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American Studies Alums – In their Own Words

Major: American studies
Graduation Date: December 2011

Aaron didn’t originally know what he wanted to major in at the University of Maryland. Upon someone’s advice, he gave the American Studies program a visit in Holzapfel Hall and was drawn in by the warmth of the faculty and staff. According to Aaron, “I chose American studies because I liked the people.”…

Major(s): American studies & Germanic studies
Graduation Date: May 2013
Capstone Project: “How to be a Race Traitor: The Model Minority Complex”

Anna’s initial attraction to the American Studies program came from the freedom she noticed within the structure of the curriculum and the lack of what she called “weed-out” courses, which serve to discourage students from continuing in a particular major. As an American Studies major, Anna didn’t encounter any so-called “weed-out” courses and cultivated an understanding of critical race theory and ethnicity studies in order to produce her Capstone project, “How to be a Race Traitor: The Model Minority Complex.”…

Major: American studies
Minor: Technology Entrepreneurship
Graduation Date: Fall 2012
Capstone Project: “Why America Keeps 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.”…

Major: American studies
Graduation Date: May 2010
Honors Thesis: “Scholarship and Empowerment in the Age of the Video Vixen: Promoting Black Adolescent Girls’ Positive Development & Academic Success”

Stephanie decided to major in American Studies after finding it difficult to choose between broadcast and print journalism. Her interests in African-American studies, women’s studies, history, sociology, and politics led her to find a home in the interdisciplinary American Studies program. As an undergraduate, Stephanie’s research interests included historical representations of black women’s sexuality, the socialization of black adolescent girls, and hip-hop studies….

Major(s): American studies and English
Graduation Date: Spring 2012
Honors Thesis: “What’s Beef: Gender & Sexuality in Hip-Hop’s Verbal Battlegrounds”

Mike decided to major in American Studies because an advisor in the Department of Arts & Humanities (ARHU) told him it would be feasible to complete the program in three semesters. Initially shocked, Mike soon found out that the American Studies Department, in championing interdisciplinary, allows students (in fact, requires students) to take courses in other fields. His U.S. Latino/a Studies credits counted toward the major as did his courses in Women’s Studies and English…