AMST Majors Summer 2014




This summer, I was a Beat Writer for Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League in Wareham,Cape Cod, MA. As the beat writer, I composed daily game recaps and feature stories for the team's website. I also coordinated the team's Facebook and Twitter feeds before, during, and after games to provide fans with updates about the team. At times, I also had the unexpected pleasure of helping broadcast a few of the games by filling in as a color commentary analyst. I met some amazing people involved with the Wareham organization, the Cape League, and the local community. Oh, and I got to watch baseball every night for two months.

My American Studies and Journalism courses prepared me with the communication skills I needed to execute my job throughout the summer. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary approach of American Studies forced me to consider different aspects of my experience, beyond the basic responsibilities of my job. For example, what does the culture of the Cape League suggest about the people who participate in or attend the games? What does the culture suggest about the land and space in which these games take place? These are just a couple of the interesting questions I was able to confront this summer.












This summer, I was an Intern with the San Francisco Office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. My day to day responsibilities were varied and numerous, including administrative (answering constituent calls, scanning news stories each morning, sorting mail), constituent-based (summarizing casework, inputting/updating cases in office database, drafting letters to agencies and constituents), and fieldwork-based (preparing memos on relevant issues for the Senator and her staff, sitting in on meetings with interest groups around the state, and other research related projects). 

Through this internship, I was able to personally witness a small sliver of how our subject of study--America!--is run. Interactions with constituents provided insights into the cultural and political makeup of the state of California; our office's casework division exemplified the complex relationships between individuals and the government; and fieldwork highlighted the relevant and diverse issues facing the state and nation as a whole. The most powerful aspect of my time with Senator Feinstein's office was how I experienced the major events of summer--Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, unaccompanied minors at the border, ISIS, Ferguson, and so forth--in the company of people who directly determine how they affect and shape the country.














Over the summer I worked at the law firm Swanson, Martin & Bell LLP in Chicago, IL.  I worked with attorneys, paralegals, and secretaries helping organize documents for cases and delivering documents to a court house.

I think this relates to American Studies because I used critical thinking skills to analyze certain documents and was exposed to the political and legal system of our country.



This past summer I was the online editorial intern at Darling Magazine in Los Angeles, California.  I dealt mainly with Darling’s online blog, editing articles and adding finishing touches to the posts before they went live, contacting current and future contributors, managing the Darling twitter account, shipping lots of magazines, assisting during video and photo shoots, and helping at Darling events.  Darling also releases a quarterly print magazine for each season, and I was able to witness the hard work and dedication that goes into the creation of a Darling magazine.

I was able to use the skills I have learned from taking journalism courses, analyzing visual culture, and understanding American identities in my interview and work at Darling.  Darling Magazines are pieces of our American culture, representing certain values and ideas associated with gender and femininity. 











Last summer I was in Alexandria, MN playing in a collegiate baseball league with players from other universities from all over the country. We traveled the Midwest and even went as far up as Canada



Last summer I spent a week in Canberra doing research in the archives on the Australian reaction to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  This research was funded by UROP with the American Dream grant.

I got to look at a lot of incredible documents and got a lot of research that will be very helpful for my senior thesis.



Last summer I participated in an SSLP (summer service learning program) in Lawrence, MA, at the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence as an activities counselor with kids aged 7-16. Lawrence has historically been an immigrant city, from the Irish, Italians, Polish, etc. to the present, where the majority of the population is Latino (predominantly from the DR and PR). It is a struggling city that under the leadership of new mayor Dan Rivera has started to pick up in the recent past. During the summer I lived in a house in Andover, MA (one of the richest cities in MA, predominantly White) with 7 other Notre Dame students, all of who were working in Lawrence and 3 of who were working with me at the BGCL. Through working with the kids and commuting from Andover to Lawrence everyday, I witnessed such great disparity from a racial, socioeconomic and political standpoint between cities that were literally next to each other. Though hardly a new phenomenon (see also: South Bend and Notre Dame, JHU and Baltimore) it was incredibly frustrating to compare the education quality between kids in Andover and kids in Lawrence.

As an American Studies major I hope to study more about the underlying systems that were historically created to keep those in power in power (as well as those without without), their intersections with race and class, how we continue to perpetrate such inequality (a phenomenon Beverly Tatum calls "the smog we breathe"), and how we can reform these systems to be more just. On a happier note, I really had a wonderful experience working with the kids this summer. I needed the detox from college life and I got it!

















This past summer I interned for Indiana Legal Services in their South Bend office. I served as an intake interviewer which involved speaking with potential clients over the phone and in person regarding their requests for legal assistance. As someone who plans on attending law school, this was a great opportunity to get first-hand experience in a legal office setting and also learn about the numerous civil legal issues low-income individuals face.

During this internship, I heard the personal stories of many Americans and was able to relate the issues they are facing with topics I have discussed in my American Studies classes, specifically how American social structures such as social class and the civil legal system intertwine.



This summer, I enjoyed a Sales & Marketing Internship at Payson Casters/Roll-A-Way Conveyors in Gurnee, IL. The company manufactures and sells casters, brakes, wheels, conveyors, plates, and other related components and parts. While at Payson, I worked on a wide variety of roles and tasks. I mainly worked within the Payson Casters Sales department, doing everything from customer sales analysis reporting and product sales analysis reporting to making sales calls and helping out with customer service. On the marketing side, I specialized in coming up with ideas and ways to improve the Roll-A-Way website. I also played a key role in putting out press releases for new products. I came up with the idea of using YouTube as a marketing platform show off how well our products work. Some of the main improvements that I took away from this experience includes: communication, organization, decision-making skills, working in teams, working with customers, and creativity.

My summer internship relates to American Studies because the 10 week experience allowed me see America from a different perspective. I took on a distinct role as I worked with nearly everyone in the company from the president and owners all the way to the manufacturing and assembly team members in the factory. Working on such a variety of jobs and getting to know so many people, not only taught me about the ins and outs of the business, but it also was important in providing me with new viewpoints and perceptions of working America. While this internship does not relate to American Studies that much, I am still extremely happy and lucky to take in this summer experience. I grew up around the company because it is a family business, and my dad and three uncles work there. Before the internship, I had a general understanding of Payson, but it was interesting learning more in detail about what the company and the business is all about. From my summer position, I came to really realize the important roles that this American manufacturing company and all American companies play in American society and business

Also, before starting my internship, I completed a three-week summer course at ND, US Civil Rights Movement.



I spent the summer interning in the manuscripts department of the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California (just outside of LA). I mostly located potential exhibit sources and evaluated their relevance to a future National Parks-related library exhibit, though I also spent a fair bit of time wandering around the gorgeous gardens.

My American Studies background absolutely helped me to approach this research with confidence, and it helped to be able to think about the founding of the National Park Service from several different angles, identifying biases and assumptions that were at play during the construction of the different narratives.



I did Notre Dame Vision, a faith conference for high school kids, here on campus this summer. I was a Small Group Mentor for the program. I aided high school kids in figuring out what God's call was for them in their lives.

This relates to American Studies because I was able to connect my faith culture with the faith culture that these kids presented to us. It was a formation of young religion in America (and surrounding areas) and the culture with it.



I spent my summer doing an SSLP in Des Moines, Iowa at a Boys & Girls Club.  I had a great time and certainly learned a lot about service and childcare as well as about myself.  I lived with ND alums and worked with kids ages K-5, doing enrichment activities and going on field trips.  

I would say that I got to experience racial and class dynamics in a unique way: through they eyes of an 8 year old.  I thought it was pretty cool, and it's made me consider if I one day want to be a teacher or work with children. My kids were the greatest and I miss them everyday. 



I did an internship in Washington, D.C. at the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and I worked in the "Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church". My work mainly dealt with Hispanic Ministry and the formation of leaders in Parishes of ministry to Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S. 

This was a cool internship to do, especially since I had taken Prof Cummings' "Catholics in America" class. Since I was at the center of the Catholic Church in the U.S., I got to learn about many of the ways in which Bishops are trained and how they then relay this info down to the people in their respective dioceses. 



This past summer I was the Pricing & Programming intern for Case IH (one of the agriculture divisions within CNH Industrial).  I lived near Racine, WI and worked on a new internal audit process, Q3 forecasting, and various spend reports throughout the summer.  Since Case IH is an agriculture equipment brand, I had the opportunity to meet many individuals within the agriculture industry.

This experience opened my eyes to a whole different American subculture and I found myself redefining what 'being an American' (both in reality and in our collective consciousness) means.












This Summer I was one of two student editors for Dean Greg Crawford's upcoming book Beyond Stem.  I was located in South Bend and largely in charge of editing and expanding on a book that was almost entirely void of Arts and Letters example in a book that was focused around the idea of how universities need to stress the value of arts and letters classes to STEM students from early on. 

I think that this job related well to American studies because I was able to creatively assert within the book why arts and letters courses were necessary in education, but more importantly I was forced to draw comprehensive conclusions for each chapter that related highly complex ideas to one another.  American Studies prepared me very well for this summer experience and certainly showed me how valid the information I learn on a daily basis is in my everyday life (even outside of academia). 



In the month of May, I interned at a law firm in Cedar Rapids, IA (my hometown) that handles Social Security and Immigration cases. I spent the rest of the summer in the Toledo, Spain study abroad program. In Spain, I took a conversation class and a cultural history class. I think my Spanish language skills will come in very handy as the United States develops a larger and larger Hispanic community. In addition, dealing with immigration cases at RSH is very pertinent. I learned a lot about how the system works, and it sparked my imagination in ways I never imagined. It's obvious the system needs a revamp, but how?


















My summer started with our tennis team qualifying for the NCAA Sweet 16 and traveling to Athens, Georgia where we lost a close match to Alabama.  Then, I came home for two days to pack my bags and jet off to London for the Notre Dame Summer Abroad Program for six weeks.  Following the program, three friends and I backpacked Europe for two weeks, traveling to Greece, Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Interlaken (Switzerland), Vienna, and Prague.  Upon returning home, I spent the rest of the summer interning in the Notre Dame Sports Marketing Department (trying to pay off some of the large debts I accumulated while traveling) and playing tennis (attempting to work off the excessive gelato and pasta consumed in Italy).  

I felt that, while in Europe, I was constantly learning elements of various cultures and thinking of them in comparison to those of the United States--a habit that relates to American Studies as we are always discussing what it means to be an American.  Analyzing that same question in comparison to customs of various countries helped give me a broader perspective.  Additionally, a portion of my internship when I returned to the States was focused on cold calls to sell tickets.  Now, as we talk about fieldwork in Giamo's American Documentary class, I see several ties between my internship experience and our fieldwork project as far as establishing rapport, when to talk/when to pause, etc.  I'm excited to attempt to use some of the things I learned on the job for a very different project for the class!











I was in Tybee Island, Georgia doing an S.S.L.P. at the Fresh Air Home, a camp for kids ages 4-11 from mostly low-income backgrounds. I was a camp counselor and took care of kids for almost all hours of the day for eight weeks. I led them at activities and on field trips, played games, served meals, read to them, and helped with the upkeep of the camp, among many other things.

A big focus of the S.S.L.P. is confronting social issues, and the readings and papers for the S.S.L.P. class covered many of our country's big social problems, like economic inequality, racism, and gender relations. I would analyze social structures as the root of these problems while also caring for each camper as an individual who deserved to be cared for, regardless of background. I did reading and writing for the class and worked on my communication skills while working with a team of counselors- all things that the American Studies major encourages. I worked with kids from a variety of economic and ethnic backgrounds that helped me see the great diversity that is in American society. At the same time, I was able to care for them all because they each deserved it as individual human beings.



















Last summer I spent six week studying Spanish in Toledo, Spain on the ND Summer Toledo program. I took two classes there and also volunteered twice per week at an English immersion camp for local elementary school students. The best part of the experience was living with a host family; with them I engaged in discussion and debate about the cultural differences we encountered together -- these included linguistic, culinary, social and academic distinctions. I think I came to know my own culture more and definitely better understand how American culture is perceived abroad.











I had an internship at LaForce & Stevens which is a Public Relations firm in New York City. I was on the Entertainment and Lifestyle team at the firm in which I worked with wine and spirits and fashion retail. I dealt with 5 of the firms clients, building media lists, managing clothing samples, organizing media coverage, pitching to editors, generating client reports, and working special events.

One of the aspects of American Studies is consumption within the American culture/society and my job this summer dealt with just that. I focused a lot of trying to find the right products to fit the right consumer as well as further managing lists, analyzing consumers of a certain wine for example. I worked hands on with different products every day, further trying to gain publicity for them in order to satisfy the client. Whether it was trying to get a placement of a champagne in Food and Wine magazine, or figuring out what celebrities were needed to attend an event for that champagne in order for it to get publicity, I had to really think about the consumer. This internship was an amazing experience and I learned a ton about public relations, which I was not too familiar with prior to this internship.



I spent the summer in Rapid City, South Dakota working with the Rapid City Club for Boys through an SSLP program. The Rapid City Club for Boys is a recreation center that provides positive experiences for boys ages 6-17 that develop self-esteem and character in a safe and fun environment. During the summer, the boys participate in recreational activities and programs such as music, academics, sports, arts and crafts.

My primary responsibility was to serve as the Summer Jam Talent Show Director. I was in charge of promoting the talent show, recruiting children to join, choreographing routines, and supervising all practices as the children developed their acts. This job took up roughly half of my time while at the club. During the remainder of my time, I was able to play with boys, participate in outdoor activities, and help facilitate the day to day activities at the club. I thoroughly enjoyed my work this summer. One of the most important things I got out of the whole experience was a deeper understanding of my true passion for working with young boys.










This summer I spent the majority of my time studying abroad in London, England through the Notre Dame Summer Study Abroad Program.  I then spent an extra two weeks backpacking throughout Europe with three close friends. Words cannot begin to explain how absolutely incredible this summer was!

Being the AMST major that I am, I paid particular attention to the roles of gender, race, etc. within the English culture. Traveling throughout the non-English speaking countries (Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Spain, and France) offered even more cultural variations to explore, and I greatly enjoyed experiencing many languages, fashions, customs, and foods over the course of the trip. 














This past summer I was an intern at a commercial photography studio called JohnsonRauhoff in Benton Harbor, MI. I shadowed photographers and assisted on photo shoots for clients like Meijer, KitchenAid, Sams Club and Sur la Table.

I think that majoring in American Studies along with studio art was crucial for getting this internship. American Studies has taught me to be a real problem solver, to be quick on my feet, and to have the ability to communicate with all sorts of people, which are all necessary skills to have in any job or internship.