Graduate Profiles

Isis Dillard - Politics, Law, and Race

After graduation, Isis plans to build a career that excites her passion for communication, digital marketing, and social media. Starting January 2016, she will be working full time as a Market Development Representative for a technical recruitment company called TalentBin in San Francisco. Isis’s ultimate academic goal is to return to school in 2018 to pursue a Master’s of Business Administration and a Master’s of Public Administration. These degrees will allow her to make a practical impact on how business institutions intersect with ideas of race, sex, class, gender, and disability.

African American Studies W124: Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King
African American Studies 139: African American Social Organizations and Institutions
African American Studies 139: Education
American Studies H110: More than One Country: On Being and Belonging in America
American Studies H110: American Rebels and Revolutionaries
Gender and Women's Studies 130AC: Gender, Race, Nation, and Health

Thesis Isis Dillard : - "Just Say No!": The War on Drugs in the Reagan Era and the Privilege of Choice (Class of 2015)

A moral panic erupted in the 1980s when stories about crack cocaine saturated the American media. Isis's thesis outlines social thought about drugs and drug use in the 1980s, explores medical opinion about drug use, compares how policy and law were developed, analyzes propaganda depicting Black women as drug abusers, and ultimately develops a deep historical reading of the emergence and effects of the "Just Say No!" campaign. In her thesis, Isis argues that the campaign's slogan and practices reflect a "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality that is embedded in American culture and that is directly reified in structural inequality.

Neha Goel - Race, Politics, and Culture

After graduation, Neha, a double major in American Studies and Psychology, moved to the other side of the Bay to serve as the Project Manager for the Healthy Body Image Study at Stanford University and Palo Alto University. This clinical psychology research study aims to improve body image culture on college campuses by offering a suite of programs that are designed to prevent and treat the onset of eating disorder symptomology amongst college women. Neha hopes to attend a clinical psychology doctoral program in the Fall of 2017 and will utilize the racial, social, and political awareness that she gained from her American Studies courses in her future work as a clinician. Nehas ultimate goal is to work at the intersection of cultural and clinical psychology in order to address the stigma of mental health that affects all individuals, most especially people of color.

American Studies H110: Imagining America
English 166AC: Race and Performance
Ethnic Studies 100: Comparative Ethnic Literature in America
Gender and Women's Studies 129: Bodies and Boundaries
Psychology 166AC: Cultural Psychology
Psychology 167AC: Stigma and Prejudice

Thesis Neha Goel : - From East to West, Whiteness Is the Best: A Cultural Analysis of How South Asians Attain Social Status in America (Class of 2015)

In her senior honors thesis, Neha presents a larger discussion between two culturally distinct countries, India and America, that both suffer from problems of racism that similarly exhibit themselves through an internalized desire for whiteness as a means of gaining social status. She first notes how this desire for whiteness amongst South Asians is manifested physically throughthe socially pathogenic skinbleaching phenomenon and then shifts the conversation over to the American landscape to argue that IndianAmericanshave turned away from this physical demonstration of lightness in order to attain their own form of whiteness. In order to gain the same levels of social status, socioeconomic status, and social advancement that is associated with skin lightening practices in India, South Asian Americans are engaging in social, rather than physical, practices of whitening through an adherence to the model minority stereotype and through promotions of anti-Black racism. In order to accomplish this feat, Neha critically analyzed various cultural mediums, such as social media platforms, television shows, advertisements, literature, psychological research, and anthropological studies to provide evidence for her case.

Alexander Lee-Thomas - Race and Representation

After graduation, Alexander returned to southern California to spend time with family and pursue internships. In the Fall of 2015, he will enter the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. With an MFA, Alexander will work in television and film to increase representation of people of color and “create a new wave in motion pictures.”

African American Studies 139: Malcolm X
African American Studies 153: Toni Morrison
African American Studies 142AC: Race and American Film
American Studies H110: The Secret History of America
Film 104S: British Film
Music 102S: UK Music and Public Relations

Thesis Alexander Lee-Thomas : - Between the Lines: Where Intersectionality and "The Read" Meet (Class of 2015)

In his thesis Alexander Lee-Thomas applies Black feminist and quare theory to the popular podcast, The Read. Through close textual analysis of Kid Fury and Crissle's responses to contemporary racial, political, economic, and cultural events, Alexander explores the unfixed nature of identity and its intersections with oppression.

Tommy Statkiewicz - Intersectionality in American Social and Cultural Spaces

UC Berkeley and the American Studies department have afforded Tommy a newfound voice and confidence that he graciously embodies. While he finalized his senior honors thesis on trans*undocu individuals in America, Tommy apprenticed on three local queer films to indulge his creative instinct. He also completed his Board of Immigration Appeals Level 1 Accredited Representative status with Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) and was hired as their Legal Services Coordinator in June of 2015. Tommy plans to attend law school in the fall of 2017 so that he may continue empowering and supporting LGBTQ and undocumented communities. Tommy feels fortunate to have the support of his wife, Clara Mae, with whom he loves exploring the American landscape via road trips and someday plans to travel beyond U.S. borders.

 

Education 195C: Special Topics in the Foundations of Teaching
Education 130: Knowing and Learning in Mathematics and Science
American Studies H110: Honors Seminar: Imagining America
American Studies 182E: Urban Field Geography of San Francisco
Architecture 110AC: The Social and Cultural Basis of Design
Gender and Women's Studies 129: Bodies and Boundaries

Thesis Tommy Statkiewicz : - Trans*Undocu in America: An Intersectional Dream (Class of 2015)

While there has been an increasing focus on transgender and undocumented communities in the last two decades, there has been limited focus on the intersectionality of the two identities, referred to as trans*undocu within Tommy Statkiewicz's honors thesis. The current attention on trans*undocu women from Mexico and Central America in detention centers deserves awareness and immediate action, but many more trans*undocu individuals from various countries of origin and points on the transgender spectrum need to be heard as well. However, this is not just a trans*undocu issue; injustices experienced by trans*undocu individuals are also experienced by the larger American society. Trans*undocu individuals face racial profiling, are denied health benefits, are targets of violence and sexual harassment, and face family rejection, among other obstacles that each American can relate to because it has happened to them or someone they know. And yet despite the layered hurdles faced by trans*undocu individuals, their resilience to live life authentically and their desire to take part in the American Dream too is shared by each American. This narrative cannot be ignored because the trans*undocu story is an American story.

Allison Wallace - Race, Gender, and the American Body

After graduation, Allison began working full-time at nonprofit that helps low-income students earn four-year degrees. As a Development and Communications Coordinator, Allison writes grants, crafts promotional material, and supports all philanthropic engagement activities. Though Allison no longer writes cultural studies papers, she thinks about questions of race, nationhood, gender, belonging, and bodies (among other American Studies topics) daily.

American Studies 101: The Atomic Age
Gender and Women's Studies 142: Women in the Muslim and Arab Worlds
African American Studies 144: Cultural Studies
American Studies H110: Honors Seminar: More than One Country: On Being and Belonging in America
American Studies H110: Honors Seminar: Chicano/Latino Art/Literature in Its Place: Los Angeles, Albuquerque, New York
Gender and Women's Studies 129: Bodies and Boundaries

Thesis Allison Wallace : - The Corporeality of Contraception: Reading Degeneracy, Resistance, and Nation through the Body in The Birth Control Review (Class of 2015)

In her honors thesis, The Corporeality of Contraception, Allison interrogates Margaret Sangers seminal reproductive rights magazine, The Birth Control Review. Utilizing Black feminist theory and body scholarship, she examines how the body is manipulated in early 20th century reproductive rights discourse to service different projects: as a political tool to defend white womens reproductive autonomy, as an object of resistance against racial oppression, as well as a legible text for eugenicists to discern which individuals are fit to make up the nation. The vignettes in the Review ultimately illustrate the disturbing alliance between white feminists and eugenicists, as both communities worked to demarcate which bodies were desirable and at the fore of national progress and which abject bodies required violent erasure.