Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York  
American Studies


The last we heard…

Alumni Highlight:
Meet Alice Stryker

Alice Stryker graduated from Fordham University in 2009, summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History and American Studies with a concentration in Cultural Products. While she was at Fordham, she fell in love with Museum studies, and is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Museum Studies at George Washington University with a concentration in Exhibit Development and American Studies. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, she has also already gained significant experience in numerous museums including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.To  learn more click here

This is the last news we have from these American Studies alums. If you want to update your information, or have info about these or other American Studies graduates, please e-mail We want to hear from you!

Class of 2012:

  • Ariadne Blayde was recruited by Teach for America and is now a middle school science teacher in New Orleans, LA. After the 2-year teaching commitment, she will pursue her graduate degree and career in Playwriting. She was accepted into Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa and won the Chynn Undergraduate Essay Prize shortly before graduating.
  • Rebecca Gehman's thesis was titled "Fast Food for the Filipino Soul: Consuming Transnational Identity at Jollibee in Queens." Post-thesis, Rebecca finally re-discovered her roots on a trip to the Philippines to visit her family and continued her consumption "studies" through a trip to New Orleans. Realizing her passion for places, she currently works full-time as a placemaker for Development Counsellors International  representing Scotland, Thailand, Puerto Rico and Charleston economic development groups.
  • Melissa Lee Brumer's thesis title was titled “Sand, Sun, and Sex Tourism: What Really Happens. During College Spring Break." She is now a first year law student at Fordham Law School.
  • Catherine McNamara's thesis was titled "Cross-Bronx Double Cross: How the Cross-Bronx Expressway has Affected Pediatric Asthma in the Bronx." She graduated summa cum laude and was accepted into Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Alpha Theta. After graduation Catherine moved to Manhattan to continue her work with President Obama's reelection campaign. In addition to her campaign work, Catherine is studying for the LSATs and working on her law school applications.
  • Andrew O'Connell's thesis was titled "From Clayton Bigsby to Stuart Hall: Conceptions of Blackness and Authenticity in Chappelle's Show."  After graduating Summa Cum Laude following the 2011 fall semester, Andrew began working at ABC News Radio in New York.  A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Andrew plans on applying to law school in the fall.
  • Michelle Panzironi graduated in May 2012 and launched, a music discovery web service, in June.  Hypetree presents its listener with two songs that were self-uploaded by independent artists and asks them to choose which they like better. The votes tailor the music player to the listener's individual taste and are translated into feedback for the musician in the form of data analytics. In August 2012, Michelle and her co-founders were granted a U.S. Patent Pending for Hypetree. Michelle also works as a marketing & data analytics specialist at the NYC-based education website and edits Hypetree's blog, Seeds.
  • Lauren Sepanski’s thesis was titled “Tending the Flowers, Cultivating Community: Gardening on New York City Public Housing Sites,” an abridged version of which was published in the Spring 2012 Fordham Undergraduate Research Journal. While at Fordham she was accepted into Phi Beta Kappa and received the Orestes Brownson Award and the Alvin Leonard Award. Lauren recently had an article accepted for publication in the forthcoming Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning and Community-Based Research. She currently resides in Austin, Texas, and plans on applying for graduate school in American studies.

Class of 2011:

  • Liz Bowen's thesis was titled “Writing Life with Diabetes: The Subjectivity of Chronic Illness in American Memoir." After graduation Liz spent a couple weeks in Turkey with her family before taking a year to work and apply to graduate school. She was accepted into Phi Betta Kappa, Alpha Sigma Nu, and Phi Kappa Phi and also won the Ully Hirsch/ Robert F. Nettleton poetry prize.
  • Maryanne Engelbrecht's thesis was titled “Neighborhood Blogging: How Localized Websites are Redefining Community.” She is currently working part-time at the Old Stone Historic House in Brooklyn, assisting with daily operations and doing research while she continues to look for full-time employment in the museum education field.
  • Alex Filippo's thesis was titled “Peter the Nurse and Theresa the Politician:Exploring Gender Norms and Discrimination in the Workplace."
  • Alexandra Gaudio is attending Quinnipiac University School of Law. Her thesis was titled “Beauty and the Barbie Doll: When Life Imitates ‘Art.’”
  • Jerome Gonzalez's thesis was titled "Feminizing Presidents: Joseph Keppler and Gender in Gilded Age Political Cartoons.” Jerome continued working as a Mediator at the Better Business Bureau in Midtown over the summer plan before he moved to Washington D.C. to work as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill. Last year he served as President of the Fordham University Band and Orchestra and hopes to attend graduate school in Public Policy/Administration in a few years.
  • Geoffrey Johnson's thesis was titled "Download This: Artist Development and Interconnectivity in the Internet Age." After graduation he continued his work as a legal intern in the President Judge's office at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas as well as his work as the host and producer of The Fordham Music Show. He’s now studying at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
  • Eleni Koutroumanis's thesis was titled "So You Think You Know Dance? Popular Dance and Cultural Identity on Television." She’s taking a year off before attending law school while working as a research assistant for a professor at Yale Law School. Eleni spent last summer traveling throughout Europe.
  • Kate McGee's thesis was titled "Engendering Injustice: Drug Economies, Drug Laws, and the Marginalization of Women in New York State." After graduating with a double major in American Studies and History, Kate worked as a content producer at the Star Ledger in Newark for their website As of October 2011 she has taken a position as the Morning Edition news anchor and reporter at Reno Public Radio, an NPR affiliate. So Taylor Riccio (see below) is no longer the only American Studies major going west to find a fortune!
  • Sean McGonigle spent the summer working for his family's small business before starting law school at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His thesis was titled “Sectarianism and Citizenship: Church and State Debates in Nineteenth Century New York.”
  • Christina Moehrle thesis was titled “A Theory of Reciprocity: Native and Euro-American Gender Ideologies in the Nineteenth Century.” Last summer she continuing working at the Open Society Institute, where she has been for the past two years. At the end of July, Christina traveled across country with three of my friends to San Francisco, where she now serves as a Jesuit Volunteer.
  • Dan Murphy's thesis was titled "There's No Crying in Baseball: Feminization, Sport, and Spectacle in the All American Girls' Professional Baseball League." He’s now attending the University of Maryland Law School.
  • Taylor Riccio was the recipient of the Fechteler award for significant contribution to theater at Fordham University. He currently lives in St Louis where he works in various capacities for Shakespeare Festival St Louis, Stages St Louis, Dramatic License Productions, and the Touhill Performing Arts Center at the University of Missouri St Louis. He currently holds the lowest weekly average score in the Monday night bowling league at Saratoga Lanes in Maplewood, MO.
  • Kaylyn Toale was the recipient of the 2011 Orestes Brownson Award for excellence in the American Studies major (see the AS website for more on this Honor). She was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Alpha Sigma Nu. Her thesis was titled "From American Bandstand to Total Request Live: Teen Culture, Identity, and Music Television." This year she will serve in Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Tucson, Arizona where she will work as a Client Advocate at New Beginnings for Women and Children.
  • Justin Wright's thesis was titled “Gentrification in Spanish Harlem: Untold Stories of Area Residents.” He’s attending Elon University School of Law as a Leadership Fellow.

Class of 2010:

  • Matt Benjamin's thesis was titled "Digital Catacombs: Engaging Dispensational Identity In-Formation." We heard from him in spring 2012, and since graduation he has been working in the alumni office at Fordham Law School and "trying to pursue the music thing."
  • Jessica Cahill's thesis was titled "Where My Girls At? Women in Politics: How They Get Into Office, and What They Do There." She plans to work as a production assistant.
  • Sarah Devany graduated with Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honors. Her thesis was titled "Latino Connections: Exploring the Development of an 'Imagined Latino Community' in New York City." Sara is pursuing a career in the performing arts while working as a dance instructor at Long Island Dance Force in Copiague, NY.

Class of 2010

  • Carmela Muzio Dormani's thesis was titled "Encountering Gentrification: Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans in Williamsburg, Brooklyn." Carmela was the recipient of the 2010 Orestes Brownson Award for excellence in the American Studies major. Fordham has also honored her with the Bernardo Vega-Rigoberta Menchu Tum Award for Latin American & Latino Studies and the Rev. Joseph Fitzpatrick Award for Social Justice. She is working as an immigrant tenant organizer in Sunnyside, Queens through an organizing apprenticeship put on by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development and the New York Immigration Coalition. She eventually plans to go to graduate school.
  • Amanda Fiscina's thesis was titled "Covering Campus Chaos: Student Press and Student Protest During the New Left Movement." She was recognized as a recipient of the Edward A. Walsh Scholarship. The former editor-in-chief of Fordham's newspaper The Ram, Amanda is now the editor of one of AOL's community Websites,
  • Doug Giombarrese wrote a thesis titled  “Who’s the Boss?: Cultural Reception of Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ During the Reagan Era." He was awarded the James L. Kirtz Award in Music and is now attending Fordham Law School.
  • Al Gable's thesis was on "The Harlem Globetrotters: A Lesson on Wheelin’ and Dealin.’"
  • Katelyn Gray's thesis was "W ading Into the Deep End: Uncovering Racial Disparities in the Sport of Swimming.” She is now attending Fordham Law School.
  • Allison Haag's thesis was titled "An Exploration of Grief through the Reception of Bessie Smith and Janis Joplin." Her immediate plans are to instruct yoga in San Francisco to support her creative pursuits.
  • Patrick Kelly's thesis was titled "Take This and See What Happens: The FDA and Pharmaceutical Advertisings." Patrick's ambitions include moving to France to improve his fluency in French.
  • Sarah Laskin's thesis was titled "Black, White, and Copyright: Hegemony at Work in the Music Industry." She graduated Magna Cum Laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Sarah recently started a year of service with the NYC Civic Corps, an AmeriCorps program, working with New York cares to build, support and manage volunteer programs that affect critical impact areas of economic opportunity, health, education, clean energy, and the environment throughout all five boroughs.
  • Mary Loane's thesis was titled "Keep it Wild! Keep on the Pathl: How the Friends of the High Line Provoke 'Spontaneous' Identity Formation through the Park's 'Spontaneous' Landscaping." Mary was accepted into the Urban Studies MA program at Fordham.
  • Callagee O'Brien's thesis was titled "Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Drug Courts and Indigenous American Peoples," and was based on her recent experiences in Alaska. Callagee is working as a paralegal in the Manhattan District Attorney's office while she prepares to apply to law school in the fall.
  • Alanna Rohan's thesis was titled "The Way We Make 'Gay'": Constructing and Creating Gay Community on, an Online Social-Networking Website for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone Else." Alanna graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Sigma Nu.
  • Amanda Ruggieri's thesis was “Flex Your Head!: The Development of Style, Music, and Masculinities in New York Punk Rock and D.C. Hardcore.”
  • Katie Schaller's thesis was titled “Where My Girls At? Women in Politics: How They Get into Office and What They Do There.” She is currently works for the fashion company Gilt Groupe.
  • Max Siegal's thesis was titled "There's Something About Bob: Images of Gender Roles and Sexuality in SpongeBob SquarePants." He graduated Magna Cum Laude and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Max is currently a paralegal at Lankler & Carragher, LLP, where he works with Joseph Porrovecchio (Fordham American Studies class of 1996 and current Alumni Highlight).
  • Jessica Valentino, who graduated with summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors, wrote a thesis titled "The True Cost of Getting Things Done Moses-Style: Flaws in the Recent Revision of the Master Builder's Reputation in New York." Jessica spent the summer working for the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, a research center focusing on issues of affordable housing and land use, and is now attending NYU Law school.
  • Caroline Valvardi, an American Studies minor, was honored at graduation as an inductee of Alpha Sigma Nu and Phi Beta Kappa. She is now working for Covenant House, a non-profit organization for homeless youth.
  • Meredith Wright's thesis was titled "The Ugly Side of Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty: The Exploitation of Multiculturalism for Profit."
Class of 2006:
  • Charles Nerko graduated from Fordham Law School and is an attorney at O'Melveny & Myers LLP.
Class of 2004:
  • Allison Brown, who wrote her senior thesis on Sing Sing Prison in her her hometown of Ossining, NY, was graduating in May 2009 with her MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work, majoring in Community Organizing, and interning with the Undoing Racism Project at NASW (Natl Association of Social Workers)- NYC Chapter.
  • Rachel Donaldson (Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta, magna cum laude), who wrote her senior thesis on the legal ideologies of southern unionists, was a Ph.D. student in American History at Vanderbilt University, where she studies under the labor historian David Carlton. She is especially interested in especially interested in early twentieth century southern cultural history and American folk culture.
  • Mike Flynn, who wrote his senior thesis on de facto re-segregation in the South and how culture and ideology can be more pervasive than laws, was at Fordham Law.
  • Lauren Perna worked in the Human Resources Departmentat the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged in Boston. Her career plans included becoming more involved in recruitment for the not-for-profit sector.
Class of 2003:
  • Allison Brown received her MSW from the Hunter College School of Social Work in 2009 and is now a social worker at the Child Wealfare Organizing Project in East Harlem.
Class of 2002:
  • Parker Bruce completed her M.A. in American History at Fordham in August 2003.
  • Missy Frederick was working as a news reporter for a new edition of the Southhampton Press called The Press of Manorville and the Moriches, which covers five semi-rural communities just west of the Hamptons on Long Island.
  • Patricia Spinelli graduated from the Lynch Graduate School of Education at Boston College in 2003, with a M.Ed. in secondary education with a concentration in history.
Class of 2000:
  • Mary Kate Blaine completed her M.A. in history and education at Columbia in May 2002, with funding from the James Madison Memorial Fellowship.  She was teaching at Notre Dame School in Manhattan and attended an institute for AP U.S. history through a College Board Fellowship in summer 2003.
  • Veronica Escobar was graduating from Fordham Law on May 18, 2003 and was gearing up for two months of intense study for the New York State Bar Exam.
Class of 1996:
  • Joseph Porrovecchio began Fordham Law in August of 2000, after four years as a Marine Corps officer. He graduated in May 2003, and after taking the Bar Exam, joined the litigation department of Brown, Raysman, Millstein, Felder & Steiner. He is now at Lankler & Carragher, LLP.
Class of 1993:
  • Kristen Weigand started a one-year internship in clinical child psychology at Louisiana State University Health Science Center in New Orleans.  She expected to receive her doctorate in August 2004.
Class of 1990:
  • Jonathan Doyle worked for 24/7 Mail, a division of Equifax.  He and his wife had twins (Jack and Chelsea Rose) on May 22, 2002.
Class of 1982:
  • Cathy Michelson has been chief development officer for the South Street Seaport Museum, the American Folk Art Museum, the New-York Historical Society, and now holds that position at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.Class of 1981:
  • Robert S. Hoffman was the borough administrator of Franklin Lakes Township in New Jersey, which was awarded a AAA bond rating by Moody's on March 7, 2003 (an award held by only three other towns in NJ).  He and his wife Paula (Borgese, FCLC 1982) have three sons: Robert V. (12), James S. (9), and Nicholas J. (3).
Class of 1960:
  • Gerald G.Haggerty was an adjunct instructor in the Department of Media Studies and Communications at Fordham Rose Hill, a golf tour instructor to the British Isles and Spain through PerryGolf, and a magazine advertising consultant with Forbes.
Class of 1954:
  • Richard T. DeGeorge's The Ethics of Information Technology and Business was recently published in 2003 by Blackwell Publishers. His Business Ethics (1986) was recently published in Chinese and Russian editions.

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