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American Studies|College of Arts and Sciences

Current Graduate Students

Class of 2014

Erin Anderson is from Storm Lake, Iowa. She earned her B.A. in History and English from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN in 2010. She spent the following year as a Teaching Assistant for the English Language Center at United International College in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China. During that year, she also traveled to Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Her academic interests include museum studies and material culture and American food culture. She is currently researching the representations of WWII food rationing in women's magazine advertisements. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, painting, and spending time outdoors.

Jenniffer Blaylock is from Laramie, Wyoming.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education social studies from the University of Wyoming in May of 1998.  She is currently teaching social studies at Laramie High School.  Her primary interest is within the field of American Studies is American History education in secondary schools.  She is also interested in the development and splintering of the American identity. 

Peter Gibbons graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2006 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a specialization in science, focusing on biogeochemistry, with a Minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Deeply rooted in the West as a native of Colorado, he came to the University of Wyoming to continue pursuing his environmental interests by combining American Studies with Environment and Natural Resources (ENR). His primary interests are cultural and environmental change in the West, the interaction between environment and society, and interactions between science and society. He found American Studies and ENR at the University of Wyoming to be an ideal fit for exploring these interrelated topics in an interdisciplinary way. Peter spends much of his time outside of school in the outdoors, on photography, studying his local environment, and maintaining all of the things that make exploring his interests possible.

Julian Saporiti of the Tennessee Saporitis was born unto Bob the Music Row Cowboy and Jacqueline the Painter. He moved to Wyoming as it was the last place he had not moved to in a previous life full of youthful rock n’ roll gallivanting. Having schooled on the east coast and become overly familiar with the hustle and bustle the megalopolis provides, Saporiti has found the small college town atmosphere of Laramie - located so near world class rock climbing and not lacking in culture both "high" and "not so high" - to be very conducive to graduate studies. These studies focus on American street culture, particularly ethnographic work with buskers or street musicians. From time to time, he can be seen performing his songs when the MFA program asks for his musical accompaniment at one of their readings. He is very fond of the American Studies program, its wonderful house, and the camaraderie he has experienced with his classmates.

Danielle Schmidt is a first year graduate student from Dimock, South Dakota (southeastern South Dakota). In 2012, she received her B.S. in History with a minor in Geography from South Dakota State University, where she also competed for four years on the Jackrabbit cross-country and track teams. After finishing up her undergraduate academic and athletic careers in May, Danielle married her best friend (and teammate), Kyle Schmidt, a Minnesota native. They moved to Laramie a week later so she could discover the field of American Studies, historic preservation, and, in general, the life of a graduate student. While pursuing the historic preservation emphasis, Danielle is also finding her way into sustainability topics, an avenue in which she hopes to bring in other personal interests of nature, plants, and gardening. Where this might take her academically, she is still uncertain but, yet, reassured in the flexibility of American Studies. Outside of school, Danielle and her husband love running (especially in Happy Jack of Vedauwoo), hiking in the Snowies, trying new recipes, reading, keeping tabs on their old teammates as well as the world of professional running, and taking in the unique culture and landscapes of Laramie and the West. Danielle is also attempting to bake all of their bread from scratch, while Kyle is embarking on brewing hard cider and beer.

Molly Sublett grew up in Golden, Colorado and came to Wyoming in 2004 after graduating high school.  She received her BA in English and Secondary Education from UW in 2009 and spent the next three years teaching eighth grade English in Newcastle, Wyoming.  She was drawn to the American Studies program because of its interdisciplinary focus and its commitment to providing students with opportunities to tailor a program of study to their academic and professional interests.  She is interested broadly in the intersections of 20th century American literature, history, and pop culture, and her time in the program has afforded her the chance to develop interests in the construction of youth culture, ecocritical approaches to literature and cultural studies, and the myriad ways in which knowledge is constructed and shared.  She would like to structure her research around some of these ideas, hopefully combining them with her interests in science fiction and young adult literature.  Ultimately, she plans to return to the classroom, where she hopes to develop a more interdisciplinary, integrative, relevant style of teaching English and the humanities to secondary-level students.  Her spare time is devoted to good conversation, reading, running, and enjoying the culture of Laramie and its surrounding landscape.

Marie Vrubelova is from Brno in the Czech Republic. She graduated with a BA in English and Civics from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. During her undergraduate studies, Marie completed a year of a study abroad program at the University of Tennessee, where she was introduced to American Studies.  Interdisciplinary approach of American Studies program at the University of Wyoming allows her to explore her academic interests in American immigration and foundation of American identity. In her spare time, Marie loves playing rugby and doing Crossfit.

Class of 2013

Kirsty Callaghan is from Milton Keynes in the UK. She graduated with a BA in American Studies in summer 2011 from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, having spent her third year abroad at the University of Oregon as an exchange student. Soon after finishing her undergraduate degree, Kirsty came to Wyoming to pursue her interests further, thanks to an award she received from the British Association for American Studies. She is hoping to extend her research in the area she examined for her undergraduate thesis —€“ that of Latinos in the US, and is particularly interested in the issues surrounding immigration, assimilation, citizenship, American identity, borders, and the political engagement of minority groups. She hopes that the American Studies program at UW, with its truly interdisciplinary approach, will expand her interests, while enabling her to learn about an area of the United States remarkably different from places she has experienced before.

Norma Haskell is a fifth generation Wyomingite. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wyoming in 1986, majoring in Theatre/English Secondary Education. Norma taught school for one year in Jeffrey City, Wyoming and was then an editor for UW's College of Agriculture for five years before resigning and becoming a re-enactor/oral historian at the Wyoming Territorial Park 1990-2001. She has performed Martha Jane Canarie, Calamity Jane (her great great-grand aunt), all over the United States, mostly affiliated with the Great American Wild West Show. Norma is in American Studies to earn a master's degree in hopes of further professionalizing and preserving her personal history. Her goal is to become a well-known and respected source on not only Calamity Jane, but on preserving oral history, teaching people how to tell stories and performing for people interested in what she has to tell.

Mathies Gorm Jensen, originally from Skovshoved, Denmark, is visiting the University of Wyoming on exchange from the University of Southern Denmark, where he has a BA in History with a minor in Political Science. His main academic interest is US Politics and History, specifically the Civil War. Once finished at the University of Wyoming, he will return to the University of Southern Denmark and write his Master thesis. When not involved with school, Mathies loves spending time with his wife Emily and obsessing over his other love, the Boston Red Sox.

Kiah Siobhán Karlsson is mostly from Colorado by way of entirely too many states to warrant mention. She holds a B.A. from University of Colorado at Boulder in English with Creative Writing, and Ethnic Studies. Still uncertain whether a future in academia is in her calling—”whilst escapist dreams of part-time scholarly pursuit as farmer, social worker, or expatriate fill her mind—she has decided to test out a master'€™s degree in a setting not too far from home base. Her love of things €œAmerican stems from a geographically sporadic childhood and from a classic combination of love and hate—€”deep connection to the North American landscape and its diverse people and history despite an undercurrent of critique, which remains un-willfully present. Kiah'€™s academic passion is literary, but she believes you cannot read or write good literature without healthy doses of historical and cultural context. Her academic interests broadly include 20th-century literature, frontier history and border studies, nationalisms and identity, race in U.S. culture and history, post-colonialism, Native American and Chicano studies and literature, and fiction writing. In her spare time, she'll jump at any excuse to be outside, listening to music, driving, or cooking.

Jessica Marie King is a first-year American Studies graduate student. She earned her Bachelor's from Indianapolis University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2006. Since college, she has worked as a freelance journalist for various publications including the Wyoming Business Report and the Cowboy State Free Press, and was News Editor for The Independent Record in Thermopolis. Her academic interests include narrative and feature writing. Within American Studies her concentration is on women's issues, particularly domestic violence, and spirituality.

Shaun Milligan was raised in Burns, Wyoming and graduated from Burns Jr./Sr. High School. He completed his undergraduate studies at Hastings College in Philosophy and International Studies, and during his time there, studied abroad in Paris at the L'Institut Catholique de Paris. Shaun's goal in American Studies is to complete a study of resource development on cultural landscapes, particularly in the western United States. He is a massive fan of œThis American Life, David Sedaris, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Shaun spends his spare time grooming and training his cat, Miss Catherine Berkeley.

Linda Rae Waggener is part of a Wyoming pioneer family. She received a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Wyoming in 1988, and a MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in 1991. After spending over 15 years as a Reference Librarian in public libraries in Wyoming and Texas, Linda is shifting to a career in the academic library. She is now a part-time student and works full-time at UW's Coe Library in the Interlibrary Loan department. As for American Studies, with her Wyoming heritage and love of libraries, she is interested in the history of the Carnegie Libraries in Wyoming and the stories behind them. In Linda's spare time, she enjoys cheering on the Cowgirl basketball team, the Cowboy football team, and watching NASCAR. But what she really enjoys is reading, especially biographies, mysteries, women's fiction, and anything else that happens to catch her attention.

Sonjia Weinstein comes to American Studies from a background in design. She received her bachelor's of fine arts from Rhode Island School of Design in 1988. Shortly after graduating, she moved to Zurich, Switzerland where she worked in graphic and communication design until 1997. On coming back to the U.S. she moved into publication management for a few years. In 1999, she moved to Lander, WY where she met her husband and started a family. For the past ten years, Sonjia has been involved with sustainable building and home design consulting. At this point she plans to focus her studies in American Studies on environmentally and socially responsible built environments. She also enjoys long distance biking, cross-country skiing, and short triathalons.

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