American Studies Success Stories

The value of a Fisher education is evident in personal stories of success told by students and alumni. Read what they have to say about the program and what they gained from their experience.

Noah Barnell '22

High School Social Studies Teacher

Noah Barnell

Noah Barnell

Noah Barnell was looking for an interdisciplinary program for his undergraduate studies. He chose the American studies program at Fisher for the opportunities it presented to explore insights into the cultural and historical history of the United States. 

Barnell attributes his preparation as a social studies teacher to skills he developed in course conversations during his time at Fisher. “This program gave me the tools to discuss contemporary issues and guide class conversations in a constructive manner.”

Now, he recommends the American studies program for anyone interested in history and culture. He also believes the professors shape and challenge students for their future careers. “The faculty in the department cared deeply about both what they taught and the students in their classrooms.”

Andrew Cegielski ’22

Law Student at the University of Buffalo

Andrew Cegielski

Andrew Cegielski

Andrew Cegielski arrived at Fisher as a first-generation student with his sights set on becoming a teacher or a lawyer. He entered a dual degree program in legal studies and American studies to “cultivate both potential occupational pathways.” He believes the absence of a prescribed path offered advantages. He credits his success to professors and advisors, and he sees his involvement on Fisher’s Mock Trial team as pivotal to his decision to pursue law school. 

“I have a notable advantage attributed to the material I learned from the engaging professors, opportunities I had to act as an attorney, and real-life experiences I gained from my internships while at Fisher,” Cegielski explained. 

As a participant in the First-Generation Scholar Program, Cegielski also attributes his educational persistence to skills he developed while at Fisher, “The program gave me the tools to be a leader, the skills to build great relationships, and the support to navigate college!” 

The American studies and legal studies majors integrate research on critical topics related to society and justice, and Cegielski feels the interdisciplinary nature of the American studies program can strongly complement other majors. “Students considering a career connected to an American system—whether education, law, business, politics, public works, or service—have the opportunity to follow their passion while developing a well-rounded education,” he said.

Now, he wholeheartedly recommends the Fisher experience. “Ultimately, Fisher equips students with knowledge and experiences that are undeniably beneficial for graduate school and a future career.”

Julia Detmer '20

Special Education Teacher and Literacy Specialist at Monroe One BOCES

Julia Detmer

Julia Detmer

From the time she was a child, Julia Detmer knew that her path involved becoming an educator. Fueled by her passion for social justice, Detmer considers herself a lifelong learner as a literacy teacher. “Literacy is an equity issue; literacy liberates people, and that’s why I became an educator.”

The interdisciplinary nature of the American studies major drew her to the program and Fisher in general as it allowed her to explore many topics while working toward teacher certification. “My professor allowed me the space to write about my own identity and place in America. I dove deep into my schooling experiences as well in the area of race and identity which impacts how I support my students in their journey.”

Detmer’s education at Fisher provided her with the tools she now employs regularly, and she credits her research opportunities for preparing her as an educator. “At Fisher, I participated in the summer research fellowship on the life and work of Frederick Douglass who believed literacy was a central skill for success and freedom.” Now, she works to ensure her students have the opportunity to grow in literacy.

She urges others to consider the American studies program for its interdisciplinary nature and opportunities to explore the intersectionality of topics. “The program has made me a better teacher by opening my eyes to different disciplines and experiences,” Detmer explained. “The combination of multiple disciplines helps to make me a more well-rounded educator, and I definitely would recommend this program to other students because I see how valuable my experiences in the program were in shaping the way I teach and interact with others.”