Profile of Graduates

Class of 2015

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."

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.


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.

Class of 2014

Anavictoria Avila : - Family, Violence, and Youth Development

After graduation in May 2014, Anavictoria returned to Southern California to provide post-surgery recovery care for her mother.  She also worked with several community organizations to develop pilot projects for training Anaheim’s youth in civic awareness and engagement.  With the many policy and political changes occurring in the City of Anaheim, Anavictoria wanted to support her community’s youth throughout summer projects so that their voices and concerns influence current policy discussions.  Anavictoria is currently a 2L at Northwestern School of Law, where she hopes to build from the substantive and practical foundation that her American Studies Major provided for serving and advocating for her community.

Shabnam Banerjee-McFarland : - Politics of Cultural Representation

After a series of trial-and-error attempts to start a career in fashion retail and marketing, Shabnam Banerjee-McFarland did a 180 turn and channeled her energy into working with non-profits and learning more about the importance of disseminating change-making policy in all popular culture channels. Since January 2015, she has been working in book marketing with Berrett-Koehler Publishers, a mission-based publishing company in Oakland, CA that publishes books on social justice, conscious capitalism, and self-help in order to "Create a World That Works For All." Most recently, she is designing an extensive research program to confront the extreme lack of diversity in publishing, in hopes of elevating voices from communities that are underrepresented in the industry. A true SF native through and through, Shabnam continues to fight to maintain the colorful vibrancy of San Francisco & Oakland by writing for her personal blog and the Berrett-Koehler blog.