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Class of 2015

Kayla Sullivan earned a dual MA in American Studies and Environment and Natural Resources. She graduated in 2009 from Colorado State University with a BS in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism with a concentration in Environmental Communications, and spent the following four years working seasonally for Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado. Her passion for history and cultural resources brought her to the University of Wyoming where she is continuing her study of National Park Service history and its role in the narrative history and outdoor culture of the United States. In the summer of 2014, Kayla had the opportunity to work with the Western Center for Historic Preservation at Grand Teton National Park. This experience has broadened her interests in the National Park Service even further and is helping to inform her thesis work. She is pursuing further job opportunities within the National Park Service.

Jenniffer Blaylock is from Laramie, WY, and earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies education in 1998 from the University of Wyoming. She has taught everything from US History to sociology at public schools in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming. Her primary academic interests are American identity formation and the 1.5 generation, particularly undocumented immigrants. Over the summer of 2014, she worked with the "Art of the Hunt" exhibit. She spent the summer learning about the process of opening a new museum exhibit and how to build educational materials for a population that is more diverse than a mostly homogeneous classroom of seventh graders.

Brienna Fleming's hometown is Erie, PA, to which she returned after living in Laramie from 2009 through 2015. In 2011, she graduated with a Master's in English Literature from the University of Wyoming. Her focus was contemporary Western fiction, specifically Annie Proulx's Close Range: Wyoming Stories. Brie focused her research on what she's been doing most of her life: waitressing.

Susan Clements is originally from Goochland, Virginia, but considers West Virginia home. She completed her BS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Aquatic Science at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. After working for five years in a water chemistry lab at a recirculating aquaculture research facility, she decided that science was not the best fit for her. She earned her MA in American Studies and Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming in 2015. Her thesis details the evolution of funeral practices in America and the rise of “green burial” as a nostalgic and environmental practice.

Sarah Gange has a BA in Comparative Studies and Russian Language and Literature from the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Before moving to Ohio for college, she grew up in Skillman, NJ. Sarah’s primary research interests are in tourism, urban history and identity. In addition to her academic interests, Sarah is passionate about housing rights and education. She is also interested in museum studies and has a background in photography. Outside of the university, Sarah spent a great deal of her time dancing with Laramie’s Dance Studio B.

Robin Posniak is from Dover, England. Robin came to the University of Wyoming after being presented with the British Association of American Studies' Peter Boyle Fellowship Award. Robin interned for the Denver based historic preservation organization, HistoriCorps. Working on a joint project with the US Forest Service, his work contributed to an ongoing effort to preserve historic buildings under the Forest Service's stewardship by way of converting them to vacation rental properties.​

Glen Carpenter says it’s fun to study culture in a scholarly way. His interests consist primarily of popular and consumer culture, with a significant focus on the grotesque, satire, and horror media. In the summer of 2014, UWTV selected Glen to help film and edit an experimental documentary where artists and scientists worked together to produce works inspired by the landscape of northern Wyoming. Glen’s thesis examines the relationship between marketers and the adolescent consumption of horror-related artifacts during the postwar period.

Class of 2012

Carly-Ann Anderson, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, became interested in the American Studies Program while finishing her B.S. in Biology at UW in 2009. After enrolling in a field class on historic preservation and working on the nomination for the University Neighborhood District, she was hooked. Carly-Ann formally enrolled in the American Studies and Environment and Natural Resources graduate programs in the fall of 2010. As part of her graduate assistantship, she is currently working on a survey of Laramie’s West Side Neighborhood as well as compiling lesson plans and research guides at the American Heritage Center. If she isn't out looking at historic neighborhoods, she may also be found counting dead birds and antelope droppings at a wind farm west of town. Carly-Ann hopes to tie her varied interests in biology, landscapes, and the built environment together and thanks the American Studies Program for the encouragement to do so.

Zeynep Aydogdu is from Turkey. She is a first year graduate student in the American Studies Program. She completed her BA in American Culture and Literature at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey. She was attracted to UW American Studies because of its interdisciplinary nature, its location in the heart of the American West, and the reputation of the friendly faculty members. Her academic interests include construction of national identity, transnationalism, and media with an emphasis on representations of gender and race; issues of power and validations of knowledge; and multi-ethnic literature.

Rie Misaizu is from Nagano, Japan. She graduated from UW in 2009 with a BA in anthropology. Her research interest is in the development, management, environmental preservation, ecotourism, and Native American relations of American national parks. This is the result of her working experience to visit many national parks in Japan as a tour conductor before coming to the US. For her interest in national parks, Rie thinks UW is an ideal place to study and feel grateful to be here, surrounded by many national parks that are just a few hours away. She is also interested in US military bases' influence on Okinawan culture and its people. For her free time, Rie enjoys going to national parks, cooking, and playing her SANSHIN (Okinawan version of Japanese three-stringed instrument similar to a banjo), with an amateur technique.

Julia Stuble comes to American Studies from western Wyoming with an environmental education and journalism background. She completed her MA in Environmental Studies from Prescott College in 2010, focusing on western Wyoming ranching families’ attachment to place and the language they use to express that attachment. Julia completed her English BA at UW in 2006, but instead of picturing this as a full circle, she sees this as the beginning to a new spiral, one in which she hopes to combine her interests in Wyoming identity and construction of place and community in western Wyoming with cultural geography perspectives on landscape. Though she appreciates the return to Laramie's college-town atmosphere, she plans to teach place-based English and outdoor ecology programs in public schools anywhere west of the Mississippi, but hopefully in Wyoming.

Class of 2011

John Agricola is from Gadsden, Alabama. He received his B.A. in History and American Studies from the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa. After college, he worked for a few years in an American art museum as an Education Coordinator. John was drawn to the program for its reputation in the areas of visual and material culture. He is intrigued by cultural constructions of regional identity, and he hopes to thread together a course of study that examines cross-regional, trans- Mississippi, cultural exchange. He hopes to focus his analysis of identity and regional difference on the myth of the West, and more specifically, on various genres that mythologize frontier violence- especially vigilantism. John's interests are eclectic and include: early American mass entertainment, the various ways "last stand" art has been cinematized, Native American representation, 19th century travel histories, and heritage tourism. He currently is working for the Wyoming Humanities Council, but in his spare time he enjoys the chance to fly-fish in the scenic Snowy Mountain Range.

Emma J Dodds is from Hertfordshire in the UK. She holds a BA Honors degree in American Studies and spent an exchange year at San Diego State University as a history major. Her research interests lie in the areas of westward migration and settlement, particularly the social history of frontier regions and wider issues of gender. Her previous study of the West focused primarily on California history, and she hopes her time at the University of Wyoming will allow her to expand and develop her interests as well as forming a foundation for comparative work. Emma was drawn to the American Studies M.A. at UW as she believes that the interdisciplinary nature of the program affords the best-suited approach from which to explore such a vast, diverse and contested area as the American West.

Molly Goldsmith is a 2009 graduate of Saint Mary's College with a B.A. in History. Although she entered the University of Wyoming's American Studies Program planning to continue her studies of American history and philosophy, she discovered historic preservation in her first semester and never turned back. Having grown up in Princeton, a small town in north-central Illinois, her focus is based on rural community issues and structures that she feels best represent the ideals of small-town America: churches, railroad stations, and downtowns. American Studies allows her to trace the cultural developments of communities through historical research and the built environment. In her spare time, Molly avidly follows Notre Dame football and attempts to perfect her banana bread recipe.

Hailing from the hills outside of Sheridan, Wyoming, Jascha Herdt is a second year graduate student in the American Studies program. His primary interests are music in American culture, with a focus on Blues, Jazz, and Rock and Roll. He plays the drums, guitar, bass, and dabbles in the keys and singing. As a musician, life includes being involved in two groups; one a duo, and the other an Americana band. When not enraptured in listening, practicing or performing music, Herdt enjoys cooking a good homemade pizza with a sauce and dough made from scratch. He also enjoys spending time with great friends. As a graduate student, he continues to explore and incorporate his passion for music into the field of American Studies.

Marit Maidla graduated from the University of Tartu, majoring in English language and literature. Although not her major, she managed to dabble in American studies. She hopes that her background in literature and history but also language studies, will enable her to focus on her varied academic interests, which include gender studies, pop culture, and especially the representation of religious rhetoric (and aspect) in political thought in the U.S. culture. She is interested in the intertwining of history, social movements, and pop culture, understanding that the discipline of American studies entails almost everything. She hopes that her background will enable her to see the USA from a different point of view. Those insights of a 'legal alien' could prove interesting to people who have spent their lives inside the phenomenon that she is still discovering.

Brie Richardson grew up in Wyoming, did her undergraduate work in New York and California, and graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in Religious Studies. Her graduate interests focus on the intersection between American Studies and Environment and Natural Resources. Her thesis research focuses on analyzing a particular kind of Western masculinity through contemporary Western film and poetry. She is also interested in how the concepts of morality and mortality are invoked in these media, specifically in their construction of a prototypical Western Male. Brie is well-pleased to be studying and living in Laramie and is grateful to be a part of the American Studies cohort.

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