Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Student Spotlight

Josh Bekoe

My name is Josh Bekoe. I am a 21-year-old student athlete and Ghanaian who was raised in Alexandria, Virginia. I decided to major in American studies because I love to write. American studies courses have helped me fine tune my writing skills while equipping me with other transferable skills. This will make me marketable for a variety of jobs in fields such as journalism.



Jaylen Brantley

My name is Jaylen Brantley. I’m a junior American studies major who plays on the University basketball team. I like to play video games, hang out with friends, and watching movies. I chose American studies because the program focuses on social, political and cultural history. I love American studies because it keeps me engaged and helps me learn about our great nation.



Alaska Burdette

My name is Alaska Burdette. I am majoring in American Studies and Anthropology and minoring in U.S. Latino/a Studies. American Studies teaches me how to apply a critical lens to the world I live in and the daily interactions I have. With the support of my instructors, I am refining my research and analytical skills as I prepare for a future in either medicine or graduate school.



Bethany Cox

My name is Bethany Cox and I’m a junior majoring in American studies and English Language and Literature from Carroll County, Maryland. Although I entered the University of Maryland as a Journalism major, I discovered American studies my sophomore year and fell in love with the program. As someone who is working towards a career in the nonprofit sector, I love that the major allows me to research and become familiar with the many different needs and issues of American people and society.



Liza Ellis

My name is Liza Ellis. I’m a senior in the American studies department. I love being a American studies major because my courses have provided me with the tools and resources to analyze the evolution of America and American culture.




Nicolette Fiacco

My name is Nicolette Fiacco and I am from New York. As a American studies major I’ve developed an interest in popular culture, especially film. I can confidently say that my courses have equipped me with the skills to analyze culture through film. For my Senior Capstone Project, I am conducting research on themes in Ridley Scott’s film, The Martian (2015).



Stav Gershonovitz

My name is Stav Gershonovitz. I am from Rockland County, New York. As a American studies major my research interests are in pop culture and media. I love the American studies major because it has provided me with the opportunity to study American culture through a unique lens. I have gained a deeper understanding of issues that face our society from enthusiastic teachers who are experts in their field.



Jack Herbst

My name is Jack Herbst. I’m a transfer student from Seattle, Washington. I am a American Studies major because I like studying cultural groups.




Willem Kalbach

My name is Willem Kalbach and I am from Howard County, Maryland. I am a double major in American studies and History. My professors in the American studies department encourage me to think critically about the world around me. They have also helped me sharpen my research skills. I work part- time at University Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives. I have enjoyed being able to connect what I learn in my American studies courses with work experience. After graduation, I intend to pursue Masters in Library and Information Science while working in historic preservation, volunteer coordination, or public historical education.


Benjamin Schulman

My name is Benjamin Schulman and I am from Atlantic Beach, New York. I am a American studies major with a concentration in American history. I chose to major in American studies because the department offers various courses about compelling topics. Ultimately, the American studies curriculum prepares students for whatever career path they choose. I enjoy the diversity in the department. I have met many people with a plethora of interests, backgrounds, and career aspirations.



Betsy Tesfaye

My name is Betsy Tesfaye and I’m a senior American studies major. As an Ethiopian-American I am immersed in the ethnic culture/traditions aspect of American studies scholarship. I enjoy being able to connect my life experiences with the material I read in my classes. I also like to study social and political movements like the Civil Rights Movement. After graduation, my goal is to start a career at the American History Museum.



Josh Woods

My name is Josh Woods and I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. I love American studies because my classes explore exploitation of minority groups, difference, and the building of American culture and society.