. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from them.
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 has made me into a voracious reader also -- 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.
I work at a public policy consulting firm in Cambridge, MA, 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 AmStuds classes because they were just so much fun
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, 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 amongst my fondest.
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, Oregon. 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.
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 3-4 nights a week is tough to do when you're married and have to bill 2000 hours a year. Anyway, life is good and tell everyone I said hello.
Joshua Lauren '07
After graduating from Skidmore I spent two years teaching Social Studies and Language Arts on the Navajo Nation in Thoreau, New Mexico with Teach For America. In addition to teaching I also served as the head coach of the middle school boy's basketball team and I was the faculty advisor for the school newspaper. I had a terrific experience with Teach For America and I will be attending the Teach For America 20th Anniversary Alumni Summit this winter in Washington D.C.In July of 2009 I moved to San Francisco, California and took a job as a Program Associate at Summer Search. Summer Search is a national leadership development and college access non-profit organization. I manage and coordinate outreach and programing projects, and I work as a counselor with a caseload of low-income students from around the Bay Area. In my daily work I often think about the American Studies classes that I took at Skidmore on race, gender and American identities. I am very thankful for my four years at Skidmore and especially to Professors Pfitzer, Nathan, and Woodfork for teaching me how to think critically.
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!
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 which 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.
I currently ive 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 inpart to my experience at Skidmore, the degree and the professors who helped me earn it.
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, MA. 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 eight and nine year olds! Rather than 'telling' students about the history, I encouraged them to explore and investigate for themselves. This reminds me of Prof. 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 as -- tons of fun and great pictures!
I was not the shinning light of the American Studies Department. The requirements for language arts skills were daunting for me. However, much of what was covered in the AM 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 NY. Joanna Zangrando and I were not best friends. Yet in spite of myself I got something out of her class. 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 nineteenth 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 U.S.C.G. 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 Florida 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.
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, Florida! 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, Inc., a consulting firm. I owe my readth of knowledge, love of American history and architecture and skills at Trivial Pursuit to y American Studies degree. My broad education has allowed me to enjoy and respect many avenues of knowledge.
I loved being part of the American Studies department--it was the best academic community. After I graduated I did the Peace Corps in Rwanda where I founded a national youth leadership camp centered on health and worked at a home for orphaned and abandoned children where I return to visit every year. I'm now at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing working towards becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Not only do I still use the writing and critical thinking skills I learned as an American Studies major, but I also appreciate the importance of history and looking at everything from different disciplines--both of which are valuable skills when working in the global health world.
Senior VP and Managing Director, Albert B. Ashforth, Inc. (Commercial Real Estate Company) Married, husband - Dennis Morrissey