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Prospective Students

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Michael Dweck '09

"I loved learning facts and my approach was to download everything," Dweck said of his Rutgers experience. He took a lot of history classes, as well as some courses in communications and British literature, but his world changed when he stumbled upon "American Studies 101" taught by Angus Gillespie. He was drawn to the interdisciplinary approach of the field, which includes the study of history, sociology, literature, folklore, and more.

"I'd always learned in a very structured way, but when I went to Rutgers and became an American studies major, I learned that there were six sides to a story and many different approaches," Dweck said. "Rutgers taught me how to learn, how to think - skills I use every day in business."

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Elizabeth Jurczak '08

Project Manager at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Care - Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC).

I work with health care providers from all over the country. I have to be able to effectively communicate with different people each day. Through an interdisciplinary curriculum, the American Studies department provided me with a solid foundation in writing skills and intellectual skills that set me apart from other applicants. The ability to focus, listen, and write well continues to help me every day at work, in every job I’ve held, as well as in my personal life and relationships. 


Matthew M. Oliver '94, RLS '97

Litigation Partner, Lowenstein Sandler LLP, White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group


Two skills I acquired as an American Studies student that I use in my current job are critical thinking and persuasive writing.  As a lawyer, I am constantly called on to analyze and deconstruct arguments, and the ability to think critically about my adversary’s position and my client’s position are absolutely essential.  Likewise, persuasive writing is an incredibly important asset as a litigator, as effective communication with courts, arbitrators, and adversaries can make the difference between a winning legal strategy and losing one.


John Connelly '14

Political Organizer, New Jersey Citizen Action

Currently I work as an Organizer with New Jersey Citizen Action, a statewide grassroots organization that fights for economic and social justice. We combine on the ground organizing, legislative advocacy, and electoral campaigns to win progressive policy and political victories that make a difference in people’s lives. Through education, outreach and direct services, we empower people to take control of their economic futures.

One of the most important take-aways from the American Studies program is the importance of narrative-- the ways in which we remember the past and the stories we tell about the present. Community organizing involves a lot of helping people articulate their own stories, and training them to become better at using their lived experience to work for policies that would benefit their communities. 


Judith Garber '11

Health Policy and Communications Fellow , The Lown Institute

The American Studies program at Rutgers gave me an essential grounding in American history, politics, policy, and culture, that formed the basis for my future interest in public policy. The view of an American "ideal" in work, family, and citizenship have changed so much throughout history and yet are still concepts we struggle with as a country today. Learning about this process made me want to be a force in shaping American ideals toward a future of social justice, and gaining more experience in research, writing, and critical thinking has made me confident I can do so.

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