Alumni Careers

Our alumni follow many paths after completing their master's degree in American Studies. You can learn about some of them here, and you can also keep up with alumni in our annual newsletter.

Joyce Linehan, 2003
Chief of Policy, City of Boston.
MA project: “The Day My Mama Socked it to the Harper Valley PTA: Country Music Womanhood in the Second Wave of Feminism”
The American Studies MA “was exactly the right course of study for me. The interdisciplinary nature allowed me plenty of room for exploration and critical thinking. I learned valuable research and analytical skills, and further developed a healthy amount of curiosity and empathy. The teachers and fellow students I met there are people I still call on today in my work on municipal policy and civic engagement.”

Segen Debesai, 2014
Current position: Teacher, Boston Public Schools
MA Project:  “The Case of ‘Little Ethiopia’ in Washington D.C."
The American Studies MA “gave me the intellectual tools to think critically about the roles that race and ethnicity have played (and continue to play) in the development of American history, society, and culture. I think that this program is especially remarkable if you’re considering further graduate work.”

Andy Lester, 2013
Current position: Doctoral student in American Studies at Rutgers-Newark
MA project: “Intersectional Approaches to the Politics of Respectability: Negotiations of Identity in Early Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and Vanguard Newsletters”
The American Studies MA “gave me a strong foundation in American Studies which has helped immeasurably to prepare me for doctoral work. The community and mentorship at UMass Boston was particularly beneficial and has initiated relationships that continue to guide me in my current course of study.”

Anastasia Kostina, 2011
Current position: Doctoral student in Film and Media Studies at Yale University
MA project: “The Lure of Hollywood: Constructing the Image of Hollywood and Movie Stars in Motion Picture Classic Magazine, 1915-1926”
The American Studies MA: “One of the greatest strengths of the University of Massachusetts Boston American Studies graduate program is the variety of specialties it has to offer. History, gender studies, African-American studies, popular culture, media, 9/11 culture - no matter the topic you will always find a professor to work with. At the same time the program's six core courses covering major aspects of American Studies provide thorough foundation for further research.”

David Schroer, 2013
Current position: High-school teacher; works on History Channel documentary projects
MA project: “Harvests of Leverage: Food for Peace and the Developing World from 1962-1967”
The American Studies MA “offered me a truly rewarding experience. The diverse, exceptionally knowledgeable, and personal faculty are the department's greatest assets, making it a place with a deep understanding and appreciation of US History and cultural studies."

Toru Shinoda, 2014
Current position: Professor and Assistant Dean of International Affairs, Faculty of Social Sciences, Waseda University, Japan.
MA project: "Why and How the 1946 Strike of General Electric (GE) Workers at Lynn, Massachusetts Matters?"
The American Studies MA “gave me a cause to inspire Waseda students to be intellectual activists and taught me how to convince them of their mission.”

Valeria Jimenez, 2009
Current position: Doctoral candidate at Northwestern University; Five Colleges Fellowship at Hampshire College
MA project: “Art in the Heart of East L.A.: Art-Based Community Building and Days of the Dead at Self-Help Graphics”
The American Studies MA "not only reignited my passion for learning and education, but it also prepared me to be a more socially aware and responsible member of society. The program was rigorous but also incredibly supportive, and prepared me for the challenges of a career in academia. The training I received in the program was so comprehensive that I was able to smoothly transition into a doctorate program (in the field of history) with a clear vision of the kind of scholar I strive to be."

Gregory Kornbluh, 2008
Current position: Web content manager, Harvard University Press
MA project: “Courting Context: The NBA as a Site of White Contact with Blackness"
The American Studies MA “both added dimensions to my perception of the world and taught me to never imagine mine the only one. The faculty also trained me to quickly recognize the gist and implications of arguments, a skill that’s served me greatly in my career in academic publishing. And the particular profile of the department—diverse and passionate scholars committed to the principles of public education—ingrained in me a sense of fairness that informs every aspect of my work connecting readers with ideas around the world.”

Melissa Siegal Beck, 2013
Current position: History teacher, Norton High School, Norton MA
MA project: "Teaching United States History from the Perspectives of Diverse Women"
The American Studies MA “taught me how to integrate multiple perspectives into my teaching of history and to include primary and secondary sources that helped diversify my curriculum.”

Tatiana Efremova, 2012
Current position: Doctoral student in Comparative & World Literature at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
MA project: “Noncombatant Men and New Women of the American Avant-Garde: Gender Flux and the Transatlantic Dialogue in the Early Dada Journals”
The American Studies MA “…did some of the things I thought I could not do (like teaching an undergraduate American History class as a TA). … The American Studies program had a critical impact on me both professionally and personally. The program's strength is its solid foundation in history viewed through the perspective of race, class and gender relations. I have learned a lot about the country I am studying, but I have also learned something about myself, what I want to do and how to work for it. I believe this is what grad school is about. Now I am moving on with my postgraduate program to become a teacher and a scholar. The tools that I learned at the University of Massachusetts Boston help me to do well in my new program every day.”

Lena Campagna, 2012
Current position: Doctoral student in Sociology, University of Massachusetts Boston
MA project: “Building a Brand: the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods”
The American Studies MA “prepared me with the necessary grounding to interpret theoretical and cultural frameworks.  This foundation continues to help me especially in my applied sociological work and has made me a more informed researcher. The knowledge and support from faculty in the American Studies department was an inspiration for me to pursue my graduate studies at the doctoral level.” 

Sarah Atwood, 2011
Current position: Doctoral candidate in American Studies at University of Minnesota and Diversity Fellow with the Department of Inclusion and Community Engagement at Minnesota Historical Society
MA Project: “Old Clothes for Sale: The Multiple Meanings for Second Hand Clothing in the US, 1850-2010"
The American Studies MA “enabled me to critically and creatively analyze primary texts and cultural phenomenon.  My degree enabled me to secure employment outside of the academy as well as provided excellent preparation for research and teaching while pursuing my doctoral degree.”

Andrew Hannon, 2007
Current position: Doctoral Candidate in American Studies, Yale University
MA project: “Sex, Drugs and Revolution: Culture as Resistance, Cultures of Resistance, and the Politics of the Counterculture”
The American Studies MA “taught me how to understand and engage with the field, think rigorously about cultural work, and provided me the opportunity to learn content and pedagogy from excellent teachers. I continue to rely on the things I learned in the American Studies Program at UMass. I cannot think of better preparation for further graduate work.”