American Studies at Miami University
Student Profile: Jennifer Sandel (Class of 2011)
- American studies major with a focus in Popular Culture, Media, and Consumerism
- minor in Marketing
- from Bloomington, IL
- interned for Highwire Brand Studio in London, England
"I've been asked many times to define American Studies. For me, the more important thing to focus on is how American Studies has defined me. The program touts the slogan "Create Your Own Future." Nothing could be more appropriately descriptive of the experience I've had.
"I set out at Miami knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in marketing. The seemingly obvious academic choice would have been, not surprisingly, business. However, my serendipitous academic journey led me to American Studies, and I've been fortunate enough to experience an interdisciplinary major that allowed me to study everything from the history of celebrity to toys in contemporary American culture.
"Because my courses have not been limited to a single discipline, my studies have come together seamlessly to create a "more complete package" from the perspective of future employers. More importantly, perhaps, I feel more complete. In an increasingly analytically focused academic environment, AMS offered me the rare chance to truly enjoy college.
"Moreover, I've had an unprecedented amount of control over what I choose to study, as AMS offers specialized focus areas within the major. My focus in Popular Culture, Media, and Consumerism helped me to more easily develop a course history that aligns itself with my business-related ambitions.
"American Studies also provided me with wonderful professors. The excitement I have for my courses is largely due to the enthusiasm with which every AMS professor teaches. Each of my professors has pushed me to be creative — in my opinion the most important quality any individual, but especially a marketing professional, can have. This quality is losing its prevalence in college graduates, as are written and oral communication skills.
"In the summer of 2010, I acted as the research director in a highly competitive "Apprentice-like" marketing internship in London along with 30 other Miami students. I led the winning team in an elite strategic and creative branding practicum for Hasbro, with a primary emphasis on consumer research and product design. At the end of the competition, I led my team in delivering a creative and compelling presentation of two new product ideas to the Hasbro UK executive team and senior management of supporting media and ad agencies.
"Prior to participating in this amazing experience, I had only completed two marketing courses. However, I was able to be a viable member of the winning team due to my research and communication skills, and my ability to observe cultures and people. These are all skills that I wholeheartedly attribute to American Studies.
"While it might sound cliché, American Studies defined me as a student. The experiences, relationships, and skills I've gained have met and exceeded every expectation I've ever had of Miami University. "