Because not every employer is blessed with the wisdom and foresight to recognize his or her tremendous need for an AS@UVA grad, it's sometimes a challenge to land jobs and cash paychecks after the thesis is done. Here you'll find suggestions from AS@UVA alumni about job hunting, selling your AS background, cool and not-so-cool parts of various occupations, and other miscellaneous words. If you have questions, additions, deletions, or suggestions, please e-mail Mary Halnon at mhalnon@pbs.org or Alan Howard at abh9h@virginia.edu.


"This Won't Hurt a Bit..."
Take me right to Job Hunting Ideas!

How do I show off my AS@UVA hat? Some quick tips.

The Full Stories:

Dan Backer, Webmaster, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Email: dhbacker@mail.kennedy-center.org

I found out about both of the jobs I've had since UVA in the print edition of the Washington Post. So that's a pretty boring story-- but the moral is that you'd be surprised how many organizations continue to regard the print media as their first best means of communication.

My application process for both jobs was suprisingly similar. I definitely emphasized the uniqueness of the AS@UVA program in my cover letter. I additionally emphasized my computer skills & experience-- but of course I was applying for a technical job. I also played up the idea that I was some kind of New Media educator (in that our projects were legitimate resources designed for classroom use)-- but then again one of the job requirements was to support a site for k-12 educators....

In my opinion, when you're considering an Internet job that isn't specifically technical (like a programmer) or goal-oriented (like marketing), chances are that the employers themselves aren't 100% sure of what they want (they just want "someone to do all that Internet stuff"). And that's what you need to take advantage of.... because as a Liberal Arts-y person who "knows the Internet" you can offer both technical expertise as well an ability to think, learn, and communicate-- a skill that most traditional techies lack severely....

As webmaster I'm responsible for pretty much all electronic media content (creating things) and operations (fixing things) for the Kennedy Center. Specifically, I'm the technical admin. for the KC website (kennedy-center.org), ArtsEdge (artsedge.kennedy-center.org), and a few other sites we host. I'm also the admin. of general KC-wide Internet stuff like DNS, routing, the T1, web-proxies, firewalls, etc.-- the only thing I don't do much of is e-mail. I oversee content development for the KC website, and develop multimedia, live and on-demand streaming audio/video, and miscellaneous graphics for the KC site. I still do a good amount of HTML for the KC webite, but I also spend time experimenting with new website architechtures like database stuff, ASP,etc. I have a staff of two, fortunately, and the ArtsEdge site has its own staff to develop content. But I keep busy. I hate to say it, but there's very little about my AS@UVA training that relates to anything I do on a daily basis. (Make no mistake-- AS@UVA was a major factor in me getting hired, but its relevance has since faded.)

What's cool about it is that I learn new things on a regular basis, I create cool things on an occasional basis, and I still haven't had to wear a tie to work. It's also very important that I'm working in an environment (Arts & History) that I've always been drawn to. What's not cool about it is that I don't make as much money working for a .org as I could for a .com.

John Blackburn, Instructional Technology Specialist, Washington & Lee University

Email: blackburnj@wlu.edu

When I began working on an M.A. in American Studies at UVA, I imagined myself eventually working in a university. Four years later, here I am, though what I do for a living is different from what I imagined then. The short version of this story is that I intended to teach, but I wound up teaching how to teach using new technologies. I blame/credit Alan Howard.

Like many in the first year of AS@UVA, I began to see a broad spectrum of career possibilities open up to me as a result of my experiences in that program. After a brief and financially bleak stint as a writer for a weekly newspaper, I found a job as a consultant with a company that specialized in K-12 educational technology. I worked with several great, young start-ups (including Lucid Media, now known as Bottlerocket, a company founded by classmate Kelly Moulton and my grad school roommate, Greg Easley), and I enjoyed it immensely.

The opportunities in educational (or any other) technology were and are immense for anyone who knows digital media and who can speak, write, and think. In other words, if you spent a year with Alan Howard, you're equipped with a highly desirable combination of skills. Smart companies and institutions will reward that combination of skills.

After two years as a consultant, I took a job here at Washington and Lee. As Instructional Technology Specialist, I run the undergraduate library's Media Center and generally promote effective use of technology. In the ten months since I arrived, I have begun collecting workstations, scanners, and software for the center. We now offer a variety of production support-- from GIS to digital video and sound editing-- to faculty for their teaching and research. It's a great job-- varied, engaging, project-oriented. I will even have an opportunity to teach (a Winter term honors course on the History of Technology that I designed with the Science Librarian).

There a lots of great jobs out there right now. My advice to recent AS@UVA grads would be to emphasize that crucial combination of skills. Lots of companies and institutions employ technicians and managers (or university deans) between whom exists a fundamental communication gap. Which is another way of saying that an opportunity exists for individuals who are, in our way, bilingual.

Courtney Danforth,Digital Imaging Specialist, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Email cdanfort@sil.si.edu

I am a principle adviser for digital images produced or used by the Smithsonian Libraries. Most of my time is spent on the new Digital Imaging Center (DIC): choosing equipment, interviewing vendors, training staff, maintaining the shop's microcomputer systems, writing policies and procedures, and developing standards. I work with curatorial staff to develop digitizing projects. I assist in scheduling and workflow management for the DIC. I serve on committees considering issues such as long-term storage of digital collections and presentation of digital exhibitions. Additionally, I design and create WWW exhibitions and internal databases.

I landed my current job thanks to being "discovered." While an AS student, I was employed by the Special Collections Digital Center (SCDC) in Alderman Library as a digitizing assistant. A group from the Smithsonian Libraries visited the SCDC and the rest, I suppose, is history! It was a fortuitous coincidence that I would be graduating and that the Smithsonian Libraries would be needing someone to guide the establishment of their Digital Imaging Center.

While it was no great challenge to find this job, it was not all a smooth process. The federal hiring process, in all its attempt to be completely fair, is fairly complicated. I was lucky to have an insider helping to guide my application. I'd be happy to advise any AS'ers on their federal job applications.

I would highly recommend extra-curricular work in cooperation with the American Studies program. For example, my work with the SCDC provided my knowledge of digital imaging procedures and my industry contacts. I also did a few "volunteer" WWW designs while I was a student and if I had it to do over, I would do more of these.

My favorite Job listing URLs are:
Federal -- http://www.usajobs.opm.gov,
Library (which usually require an MLS) -- http://www.ala.org/education/
*And a great resources for WWW-type positions (particularly for female ASers!) are the Webgrrls mailing lists. Most big cities have a branch and the number of international groups is quickly growing.

Ian Finseth, PhD candidate in English, UNC Chapel Hill

Email ifinseth@email.unc.edu

Ian Finseth is being pursued by a doctorate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation, which focuses on the uses of science and pastoralism in antislavery literature, is catching up fast and should take him down like a wildebeest by Spring 2000. Plan A is to go into university teaching near a coast; Plan B is to open a small bistro in a cosmopolitan city; Plan C is to write screenplays based on American history.

Additional bio-facts: He edits book manuscripts for UNC Press. He put to use his UVA education most visibly by founding an online scholarly journal of American Studies (www.unc.edu/sycamore). The journal went through five issues and then had to be put on ice due to a variety of factors. May it reemerge, inshallah, better and stronger, when the academic world catches up to on-line publishing.

Lisa Guernsey, Assistant Editor, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Email Lisa.Guernsey@chronicle.com

I'm an assistant editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, DC. The Chronicle uses the title "assistant editor" for all of its reporters, so essentially that's what I am: a reporter for the Information Technology section. My beat includes electronic publishing, intellectual-property issues, on-line admissions, cyberscams, libraries, and coverage of how professors use the Web, e-mail, or other on-line tools in their teaching and research.

I had been in touch with The Chronicle sporadically since my fourth year as an undergraduate. I did an "externship" (one of those quintessentially UVA things) with The Chronicle during my fourth year, and I kept in touch with the man who was the managing editor at the time. In fact, you might say I hounded him for a job every six months, sending clips from freelance work I'd done. For two years, I got only polite replies about the lack of available positions.

By the time I was finishing up my MA, however, The Chronicle was moving into what at the time seemed a risky, new venue: The Web. I wrote to the editor about my newfound technology skills, combined with my continued interest in journalism. He responded -- noting that The Chronicle was just opening a Web site and would probably be hiring. After an interview and some anxious weeks, I managed to persuade the paper to hire me. I was hired to help launch the Web site -- not to be a reporter. But after a few months it became clear that I could be most useful by actually doing what I wanted to do in the first place: write. First I became a general-assignment reporter -- writing daily news on whatever hit the fan. But I found time to also write about some technology issues that had been part of my experience at UVA. That led me to my position today.

There isn't any direct tie to American Studies—but my background in a field that combines literature, history, and art has led me to discover interesting stories as well as remember to look for historical connections in everything I do.

What's cool: writing, traveling, talking with sharp, stimulating people. What's not so cool: long hours. (And back when I was working primarily with the Web, there was another problem: lack of recognition from the old-timers who are/were accustomed to print and suspicious of the Web.) Make technology your clincher -- not your only skill set.

Mary Halnon, Education Producer, PBS Online
Email mhalnon@pbs.org

I worked as an English and Biology teacher in secondary schools for five years (plus my year at UVA) before I started working for PBS in June 1998.

What do I do at PBS? As education producer, I've led a team in the design and launch of a new PBS site for K-12 teachers, PBS TeacherSource (www.pbs.org/teachersource). When PBS TV shows have companion Web sites, we try to encourage the producers to include materials for classroom use. I work with TV producers, Web developers, and practicing teachers to make this happen. All these resources are consolidated in TeacherSource. I spend a good deal of time working on marketing, grantwriting, and other site-related activities, too.

PBS Online has doubled in size over the past year, but is still small in budget and personnel when compared to other networks like Discovery. This is cool because it means I still get to do a little bit of everything (most bigger Web outfits are more strictly organized into graphic design, promotion, customer service, etc., making it a little harder for a "genralist" to get in the door), and get to help out with other projects that aren't strictly K-12 related. An example is the Frank Lloyd Wright Web site (www.pbs.org/flw) which I produced with three others at PBS this fall.

How did I get here? I knew I wanted to do something that still classified as "educational" so I was looking at humanities foundations, nonprofits, museums, and networks with ties to education, like Discovery, A&E, and PBS. I looked at job listings online, when available; cold called HR departments; and sent letters of introduction to places that looked cool to work. I also found some good contact info at UVA's Office of Career Planning and Placement in their non-profit directories. I had the teaching plus an internship at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities as experience.

The PBS listing was available online (www.pbs.org/insidepbs/jobs/index.html). I had a phone interview, an on-site visit, and then a work sample (a timed exercise which required me to construct a Web site for a fictitious PBS program from graphics and text pieces sent to me on a disk--an interesting exercise in navigation, information hierarchy, etc.!)

Here's what seemed most interesting to my potential (and eventually, in the case of PBS, actual) employers during interviews:

  • Ability to evaluate Web sites: everyone asked about the Yellow Pages project, as well as some work I did for Alan Howard and John Blackburn evaluating other sites on the Web for technical/educational best practices. There's a lot out there—show them you know how to sort through it all.
  • Production as part of a team: everyone liked the team planning of sites like Tocqueville, Capitol project, etc. as well as the beta-testing part of the AS program (critiquing each other's stuff).
  • Ability to apply the technology and show how it can enhance "traditional" content: the Web should be more than just an electronic version of something that could be in print, and the technology like Shockwave, etc. should be more than extraneous bells and whistles. Sometimes potential employers don't fully understand Web and need you to show them the many creative ways their stuff can be enhanced by Web. I do this all the time with veteran PBS TV producers who aren't necessarily web-savvy! Don't be afraid, in a cover letter or interview, to suggest ways you think the company's product or service could be enhanced over the Web. This shows you are a) familiar with their existing content/product and b) creative.
  • Deadlines: I wasn't very good with this during my year at UVA, but deadlines are key. Show that you can handle them, in combination with
  • Multitasking: can you work on eleven things at once and do it well? Look at all you have to do in the American Studies year, and sell this to employers. I remember the summer I did my thesis, I was also doing an internship for 30 hrs/week, taking a summer school class, and applying and interviewing in various school districts. I'm sure you're doing similar juggling routines—make them work for you!

What's cool about my job: the people (Mr. Rogers!!), the stuff I'm producing, the e-mail from people who are visiting the site(s), and how much I'm getting to use my American Studies training as I work on Web sites that cover all sorts of topics. What's not so cool: long hours, sometimes, and knowing I'm not getting paid as well as people working on other network sites. Everything's relative, though, because it's still (sadly) a lot more than I made when I was teaching.

Michael Owens, Director of Online Activities, Maryland Public Television

Email mail@michaelowens.com

I'm the Director of Online Activities at Maryland Public Television. In addition to the main MPT web site and related "stuff," my department also creates sites for all of the national and regional television shows that MPT produces. We do all of our sites inhouse, even when we're working with large partners like PBS. All of the content, design, production, and continued maintence of all web projects (which will soon include a secure commerce server) come out of my department (which until recently meant me and revolving contractors--I now have two permanent full-time web producers).

I found the job in this way: I'm originally from Maryland, so I've always been a fan of MPT. I actually saw this position in the Washington Post and pursued it from there.

American Studies relates because I have to be an instant content expert on almost any subject at the drop of a hat. Some of the projects I've been responsible for in the past year include MotorWeek, Jewish Cooking in America, Alexander the Great, and Wall Street Week. In addition to creating a navigable design and error-free code, I also have to edit (or sometimes even create from scratch) content on a wide variety of subjects. So far I think Jewish Cooking has been the worst--I don't cook and I'm not Jewish. Next year I'll be working on the History of God . . . Oh, God.

The variety is nice and it's definitely a challenge. Unfortunately, you run into the same problems explaining the web that you encounter with print people. Everyone sees the Internet as simply a fancier version of what their comfortable with. Print production people see the web as a brochure on the computer; TV production people tend to see the web as television for the computer. If only I could buy them all WebTV . . .

The marketplace is constantly trying to pigeon-hole web people into either design, programming, or management/marketing. I've tried to stay in the middle, but if someone were just starting out I would recommend that they choose one path to concentrate on. Having an easily-defined skill set makes you easier to place for recruiters, HR people, etc.

Adriana Puckett, Web Director, Selling Power
Email puckett@citizen.infi.net

I am the Web Director at a small business publishing company named Selling Power, located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Our small web team (2 people, including me) runs SellingPower.com, a medium-sized e-commerce web site. The site is database-driven (MS SQL 6.5) and uses Active Server Pages, so less of my time is spent doing manual HTML coding, and more is spent planning and executing long-term projects.

I had interned at Selling Power when I was in college.  I moved to Sumerduck when I got married shortly after graduating the AS program, and I applied to Selling Power because I liked the company and it is only 16 miles from my home (a rarity in this part of rural VA). My job interview was incredibly easy: I was interviewed and hired in the same day. I have been there little over a year and I am really excited about the projects that we have lined up for the next year.

The American Studies program has made all the difference in terms of my marketability. Not only do I have the web-related job skills that employers are looking for but also the editorial skills—such as writing and editing copy—that are often lacking in this department. I would not be in this position—or have the same opportunities for growth —if I did not participate in the American Studies program.

Selling Power is a unique synthesis of a family-run business and a corporate environment. This, of course, has its challenges and privileges. One thing I particularly enjoy about Selling Power is the company's dedication to improving things—the web site, the employees, etc. I have the opportunity to take job-related classes and purchase such materials as books, magazines, and even hardware and software. When I left for maternity leave recently, I had five things on my plate to master: ASP, SQL queries, Macromedia's Director, Adobe's Premiere, and Lingo, not to mention improving my graphic skills with Photoshop 5.0 and Illustrator, as well as DHTML and Javascript. I love learning new things, so this is the perfect environment for me!

The one thing I miss is my connection to the humanities. I always thought that I would work with the humanities in some way, so no one was more surprised than me when I ended up being wooed by corporate America. However, I have found that frequent reading and writing has lessened this regret.

Julie Rose, Interactive & Channel Communications Manager, Wyse Technology Inc.

Email JROSE@Wyse.com

The job hunting process was challenging, as I was looking for something that interested me perfectly. I wanted a job where I could use my web skills and still be able to deal with the information I loved—American Studies. Needless to say, jobs like that are very very far and few between, especially here in the Silicon Valley. I used all of the usual online sources (Monster Board, Careerpath, etc.), which have improved significantly since I was searching in 1996. A new site that is quite helpful is Korn/Ferry's futurestep.com, which is a headhunting company that helps you determine what you're really looking for in a career, and then matches you up with applicable jobs. I also used that other network —friends, family, acquaintances. That's really the most useful network you can use in a job search. It's important when interviewing to emphasize not just your web experience, but your ability to communicate—that's the real key here. Emphasize that you are an intelligent, flexible person who can analyze and synthesize information, and communicate it well—the web stuff is really gravy, or if you look at it another way, just another essential tool in the toolkit (but not the distinguishing factor to give you the edge over other candidates).

I work as the Interactive & Channel Communications Manager for a terminal manufacturer - the leader in thin-client technology. I initially started as the webmaster (Web Program Manager) in April 1997 after about 6 months of freelancing after graduation. From April-Dec 97 I worked as the Web Program Manager, handling all aspects of the website —HTML, graphics, writing content, etc. I also organized a cross-departmental Web Team to create our company intranet from the ground up. In January 1998 I took on Channel Communications, meaning our reseller base. At this point, I'm the acting Marketing Communications manager, so I handle everything— advertising, PR, direct mail, Interactive (with a Specialist who does the day-to-day work), reseller approval program (again with a Specialist who does the day-to-day work).

What's cool about it? I've had the chance to move up quickly in the organization, and we're moving to a heavy e-commerce orientation, so my web experience serves me well. Of course, the ability to communicate and work with others is a big factor as well. What's not so good? The typical stuff—no budget, no resources, etc. Not being able to spend my time on the stuff that is truly interesting to me—art history, etc. My recommendation is not necessarily what kinds of organizations would be good for AS@UVA grads, but where within organizations you could fit. I really believe the communications group (marketing, which includes interactive, or corporate) is the best place for AS@UVA grads. I always say it's the most fun you can have in a corporation—if you have to work in one. My resume and portfolio are online at www.wco.com/~jkrose and the Wyse site may be found at www.wyse.com.

Claudia Silverman, AmeriCorps, Project FIRST

Email csilverman85@hotmail.com

I am participating in a 10 month term of national service with AmeriCorps. I am a member of Project FIRST (Fostering Instructional Reform through Service and Technology), a multi-city initiative to improve the way that technology is used in public schools. It is co-sponsored by the Public Education Network, IBM and a local education organization (New Visions in NYC, APPLE Corps here in Atlanta. . .)The 12 full time participants in Atlanta are assigned to schools to work with students, teachers and parents. I am in an elementary school that serves a public housing community.

My experience thus far has been primarily positive. The school is outfitted impressively with computers, a scanner, digital camera, network, and software. I spend most of my time helping children to play CD-ROM games and use the World Wide Web. I also assist teachers with specific questions they have about various applications. Starting this month I will be teaching a small group of 2nd-5th graders to design a Web site. Our subject will be the history of the school and community, and I hope to end up with a sort of local history site that we can ultimately attach to the school's Web site (which does not yet exist).

Teamwork is the catchword for AmeriCorps, so in my interview I stressed the group dynamic we had going in AS, talked about collaborating on the '30s project and coordinating individual interests with larger shared objectives.

In addition to learning a lot about computers that I reluctantly admit to not knowing before, I am getting a peek in through the back window at the situation in Atlanta public schools. Despite the bulk of equipment, there is much to be pessimistic about, unfortunately. The "tech specialist" position (supposedly one at every school) is often unfilled and is the lowest paid--$20K. The Internet doesn't work in many classrooms, and even when the people come to "fix the computers" they aren't always authorized to fix the problems that we have. Then there is the strange phenomenon of the school feeling they must safeguard their equipment--which means keeping it in boxes in the principal's closet, well out of reach of those by whom it is supposed to be used.

I don't know where I'll be headed when my term ends in June. This experience, I think, will be a good background for a number of jobs. While at one point I thought I wanted to go on to design educational software, the software people I have met during this stint have just not been pleasant, nor do they seem to like kids very much. There are administrative tech specialist positions in the school system, but school administration really does not seem attractive, at least not in Atlanta.

Job Hunting

I found out about both of the jobs I've had since UVA in the print edition of the Washington Post. So that's a pretty boring story-- but the moral is that you'd be surprised how many organizations continue to regard the print media as their first best means of communication. -Dan Backer

I would highly recommend extra-curricular work in cooperation with the American Studies program. For example, my work with the SCDC provided my knowledge of digital imaging procedures and my industry contacts. I also did a few "volunteer" WWW designs while I was a student and if I had it to do over, I would do more of these.

While it was no great challenge to find this job, it was not all a smooth process. The federal hiring process, in all its attempt to be completely fair, is fairly complicated. I was lucky to have an insider helping to guide my application. I'd be happy to advise any AS'ers on their federal job applications.

My favorite Job listing URLs are:
Federal -- http://www.usajobs.opm.gov,
Library (which usually require an MLS) -- http://www.ala.org/education/
*And a great resources for WWW-type positions (particularly for female ASers!) are the Webgrrls mailing lists. Most big cities have a branch and the number of international groups is quickly growing. -Courtney Danforth

I had been in touch with The Chronicle of Higher Education sporadically since my fourth year as an undergraduate. I did an "externship" (one of those quintessentially UVA things) with The Chronicle during my fourth year, and I kept in touch with the man who was the managing editor at the time. In fact, you might say I hounded him for a job every six months, sending clips from freelance work I'd done. For two years, I got only polite replies about the lack of available positions.

By the time I was finishing up my MA, however, The Chronicle was moving into what at the time seemed a risky, new venue: The Web. I wrote to the editor about my newfound technology skills, combined with my continued interest in journalism. He responded—noting that The Chronicle was just opening a Web site and would probably be hiring. After an interview and some anxious weeks, I managed to persuade the paper to hire me. -Lisa Guernsey

I knew I wanted to do something that still classified as "educational" so I was looking at humanities foundations, nonprofits, museums, and networks with ties to education, like Discovery, A&E, and PBS. I looked at job listings online, when available; cold called HR departments; and sent letters of introduction to places that looked cool to work. I also found some good contact info at UVA's Office of Career Planning and Placement in their non-profit directories. I had the teaching plus an internship at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities as experience. -Mary Halnon

I found the job at Maryland Public Television in this way: I'm originally from Maryland, so I've always been a fan of MPT. I actually saw this position in the Washington Post and pursued it from there. -Michael Owens

I had interned at Selling Power when I was in college.  I moved to Sumerduck when I got married shortly after graduating the AS program, and I applied to Selling Power because I liked the company and it is only 16 miles from my home (a rarity in this part of rural VA). My job interview was incredibly easy: I was interviewed and hired in the same day. -Adriana Puckett

The job hunting process was challenging, as I was looking for something that interested me perfectly. I wanted a job where I could use my web skills and still be able to deal with the information I loved—American Studies. Needless to say, jobs like that are very very far and few between, especially here in the Silicon Valley. I used all of the usual online sources (Monster Board, Careerpath, etc.), which have improved significantly since I was searching in 1996. A new site that is quite helpful is Korn/Ferry's futurestep.com, which is a headhunting company that helps you determine what you're really looking for in a career, and then matches you up with applicable jobs. I also used that other network —friends, family, acquaintances. -Julie Rose

How Do I Sell My American Studies Hat?
My application process for both jobs was suprisingly similar. I definitely emphasized the uniqueness of the AS@UVA program in my cover letter. I additionally emphasized my computer skills & experience-- but of course I was applying for a technical job. I also played up the idea that I was some kind of New Media educator (in that our projects were legitimate resources designed for classroom use)-- but then again one of the job requirements was to support a site for k-12 educators....

In my opinion, when you're considering an Internet job that isn't specifically technical (like a programmer) or goal-oriented (like marketing), chances are that the employers themselves aren't 100% sure of what they want (they just want "someone to do all that Internet stuff"). And that's what you need to take advantage of.... because as a Liberal Arts-y person who "knows the Internet" you can offer both technical expertise as well an ability to think, learn, and communicate-- a skill that most traditional techies lack severely.... -Dan Backer

The opportunities in educational (or any other) technology were and are immense for anyone who knows digital media and who can speak, write, and think. In other words, if you spent a year with Alan Howard, you're equipped with a highly desirable combination of skills. Smart companies and institutions will reward that combination of skills.

There a lots of great jobs out there right now. My advice to recent AS@UVA grads would be to emphasize that crucial combination of skills. Lots of companies and institutions employ technicians and managers (or university deans) between whom exists a fundamental communication gap. Which is another way of saying that an opportunity exists for individuals who are, in our way, bilingual. -John Blackburn

There isn't any direct tie to American Studies—but my background in a field that combines literature, history, and art has led me to discover interesting stories as well as remember to look for historical connections in everything I do. -Lisa Guernsey

Here are parts of American Studies that seemed particularly interesting to my potential employers: 1. Ability to evaluate Web sites: everyone asked about the Yellow Pages project, as well as some work I did for Alan Howard and John Blackburn evaluating other sites on the Web for technical/educational best practices. There's a lot out there—show them you know how to sort through it all.
2. Production as part of a team: everyone liked the team planning of sites like Tocqueville, Capitol project, etc. as well as the beta-testing part of the AS program (critiquing each other's stuff).
3. Deadlines: I wasn't very good with this during my year at UVA, but deadlines are key. Show that you can handle them, in combination with
4. Multitasking: can you work on eleven things at once and do it well? Look at all you have to do in the American Studies year, and sell this to employers. I remember the summer I did my thesis, I was also doing an internship for 30 hrs/week, taking a summer school class, and applying and interviewing in various school districts. I'm sure you're doing similar juggling routines—make them work for you! -Mary Halnon

American Studies relates because I have to be an instant content expert on almost any subject at the drop of a hat. Some of the projects I've been responsible for in the past year include MotorWeek, Jewish Cooking in America, Alexander the Great, and Wall Street Week. In addition to creating a navigable design and error-free code, I also have to edit (or sometimes even create from scratch) content on a wide variety of subjects. So far I think Jewish Cooking has been the worst--I don't cook and I'm not Jewish. Next year I'll be working on the History of God . . . Oh, God. -Michael Owens

The American Studies program has made all the difference in terms of my marketability. Not only do I have the web-related job skills that employers are looking for but also the editorial skills—such as writing and editing copy—that are often lacking in this department. I would not be in this position—or have the same opportunities for growth —if I did not participate in the American Studies program. -Julie Rose

Teamwork is the catchword for AmeriCorps, so in my interview I stressed the group dynamic we had going in AS, talked about collaborating on the '30s project and coordinating individual interests with larger shared objectives. -Claudia Silverman