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American Studies Alums – In their Own Words (Ja’Lisa Dixon)

“It was important for me to have a department that allowed me to have an opinion about the way my degree’s curriculum is structured.”

Ja’ Lisa Dixon
Major: American studies
Minor: Technology Entrepreneurship
Graduation Date: Fall 2012
Capstone Project: “Why America Keeps Keeping Up?: Understanding the Kardashian Phenomenon”

Ja’Lisa decided to join the American Studies program because she “enjoyed the freedom of research that the department allows.” According to Ja’Lisa, “It was important for me to have a department that allowed me to have an opinion about the way my degree’s curriculum is structured.” She found a home in American Studies where she engaged popular culture and consumerism. She was drawn to popular culture because of “its ability to captivate society with its outlandish behavior.” Ja’Lisa’s interest in consumption stems from her assertion that, “Everybody shops, everybody spends.” She added, “In understanding both the cycle of production and spending we can learn much about the free market system and how people perceive what they think is individual choice.” Ja’Lisa graduated in Fall 2012 from the university and delivered the American Studies departmental commencement speech. Ja’Lisa noted, “Since being the student commencement speaker I have gained other speaking opportunities with local educational agencies looking to have an inspirational message from a student.”  After Ja’Lisa graduated, she began teaching English at Yaohua Shenzhen Experimental International School in Shenzhen, China.

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