Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Student Spotlight

Alaska Burdette


Where are you from?

I am from Maryland. I grew up outside of Baltimore.

What was your background (academic or otherwise) before coming to AMST?

I have a background in healthcare, anthropology, and archaeology. I continue to work in all of these fields as I pursue a degree in American Studies.

Why have you chosen AMST as your major?

AMST gives me the tools to explore social issues and allows me to recognize our shared and independent experiences. My professors are helping me cultivate an understanding for the world around me and investigate ways to facilitate meaningful inclusion for all the marginalized people in society.                  

Which AMST classes have you taken so far? Which have you liked the best?

I have taken a number of classes exploring citizenship, identity, and immigration. I can think of two that have really influenced my thinking. The first was a class with Dr. Guerrero focusing on citizens, immigrants, and refugees. Dr. Christina Perez, a graduate student at the time, taught a summer class that explored violence, prisons, and immigration. These classes directed my attention towards our most marginalized populations and the conditions of belonging and membership in this society.

Dr. Sies tells us that you have an interesting job. Can you tell us more about it?

I am a physical therapist and I work for Montgomery County as a first responder. I work Friday nights and Saturdays as a paramedic. I also have the responsibility of training the probationary members and introducing them to fire and rescue. Sundays I work at a rehab hospital where I help patients restore their strength and regain the ability to walk again.  

What are your plans/hopes/dreams for the future?

I am currently exploring the possibility of medical school or a path in academia and research. My goal is to positively contribute to the world and empower and support those most marginalized and vulnerable in society.

Anything else you’d like to share?

The classes I have taken in the US Latina/o studies minor have allowed me to explore categories of identity and their intersections. All that I’ve learned I carry with me. I apply this knowledge and perspective to my daily interactions to facilitate more meaningful conversations.

Ned Prutzer

Ned Prutzer is a senior who is double majoring in English and American Studies.  He currently works as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for AMST201 with the University of Maryland’s Academic Achievement Program (AAP) and as an intern with the University of Maryland Writing Center.  He has also interned with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and START, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.  He has served as a Lannan Fellow with the Folger Shakespeare Library and is a graduate of the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House on campus.

Jason Kramer

Jason is a Senior American Studies major with a focus on media journalism and a minor in Rhetoric.  He is also the Adaptive Technology lab assistant for the Department of Disability Services.  Jason is obsessed with video game culture so much that he works to incorporate an element of gaming into many of his classes, including his capstone project.  He is also a freelance writer for gamesradar.com and plans to work in the gaming industry.  He has served as an opinion columnist for The Diamondback student newspaper and has worked as a tour guide with Maryland Images.  His favorite move is Big.

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