Student Testimonials

Ben Nebo, 2008

After receiving an American Culture and Difference minor, I continued my studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies as a Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidate concentrating in International Management and Mandarin Chinese. The analytical skills taught in all ACD courses enabled me to excel at graduate-level research.

My understanding of American history, folklore, and myth-narratives, moreover, proved indispensible when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer promoting mutual understanding in Malawi. The inter-personal and cross-cultural communication skills taught in American Culture and Difference also came in handy when advising Malawian social change organizations engaged in HIV impact mitigation.

As a recently returned Peace Corps volunteer, I trust that the critical thinking and writing skills I honed as an American Culture and Difference minor will enable me to satisfy the Monterey Institute’s graduation portfolio requirements. Upon obtaining my MPA, I intend to use the skills taught in ACD and my knowledge of Sino-African relations to help U.S. and Chinese institutions finance African development.

Adam A. Maikkula, 2007

I started working in technology sales after graduation and realize that it has been beneficial having a better/deeper understanding of the world we live in after participating in the American Culture and Difference program. The fact that the program is interdisciplinary helps give you a well rounded world view which comes in handy when interacting with a variety of different people and situations day to day. I find that having the ability to talk about a variety of different topics really helps break the ice and develop relationships by having at least a basic understanding of many topics that affect the culture(s)/society I/we live in. It is pretty common that people think I was a psychology, sociology, poli sci, history, or English major since we studied all of these subjects (directly and indirectly) in cultural studies; I was really an entrepreneurship major with a minor in ACST. I would say the cultural studies program is the millennial generation's History major. I expect it to have a positive influence when applying for grad school because it encapsulates such a vast variety of subjects/knowledge which I believe is important in the world we live in and will continue to be of value throughout the future.

2013 Update:

Cooper High School International Baccalaureate graduate, Adam Maikkula, dropped out of college to pursue a business opportunity in 2003. Though the opportunity failed after the FCC approved number portability, he returned to study Entrepreneurship and American Cultural Studies at the University of St. Thomas in 2004. “That’s when I learned how others actually studied entrepreneurship rather than just drop out of school, jump off a cliff, and hope to at least assemble a helmet if they don't learn to fly on-the-fly,” Adam said. In 2007, he created an American Cultural Studies independent study on the development of online communities. "That type of class didn't exist yet since Facebook was just starting to consume campuses across the midwest,” he said. read more...

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Riley Abbott, 2006

I find myself in Washington DC looking for continued work in International Development. I've just returned from a 27 month service with the Peace Corps in El Salvador. There I worked in Municipal Development and community organizing, increasing citizen participation and strengthening civil society groups as well as institutions. It was exhilarating work and I want to continue it.

My great education from St. Thomas and the American Cultural Studies program was in no small part helpful for me in my ability to do such things.

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