Saint Louis University

Undergraduate Alumni

Several recent graduates from the American Studies major are featured below, illustrating the broad range of career and educational paths taken by our students.

Charles Bowles (2014)

I received my undergraduate degree in American Studies and Communication in 2014. Currently, I live and work in the Washington, DC, area where I work for a financial literacy and education company called the Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE) program. The CARE program seeks to educate high school and college students on the responsible use of credit and other fundamentals of financial literacy, as well as the potential consequences of poor money management and credit-card abuse. In my current role, I manage our social media outlets, develop educational materials for our program, give presentations to high schools on personal financial topics, assist in identifying strategic partners for ongoing projects, and travel to educational conferences to promote our organization.

In my spare time, I am a freelance sports writer and sports contributor for an organization called Obsev. I have contributed articles to major sports outlets including the New York Times, SB Nation, and others. In addition, I perform improvised comedy with the Washington Improv Theater.

My American Studies degree has directly impacted my work because I am able to draw upon a variety of sources when I develop my educational materials for the CARE program. That degree allowed me to learn how to integrate sources together into a succinct and engaging presentation. My American Studies degree also gives me a way to challenge the taboo that we have around money in this country and how to approach this topic for younger generations.

Olivia White (2014)

I am pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I plan to work for a nonprofit preservation organization after I graduate in 2017. My first exposure to the field of historic preservation came through my SLU coursework in American Studies. One of the reasons I became interested in pursuing postgraduate education is that I was exposed to how preservation could make a positive impact in cities. American Studies taught me to think critically about issues facing cities and has inspired me to fight for solutions that prioritize social justice.

Becky Gorley (2010) 

I am currently working at Queen of Peace Center as a Community Development and Grants Associate. Queen of Peace Center provides family-centered treatment and recovery for women and families with substance abuse. I do community building and organizing in the neighborhoods where QOPC has permanent housing, with the overarching to develop the health, wellness and recovery of the communities. I live in South City and bicycle to work.

Becky GorleyMy Capstone Project, "Listening to College Hill," uncovered the local narrative of residents who live in the North St. Louis City neighborhood of College Hill and revealed how the dominant narrative of the media is a social deterrent and economically detrimental to residents, outsiders and investors. The local narrative needs to be strengthened, shared and listened to in order for real understanding and just investment of a neighborhood like College HIll.

I did a Social Work practicum at Queen of Peace Center and began researching and meeting residents from the neighborhood where QOPC has a recovery home for pregnant and parenting women. I began to weave my interests in sociocultural history and social justice issues to form a base for community organizing. I developed meaningful relationships with residents and applied for a grant to do community based work to address substance abuse through QOPC. I began doing this work in July 2011 after receiving the grant.

I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain at the SLU campus. It was one of the best experiences I had during my undergrad. I highly recommend going abroad. It is so easy to apply and make it happen.

Hannah Koesterer (2010)

I am an associate attorney at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in Chicago. My practice focuses on financial services litigation and white-collar defense. After graduating from SLU with an American Studies degree in 2010, I worked for one year as a project assistant at a large Chicago law firm before attending Northwestern University School of Law.

My American Studies classes helped me hone my critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills, which I draw upon every day as a lawyer. I had the opportunity to take classes with many current and former faculty members, including Susanne Wiedemann, Jonathan Smith, Joseph Heathcott, Benjamin Looker, and Cindy Ott, whose dedication and intellectual curiosity still inspire me. I was particularly lucky to get to take Introduction to American Studies with Josh Roiland (Ph.D. 2011), a truly outstanding instructor who remains a friend and mentor to this day. My time in the American Studies department made me a better student and taught me the importance of engaging deeply with my community. I will be forever grateful to have found a home there.

Sarah Hale (2009)

After graduating summa cum laude from Saint Louis University in 2009 as a Presidential Scholar with Honors degrees in American Studies and English (Minor: German, Cert. Creative & Professional Writing), I completed a Master's Degree in Media & International Conflict at the Clinton Institute for American Studies in Dublin, Ireland. During this time, I spent some time sub-editing and reporting at news site well as indulging in my lifelong passion for Irish traditional music!

Upon graduation, I began work at the Dublin office at SAP, a global business software company based in Walldorf, Germany. I'm currently an internal account manager for the UK and Ireland, coordinating software projects with large enterprises in the Retail, Travel & Transportation space.

I'm currently studying for an advanced diploma in Marketing, Advertising & PR with the Institute for Commercial Management, maintaining an avid interest in business, technology and the news-and in American foreign policy!

My American Studies work at SLU centered around American domestic policies, from local-government urban policy decisions to an examination of national transportation networks. The following work/internships plugged into different facets of that research, primarily through news:

Fall 2006: Billiken Academic Experience Day, Co-Chair (Pres. Scholars)
Summer 2007: St. Louis Suburban Journals, New Projects division
Fall 2007: Heidelberg Center for American Studies-Heidelberg, Germany
Summer 2008: St. Louis Catholic Charities, Creative Projects; career shadow at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Fall 2005-Spring 2009: The University News, Editorials Editor
Spring 2008-Spring 2009: President, Missouri College Media Association

I spent Fall 2007 semester at Ruprecht-Karls-Universitaet Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany. While there I studied German language, also taking courses in German/English related to the major. A fantastic and inspiring 4 months, that semester helped me dig into German language & assist research at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (and was a first glance at the company for which I'm now working!) Well worth the experience-have been back to Heidelberg twice since then for business and to visit friends.

Greg Stock (2008)

I currently live in San Francisco, CA and I work for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. FAMSF consists of two museums in San Francisco; the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor Museum. Under the department of Education, IGreg Stock produce a weekly night event at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park called "Friday Nights at the de Young." Friday Nights at the de Young offers a variety of interdisciplinary arts programs, including live music, poetry, films, dance, tours, hands-on art-making, talks and more.

I also coordinate Academic Symposia in association with our special exhibitions. Our department spearheads the Cultural Encounters Initiative at the de Young is a series of interconnected programs created in collaboration with community arts organizations and performing and visual artists. These programs are designed to attract new and diverse audiences to the museum while creating exciting educational and artistic possibilities from the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.

While I was an undergraduate at SLU, I interned at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission with Roseann Weiss, Director of Community Art Programs & Public Art Initiatives for a semester and summer. The experience, though I did not know at the time, planted the idea that I eventually want to follow a career in arts management. My undergraduate degree in American Studies has been an invaluable resource maneuvering an American city as diverse and complicated like San Francisco.

My most influential period of my undergraduate career was when the American Studies department supported my study abroad during my senior year at SLU. I studied at the Casa de la Solidaridad in San Salvador, El Salvador. My time living in El Salvador has informed every choice I have made since then with my living situation, my community involvement and my career. It pushed me academically, emotionally and spiritually in ways that I could have never experienced in a classroom setting. Coupled with my classes and professor support, my American Studies undergraduate degree has been applicable to every work setting and environment I have faced in the last three years. It has also made me more adept at difficult situations and dealing with the unique identities that exist in the United States.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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