The Student Experience
Recent student projects and program graduates' thoughts on studying American Studies at Montana State University.
Jordan Zignego, Bachelor's in American Studies(2012)
“I’ve always been intrinsically curious; my undergraduate degree in American Studies gave me a way to harness this curiosity by providing a framework through which to make connections between concepts and ideas, and to understand more deeply the interrelationships of these in a cultural, social and political context. American Studies has directly informed my career as an architect: organizing and arranging disparate pieces and parts to create a holistic design.”
Gianna Savoie, Doctorate in American Studies(2018)
"As a scientist, artist, documentary filmmaker, and educator, I have earned membership into the “many hats club” and find myself perched at the intersection of diverse and often competing worlds. This however, offers me a unique vantage to explore connections that are often hiding in the blind spots of these individual disciplines. I decided to pursue a Ph.D. American Studies in an attempt to identify the common undercurrents flowing through these worlds and draw them together to effectively communicate science, particularly that of the sea. Under the stellar guidance of my chair, Dr. Michael Reidy, my research tracked the evolving narrative of the ocean and how the public engages in its stewardship through science storytelling. Culminating in my establishment of the non-profit organization, the Ocean Media Institute, my work embraces diverse perspectives that broaden our depth of knowledge and serves to expand the public's understanding of ocean science through the collaborative creation and distribution of innovative media and artistic approaches to ocean literacy.
I graduated from MSU in May, 2018 and within seven months landed a tenure-track faculty position in the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ, where I teach and advise Master’s and Ph.D. students across the tracks of Science and Natural History Filmmaking, Science Writing, and Science in Society. When hired, I was told that normally a faculty member is qualified to teach in only one area, but the interdisciplinary foundation of American Studies offers me the flexibility and expertise to teach across all three and to build on my research in profound ways. I am so thrilled to be embarking on this new adventure and eternally grateful for the opportunities that have been awarded by this degree."