During her academic career Anna O’Keefe ’18 has been drawn to studying and reflecting on the American experience, especially the lives and struggles of people who have been, in her words, “marginalized, disenfranchised and oppressed.”
“I would recommend American Studies for any student who wants to travel beyond the ‘American myth’ by critically examining the history, culture and society of America,” says O’Keefe, an American studies major. As a rising junior she found a summer internship that ties into her academic interests. She’s working at the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project, a summer program that builds the academic skills of underserved teens through a course of study that focuses on the law.
Her Introduction to American Studies course challenged O’Keefe to think critically about what she was learning. It also was the course that showed her the interdisciplinary nature of the major.
“American studies provides a common thread for all of my interests and sheds light on parallels between different areas of study,” she says. “The parallels between different disciplines allow myself and other students to think critically about texts, movements in history, political figures and their ideologies, as well as popular culture, film, music and other forms of media.”