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2000's Alumni

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Tyler Barnett

Class of 2004

After I graduated in 2004 I worked at a non-profit in Chicago for two years (The HistoryMakers, which is the country's largest Black oral history archive), then went on to law school at Cornell. I practiced corporate law at large law firms in New York and Boston from 2009 through 2019, and since then I've moved to Western Massachusetts to serve as in-house corporate counsel to ISO New England, which is the non-profit entity that runs New England's energy grid and markets.

Sheri Berger

Class of 2005

     "I currently work at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, where I lead digital collections initiatives to support the care and public access to more than 1.3 million historical objects. I also work with partners across the Smithsonian to envision new modes of engaging with the humanities, for example by developing a project to archive web and social media content on contemporary events in women's history. 

     My career path was inspired and fostered by my time in American Studies, and in particular by the experience of writing my senior thesis. My advisor Professor Carl Smith encouraged me to pursue an undergraduate research grant, which funded my visits to archives with materials relating to my topic. Through these visits I became familiar with the institutions that collect and preserve cultural heritage, and planted the seeds of my career."



Karl Camillucci

Class of 2000

"I have great memories of my stint in the American Studies program. Where else can students explore the variety of distinctive and fascinating topics?  Nowhere else, I believe. What a great resource. American Studies gave me a space to pursue my interests in a more intimate atmosphere than the College at large. Glad to see it continues to do the same for others."

Ben Clark

Class of 2007

Like so many American Studies grads, I ended up going to law school. Since 2016, I have worked at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an enforcement attorney. Ending up at the CFPB has a direct tie-in to my work as an undergrad.  My thesis was about fair hosing, and specifically the way in which open-housing advocates from Montgomery County, Maryland shifted their rhetoric from one of inclusivity to local exclusivity as they set their sights on increasing the supply of affordable housing.  Immediately after undergrad, I worked in fair housing for four years. My thesis work definitely helped me get those jobs and set me up to be successful.In the year before law school, the fair housing organization I worked for lobbied heavily for the creation of the CFPB. I went to law school hoping to someday work for the agency. I do firmly believe that the serious study and academic pursuits that American Studies students engage in can set them up for a really rich and fulfilling career.  I would welcome any current students to reach out to me, especially if they find themselves in DC for a summer.

Todd Connor

Class of 2000

     "The American Studies program was foundational in my ability to establish an intellectual home at Northwestern University.  A place where the confines of a course of study could be pushed towards more expansive inquiry, and where I could engage in intellectual rigor alongside a group of trusted colleagues and friends." 



Caleb Durling

Class of 2001

     "American Studies was an amazing opportunity to work with incredibly bright faculty and classmates in a small setting.  I had multiple wonderful teachers like Carl Smith and Gary Fine in the program but none more so than Henry Binford.  

      After college, I did Teach for America for two years and taught a third year on a housing project in England.  I met my wife teaching and we returned to the US and I went to Northwestern for law school.  I am a partner at Fox Rothschild in Denver specializing in commercial litigation.




Peter Frosch

Class of 2001

     "I am a 2001 Northwestern graduate and American Studies major. Today live in St. Paul, Minnesota where I serve as President & CEO of GREATER MSP, the regional economic development partnership for the Minneapolis Saint Paul region. GREATER MSP is a public-private partnership of over 300 organizations working to strengthen the competitiveness of the metropolitan economy.

      The American Studies program was a rich and formative experience. It launched me into a fulfilling and challenging career that takes me around the world and enables me to make a positive impact on the lives of people in my local community. "



Lauren Gutterman

Class of 2003

"Majoring in American Studies at Northwestern was a life-changing experience for me.  I was a Theater major and was planning to become an actor, but my interests changed and I became passionate about women's, gender, and sexuality studies and U.S. history. The American Studies program allowed me to design my own course of study around these interests. In the process of writing my senior thesis on the New England Watch and Ward Society's anti-burlesque campaign in the 1930s, I was able to conduct archival research for the first time, and I began to envision a career in academia.  

     I'm now an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where I teach courses on the very same issues that captured my attention at Northwestern: women's and gender history, LGBTQ studies, popular culture, and social movements. I recently published my first book manuscript, Her Neighbor's Wife: A History of Lesbian Desire Within Marriage, and I co-host a podcast on the history of sexuality in the U.S. called Sexing History. 

      The Program in American Studies at Northwestern allowed me to follow my unique intellectual interests, to develop close relationships with faculty members, and to discuss American culture, politics, and history in small seminars which are rare at such a large institution. "



Benjamin A Kahan

Class of 2002

Benjamin Kahan is a Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Louisiana State University. He has held fellowships from Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Sydney, the National Humanities Center, the Reed Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is the author of Celibacies: American Modernism and Sexual Life(Duke, 2013) and The Book of Minor Perverts: Sexology, Etiology, and the Emergences of Sexuality (Chicago, 2019). He is also the editor of Heinrich Kaan’s “Psychopathia Sexualis” (1844): A Classic Text in the History of Sexuality (Cornell, 2016), The Cambridge History of Queer American Literature (under contract with Cambridge), and a co-editor of Theory Q, a book series from Duke University Press. 

Samuel Kleiner

Class of 2009

Sam Kleiner is a litigator at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. His book, The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged A Secret War Against Japan was published by Viking in 2017. He and his wife, Laura Temel, live in New York City.


Kate Lazarus

Class of 2005

I am a lawyer in private practice in San Francisco, California.

Sarah Lipton-Lubet

Class of 2002

For the better part of the last two decades, Sarah has been an advocate for reproductive freedom, gender equity and progressive change. Most recently, she served as Vice President for Reproductive Health and Rights at the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she led a skilled team in designing and implementing a bold vision for advancing access to abortion through legislative and regulatory advocacy, public education and culture change. Previously, through roles at the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Reproductive Rights, Natural Resources Defense Council and Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Sarah worked to advance the rights of pregnant workers, push back against religious refusals, and promote government accountability. Working against the right-wing takeover of the courts has been a cornerstone of her career.

Sarah graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University with a BA in American studies and earned her JD from Yale Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Honorable Richard Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Kristen Molloy

Class of 2008

After ten years on Capitol Hill as a health policy advisor, most recently for US Senator Tim Kaine, I've been running Government and Community Relations for the University of Pennsylvania health system based in Philadelphia. I know this is the time of year students are considering next steps (and it's an election year!) so I'm always happy to connect with those considering future careers in politics and policy.

Tim Mulvey

Class of 2005

Tim Mulvey serves as communications director for the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. In this role, he oversees messaging and public relations for the committee and serves as a senior advisor on communications matters to Chairman Bennie Thompson (MS), Vice Chair Liz Cheney (WY), and the committee’s members. With more than a decade of communications experience on Capitol Hill, Tim was the longtime communications director for the Democratic staff of House Committee on Foreign Affairs. During the Obama Administration, Tim held an appointment at the U.S. Department of State, working as a speechwriter for Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry and as communications director in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.  From 2009 to 2011, Tim was communications director for Representative Steve Driehaus (OH), and earlier worked as deputy press secretary in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY). Tim holds a Master’s Degree in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from Northwestern University. He lives in Washington, DC.

Aaron Neinstein, M.D.

Class of 2003

     "I have such fond memories of my time in the program and am grateful for the impacts it has had on my life and career – I even ended up pursuing a career in diabetes following my senior American Studies thesis work on diabetes. What made the American Studies program so unique and special was the way that it brought together very bright people with diverse backgrounds and interests, mixed us with highly talented, dedicated professors teaching on interdisciplinary topics, and let us loose to pursue together intellectually interesting debates and discussions. We learned how to think critically, to write, to debate, and to appreciate the power of ideas and evidence.  This ability to “speak across disciplines” has been invaluable in life and in my career in academic medicine.

     I’m Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where I have a clinical practice in Endocrinology, focused on diabetes care, and participate in medical education. I’m also Director of Clinical Informatics at the UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation, where I lead a multi-disciplinary team focused on advancing interoperability and digital transformation of care delivery. In the past, I helped lead the Epic EHR implementation at UCSF and was on the founding team of Tidepool, a non-profit that creates open-source software to empower people with diabetes. I have focused my career on empowering patients and physicians to better access, share, understand, and use health information for more connected, collaborative care."

Rebekkah Park

Class of 2002

     "The "AmStud" program were easily among my favorite classes in college, and the memories that really stick out were the times spent together outside of the classroom. We had a book club, where we all read the same book and then had the privilege of meeting the author. We read Maus by Art Speigelman and our conversation with him was memorable. I also remember our American Studies field trip to New York to study the history of American immigration with sociologist Nicola Beisel. We stayed in Chinatown, visited the Tenement Museum and Ellis Island, among other places. Our professors were not only a top notch scholars and teachers, but role models. 

     After earning my PhD in anthropology and leaving my tenure track job, I moved to New York to work as an applied anthropologist for a Danish company called ReD Associates. I feel that I have returned to my American Studies roots because I work at a consulting firm that draws from the humanities and social sciences. I work with former architects, journalists, political scientists, philosophers, among others. We help Fortune 500 companies change the way they view their industry or business, develop new visions for the future based on our observations of human behaviors, and to help businesses understand the people and the worlds that they live in today. The most recent project I just finished was studying conspiracy theorists in the US and the UK to better understand how and why people come to believe in conspiracy theories, and what and how people act upon that knowledge, if at all. The purpose of this project was to provide new insights that would help reduce disinformation and harmful extremism based on conspiracy theories."



Fritz Schenker

Class of 2007

     "I'm currently up in northern New York at St. Lawrence University as an assistant professor since Fall 2020. My training in American Studies at Northwestern led me to a PhD in ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin and directly informed my research on the imperial circulation of American popular music, primarily in the Philippines. I still think of myself as teaching American Studies courses in most of the class I offer, even if they are housed in a music department."



Daniel Schwerin

Class of 2004

Dan Schwerin is a co-founder of Evergreen Strategy Group, which provides strategic advice, policy development, and communications services to values-driven companies and organizations. He recently served as a senior advisor in the Biden White House, working on implementation of the American Rescue Plan. Previously, he was Hillary Clinton’s longtime director of speechwriting, book collaborator, and policy advisor. 

Neil Shah

Class of 2002

     "As a student in the American Studies Program I learned to think more holistically, and to digest/synthesize information more quickly. This is the aspect that has the biggest impact on my current occupation as an investor for Northwestern. The role is essentially to scour the globe looking for investment ideas and then to form partnerships to invest in those ideas. I think I seek information more broadly than others in my field as a result of American Studies. Also, I think the humanities in general teaches people about the human condition. Appreciating human behavior, motivations, etc is very important, and often overlooked. "



Mark Shpizner

Class of 2009

     “To me, American Studies stands out from most other programs at our university and at any other university because it is so multifaceted and lends itself exceedingly well to most areas of adult life. The program doesn't just encourage individual creativity — it requires it, forcing students to question and challenge seemingly everyday parts of our culture (many of which we likely take for granted) as cultural artifacts worthy of intellectual pursuit and analysis.  In this way, the program teaches students how to think in a world where we are increasingly teaching our kids — and, at work, our employees — how to do.  

     I've had unforgettable career opportunities that I can directly attribute back to what I learned in the American Studies program.  Right out of NU, I landed at the Bank of New York Mellon in NYC where, after a short year serving in an operations role, I joined a small team of senior sales executives at the firm as their junior support person.  My managers specifically chose me over the other candidates because they said I demonstrated a unique ability to think critically and synthesize and articulate complex ideas from multiple points of view.  This is exactly what NU's American Studies program teaches its students.   From there moved to BlackRock, to help establish and grow the firm's enterprise relationship management program catering to its top institutional clients.  I partnered with business leaders across our global franchise to deliver new, innovative investment and technology solutions to our clients, aligned to their evolving needs. I am the head of US & Canada Institutional Product Strategy.  I truly believe that the underlying skill set that made me a good fit to take on this opportunity comes from American Studies."