College welcomes first American studies doctoral students

Penn State Harrisburg and its School of Humanities celebrated a milestone recently with a gathering to welcome the inaugural class of the college’s doctoral program in American studies.

Beginning their studies in Penn State Harrisburg’s third doctoral program are nine scholars – four of them graduates of the School of Humanities’ master’s degree program in American studies. The college also offers doctoral study in public administration and adult education.

Building on the college’s established baccalaureate and master’s programs in the discipline, the doctorate in American studies is the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania. It covers America broadly in its national and international contexts, works with local resources and institutions, and has a focus on material and visual culture, folk and popular culture, race, ethnicity and gender, literature, performance, and media. To support public heritage and material culture interests of students, the program maintains close ties with local educational and cultural institutions.

The new students comprising the first cohort in the program are both local and out-of-state scholars. They include:

Trevor Blank, who holds a bachelor of arts in American studies from the University of Maryland and a master of arts in folklore from Indiana University. He has taught at Indiana University.

Mary Clater, who holds a master of arts degree from Penn State and a second graduate degree from St. Andrews in Scotland.

Jennifer Dutch, who holds a bachelor of arts in history from Keene State College and a master of arts in English from the University of New Hampshire. She has worked for New Hampshire Public Television.

Spencer Green, who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English from Brigham Young University, has conducted research in Italy and England, and has written travel articles for magazines and newspapers.

Jennifer Hall, who holds a bachelor of arts from Fordham and a master of arts from the University of Leicester in England. She is director of exhibitions and collections for the York County Heritage Trust.

James D. McMahon Jr., who holds a bachelor of arts from Franklin & Marshall college, and a master of arts in American studies from Penn State. He is director of the Milton Hershey School Heritage Center and Department of School History.

Amy Milligan, who holds a bachelor of arts from Elizabethtown College and a master of arts in theological studies from Duke University. She is program coordinator for the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at Elizabethtown College.

Sheila Rohrer, who holds a bachelor of arts from Millersville University and a master of arts in American studies from Penn State. She is a teacher at the Linville Hill Mennonite School.

Matt Singer, who holds a bachelor of arts from Penn State and a master of arts in American studies from Penn State. He is senior writer for the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Curator of the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art.

Last Updated October 26, 2009