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.
Whitney Savage Tosh '93
(Click here to email Whitney)
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 start up 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 UofMD I decided not to pursue a Masters 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, CT and now at Wings Unlimited in Darien,CT. 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!
I received an MA 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, NY.
Kacey Schneider ‘08
Upon graduating from Skidmore in 2008, Kacey moved to Guancaste, Costa Rica with another Skidmore alum. The two of them moved to the town of Playa Grande, where they were the managers of a surf camp and hostel. Kacey's responsibilities included directing the staff, teaching surf lessons, managing the hostel's business accounts, and generating publicity. After a year of working at the surf camp, Kacey was offered a job teaching World History at a new private school that had recently opened in the area. Kacey accepted the position, and it is where she is currently working. After being at the school for a semester, she was promoted to Head of History. Kacey teaches students from the kindergarten age to the level of high school seniors. She is also employed as the English Editor and contributing writer to a local newspaper. In addition, Kacey teaches dance lessons to local students. She currently lives in Tamarindo.
My life has been a bit of a whirlwind since Skidmore, and my Am. Stud. 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, CT 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 Masters 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 20 stores across 10 states. I do advertising, community relations, promotions, special events for the 20 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 a marketing plan 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.
Realizing the value of an American Studies degree: After college I spent two years teaching 3rd and 4th grade at the Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, NY. I loved it but would get bored during the math lessons so I decided to focus on social studies full time. I went to Teachers College, Columbia University for the following year and got a MA in the Teaching of Social Studies (Grades 7-12). In the summer of 2009, I was fortunate enough to be hired by PS175, a small, public, kindergarten-8th grade school on City Island in the Bronx, NY. City Island is a tightly-knit, beautiful, nautical community on an Island in the very northeast Bronx with no tall buildings and no chain restaurants. My students are terrific and my administration and colleagues are great as well. My classroom overlooks Long Island Sound, which I use to my advantage when I bring the kids outside to make lessons more memorable (e.g. singing a sea chantey during a lesson about Whaling or pretending we're the Taino people experiencing Columbus' arrival). I'm the only social studies teacher for about 100 7th and 8th graders, and by default, am the department chair and in charge of writing the curriculum. This task was, and still is, remarkably daunting, and I would not have been able to do it without the American Studies background that I acquired at Skidmore. 7th grade covers Native Americans through the Civil War. 8th grade is Reconstruction up to the present. I use an excellent series of textbooks (A History of US, by Joy Hakim) to help supplement what we cover in class, and I'm able to use so much that I learned about at Skidmore, particularly when teaching 8th grade. Here are a few examples that come to mind:In Mary Lynn's Religion in America course I wrote a paper arguing that the Ghost Dance was a political and social movement in the guise of a religion, and then re-read that paper right before teaching the students about Wounded Knee. I found some great primary sources when teaching about the Great Depression in the reader from Joanna Zangrando's 1930's/Methods course. I remember Dan Nathan's American Past in Film course when I show images from Birth of a Nation. The 1950's and 1960's courses have provided me with an outstanding background when I teach about post-WWII America. My 8th graders are required to write an "Exit Project" which is a mini-research paper about any post-Civil War topic in American history. When they write about topics like the Little Rock Nine, JFK's assassination and the homefront during Vietnam, I think back to my classes at Skidmore. Joshua Woodfork's Whiteness in America class exposed me to "How the Irish Became White," which I mention when teaching about attitudes towards immigrants in New York City.My favorite lesson of the year is my Babe Ruth lesson. The "Aim" of the period is: How did Babe Ruth represent the mindset of the 1920's? The lesson includes brainstorming our prior knowledge on the Bambino around a photo of him on the board, discussing an article that I used when writing my senior thesis, and viewing clips from "The Babe" which I reference when writing my thesis. I make a point to consider the 1920's in general at various moments. I read two short excerpts from my senior thesis to the kids, and they are impressed when I reveal afterwords that it was my writing and I got to write it for a class. (This is almost a push for them to go to college because you can specify much more in your interests and the classes are more fun that middle school...) At the end of the class, the kids write a letter to the Babe, either as a fan or a critic. As they are sharing their letters, I hand out Baby Ruth candy bars and mention that kids often included Baby Ruth wrappers in their letters to Ruth, hoping that they'd be autographed. I wear my Yankees tie and a pinstriped shirt and it's one of my favorite days of the year. I learned many of the strategies of how to teach at grad school, and it's totally possible to pass as a social studies teacher without knowing much outside of the textbook, but I feel like having such a strong American history background about what to teach allows me to sequence, simplify, and explain historical information in a way that is accessible and memorable to the students. Having an eye for American cultural history is something I fully attribute to having been a student of American Studies.I love teaching and plan to stick with it for quite a while. Thanks, Skidmore!
After two years of teaching American history, Women's history and American government at a small private school in Raleigh, North Carolina 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 PhD 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.
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, DC area where we pursued our careers over the next 30 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 US 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 US university located in Honduras which 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.
After graduating from Skidmore, I moved to New York City 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 in New York, 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 5th or 6th) 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. I have always desired to meet the challenges of teaching in the inner city. It is that desire and a sense of obligation that has lead me to accept this fellowship. I am not sure where it will lead me. I still would like to return to school to study history and maybe teach at the high school level but for now, I see this phase of my career as teaching more for the service aspect rather than for my passion of a subject matter. Perhaps someday I shall teach in a more academic setting. No matter what happens, I feel that this will be an unforgettable experience which shall prepare me for any future endeavor. The program begins January 15th at which time I will begin graduate courses and work in the classrooms as an assistant. By the end of February, I should have my own classroom.
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 adjunicated 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 10 or 11 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 thier aftercare for when they leave the program. The kids are awesome and Ifind 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 which will be based in Western Colorado. My dog, Nisa, and I will probably be living in Ouray or Gunnison, Colorado as of next month. I look forward to lots of great skiing and paddling there!
Alex Shapiro, '07
After graduating I moved to New York and interned for a production company that produced the MTV documentary series "True Life." I then was hired as a production assistant for a few episodes at another company doing the same show. Eventually I was brought on as a PA at MTV News where I wrote, produced, filmed, and edited news pieces for the channel and website. I also filmed interviews with a variety of musicians and other celebrities and was part of the production teams for things like the TRL Live Finale and MTV Movie Awards. Most recently I have been a PA at MLB Network where I contribute to the production of their flagship show "MLB Tonight." Mainly, I am editing highlights, producing show elements and creating video packages alongside the analysts which help breakdown certain plays or player skills. In the offseason my time is devoted to the production of "best of" and "countdown" shows and also contributing to our offseason live show "Hot Stove."
Lynn Doe Shipway, 70
(Click here to email Lynn)
I live in Arlington, Virginia, received my MLS in '72 and MPA in '78. I have retired after c. 30 years in higher education as a librarian and administrator at Skidmore and an administrator at The 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!
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. Two of my best student interns over the years were former Skidmore American Studies majors: Mindy Hapeman '97 and Krista Senator '99. 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. Having been a Bandersnatcher during my Skidmore years, I had a great time participating in the first Bandersnatcher reunion concert held at Skidmore in the fall of 1996.
I received an MA 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 MA. I think it's obvious how my major affects my work every day!
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 Stuides 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 predominate 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 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. . .
Currently I live in New York City. 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 which are so crucial in developing persuasive legal arguments.
I just finished my master's degree in American Studies from William and Mary, where I wrote my Master's thesis on a continuation of my senior theses on women in the Mormon Church. My Master's thesis, entitled, ""What's A Nice Mormon Girl Like You Doing Writing About Vampires?' Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" discussed the Mormon elements within the Twilight series (the author is a practicing Mormon) and how those elements shape the book's popularity. I am currently in the PhD program in American Studies at Saint Louis University and plan on doing more work with Mormons through a feminist lens. I still often reference my Skidmore Amer. Studies classmates' senior theses in my courses, and I hold Professor Pfitzer ("Pfitz!") as the standard for the professor I aspire to be. I am also the only one in my current program who has a BA and an MA in American Studies! I won't let them forget it :)
I have been living in New York City 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 EXPERINCE, to my current project a documentary on The World Trade Center and September 11, 2001.
I am the Executive Director at Impression 5 in Lansing, Michigan. 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 the 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 that is 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.
I live in Kingston, MA and received an M.A.T in History at Teachers College-Columbia University(1995) and C.A.G.S, Administration: 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!
I received a Masters in Philosophy and International Relations from Cambridge University, UK (Pembroke College) in 1989. I worked as a senior project manager at the Washington, DC based International Life Sciences Institute, but I am presently a full-time Mom to Patrick (age 6), Annabel (age 4) and Peter (age 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!
I completed study at the International Institute of Culinary Arts, did an internship at Al Forno, Providence, RI and earned a fellowship at Le Mirador, 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 fund raising 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, Providence, RI.
I always planned to be a teacher, so I'm not sure why I majored in American Studies, other than I always like 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 11th 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, Tennessee (my home town) and Little Rock, Arkansas after I married. After two children, a move to Atlanta, Georgia and a decade or two as a homemaker, I am working in the health insurance field as an insurance agent for Humana in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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.
I'm living in Washington, DC - working in the Human Resources dept. 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).
I'm in ye merry olde England residing in Stoke-On-Trent in Staffordshire. I work in the Department of Engineering and Construction for Stoke-on-Trent College. i just got a bunny. I am writing for my local paper in Maine about American views from abroad. I am finding it near enough impossible to keep myself from analyzing everything cultural and compare it to America. Curse you American Studies! Im kidding, it just gives me more topics I can use to write my book. I miss skidmore but I like this no classes thing.
I moved to Washington, DC in 1998 to pursue a M.A. in political science from American University. After graduation, I accepted a management position with The Direct Impact Company. 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 Corporation, 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.
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 NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities for several years, then made a move to the NYS 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 RN 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.
I am currently certified by the Unity Healing Center (2004) as a Reiki Master-Practioner, and I am pursuing holistic medicine and energy work as an occupation. As of now, I am still in Saratoga.
I write and produce audio programs for museum exhibitions, a job that I am convinced is about the best one on the planet. I don't think I got my job specifically because of my degree, but the two are definitely linked. While not all of the subjects I research are specifically American (I've worked on programs about Russian Imperial artifacts, tropical fish, and Freud, for example) the mental gear-switching necessary to the work is a skill that can be traced to the multi-disciplinary nature of American Studies. Plus, the sheer volume of writing I did in order to graduate has definitely served me in my job.
I was an American Studies major with a concentration in American Literature. I went on to get an MAT in English (secondary level) and then an MA 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 NH Legislature as a lobbyist for the New Hampshire Women's Lobby for 5 years, then took a job as Executive Director for a state-wide writers' organization (The NH Writers' Project) for 5 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 US Director for the last 5 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 3 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 inter-disciplinary 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!
Babson College, 1979, MBA; 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 90¹s 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 50¹s 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.
I'm located in the lakes region of New Hampshire, thirty 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, layout 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.
I graduated from Skidmore with an American Studies Degree in 1993. I currently live in Breckenridge, Colorado. 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.
(Note: Wendy told me her last name is soon to change Frazier--I think a wedding is on the horizon!)
American Studies is truly a generalist's major. It offers a broad discipline and ultimately a great base for decision making and problem solving.
I'm living in Piffard, New York (near Rochester). I received my MA from Bowling Green State University in 1996 and my New York State teaching certification from University of Rochester in 1999.
I am in my second year as a 7th 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.
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 DC, am fairly active in politics and just joined the board of Presidentail Classroom, a (profitable) not for profit that brings talented high school students into DC 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 multi-cultural experiences it's great to know your own history and use it as a launch-pad. thanks!
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 MA 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 28th, 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 on 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!
After completing my American Studies undergraduate degree through the University Without Walls program, I went on to graduate school, completing a doctorate in U.S. History at Binghamton University in 1992. Building on work I did at Skidmore, I wrote a book for Smithsonian Institution Press on the history of house museums. I am now a Curator at the National Park Service Site (Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook, NY). I also co-direct an academic research center at the State University of New York at Albany.
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.
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 multi-disciplinary nature of the program has enabled me to delve into so many areas of learning along the way.
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 damn 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, Connecticut but I commute from my hometown of Brooklyn every day. Needless to say the car is earning it's keep. But that is not the best news: I'M GOING TO BE A FATHER Yep. My girlfriend and I are expecting a little girl. January 30th is the due date. I am excited, nervous, expectant, filled with wonder and completely in the dark all at the same time. But, needless to say, I have the shotgun on lay-a-way :0) Her name is going to be Nile Syan-Lael Whiteman (a mouthful, I know). Nile, for the most beautiful river in the world; Syan, which means "Love Made By The Hand Of God"; And Lael is my girlfriend's mother's name (family tradition). So we are gearing up for her arrival. I've already bought a "Daddy's Little Girl" bib for her. Think I'll be a cream puff with this kid? YOU BETCHA!!! Other than that, nothing else to report. 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.
I am currently the Promotions Director for WROR 105.7 Greatest Hits of the 60's and 70's in Boston! I actually married Skidmore Alum Brian O'Connell (95) 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 2 1/2 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--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 20th 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 1960's 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 60's and 70's music- people who went through some of the stuff I learned in my American Studies classes.
We received a response from Ed's parents. Ed suffered severe brain injury from a motor vehicle accident while living in Austin, Tx. and preparing to run a marathon, February, 2000. Ed is now in New England Sinai Hospital, 150 York St., Stoughton, MA 02072 in a "coma vigil" state. He should be in all our prayers.
Megan Williams, '04
I am (still) a doctoral candidate in American Studies at the University of Kansas. The KU American Studies Department and the KU Office of Research and Graduate Studies awarded me a dissertation writing fellowship for the Spring 2011 semester. My dissertation, “Performing Lena: Race, Representation, and the Autobiographical Performances of Lena Horne,” examines post-World War II representations of black singer, actress, and activist Lena Horne. Although scholars have analyzed the wartime importance of Horne, there is a paucity of research on her postwar representation in Hollywood, theater, television, and print media. I explore the significance of Horne’s serial autobiographical performances between 1945 and 2010. I plan to defend my dissertation in December 2011.
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-late 70's, 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 NY. First real sales job was at National Lampoon, and then I moved to Chicago 16 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 utilize 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 it's audience. For example, take a look at the traditional Women's Service Magazines -- Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens...their very titles reflect the era in which they were founded. Does today's young woman really care if she's a "good housekeeper" or if her life is centered by the "family circle" ? Is she driven to buy a magazine on the newsstand because it has "50 easy chicken recipes"? Probably not. That's why these magazines are struggling today for an audience and it's inherent advertising dollars. The new group of women's lifestyle magazines, i.e. Rosie, O, Martha Stewart -- celebrity focused, with a different voice and vision of life are designed to be read by today's younger women. And frankly, the magazine people were amongst the last to figure out that the world and it's women have changed! 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!
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, Ca. and I am now Director of Sanitation for the City of Los Angeles. We provide service to over 4 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 10 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.
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 text books), 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.
CREATIVE THOUGHT MATTERS
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