Yesterday, we brought you an interview with Michael Ayala, a graduating senior in American Studies named to the Dean’s Distinguished Graduates Honorable Mention list. Today, we bring you an interview with Natalie Fisher, UT AMS’ other Honorable Mention on this prestigious list. Read on to learn about Natalie’s American Studies career here at UT, as well as her plans for the future!
When you came to UT, what did you think you would major in?
When I first applied to UT it was as an Radio-Television-Film major, and it wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I added American Studies as a double major.
What was the first American Studies course you took at UT?
The first AMS course I took at UT was intro to American Studies with Dr. Hoelscher. I took the course because it was a part of my First Year Interest Group’s bundle of classes and it ended up being my favorite class of my first semester. I really enjoyed getting to learn about American history from new perspectives and analyze American culture through different scopes of study.
Why did you decide to major in American Studies?
I decided to major in American Studies because I really liked the intro class and the faculty and grad students that I had talked to within the department. I found out that I could double major and still graduate on time and realized that there was still so much more about American studies that interested me and so many AMS classes that I wanted to take. The interdisciplinary aspects of American Studies drew me in because I had never thought about the different ways our environment and backgrounds can affect how our society is structured.
What have been some of your favorite courses in the American Studies department and why?
It is hard to pick a favorite American Studies course because I have liked all of the ones I have taken. Some of my favorites included: American Disasters taught by Dr. Cary Cordova, Rebels and Rejects taught by Dr. Lauren Gutterman, and American Utopias taught by Dr. Brendan Gaughen. All three of these classes covered interesting topics that I had little to no background and I learned a lot about different times in American history and different emerging patterns throughout American history that often repeat themselves.
What are some of the most important questions you’ve considered during your time in American Studies?
In Dr. Gutterman’s Rebels and Rejects course we discussed who got defined as a rebel or a reject in 1950s America. This lead to interesting discourse about who is considered a rebel or reject in today’s America, and important questions about who is included and excluded when we talk about America. Many of the important questions I’ve considered during my time in American Studies often centered around topics of inclusion and how American society is structured to benefit certain groups often at the risks of others. I’ve also spent a lot of my time in American Studies considering how we treat our land and what impact we have on shaping the physical space of where we live and how that affects more than just us personally.
How do you think American Studies might influence your career after you graduate? How has your time in American Studies influenced your career goals?
After I graduate I want to be a TV writer. I think that American Studies will definitely influence my career after I graduate. Since becoming a AMS major I have learned a lot about different areas of American history that have influenced my writing. I also think that I have learned a lot about how to research and gather sources and evidence which is a good skill to have when aspiring to be a screenwriter because I enjoy digging deeper into the stories I want to tell and ensuring I convey them with accuracy.
What advice do you have for other students considering majoring in American Studies?
Come say hi! The American Studies faculty is amazing and extremely helpful. Talking to a professor or current grad student about the field is a good way to get an idea if you would enjoy being a American studies major. If you are considering majoring in American Studies and are already a student at UT, I would advise you to take a class! Many of the AMS courses cross with other classes and can go to helping you get your diploma, and if you enjoy the class, chances are you’ll like all the classes AMS has to offer and you can change you major, or add another major confidently.