Main content start

Future Paths

What can you do with a Stanford degree in American Studies?

Here are just a few of the career paths taken by American Studies majors:

Screenwriter for TV and Film :: Professor and Chair of Asian American Studies at UC Irvine :: New York Times bestselling author :: Assistant Superintendent of La Habra School District :: Reporter for The Wall Street Journal :: Senior Program Officer at the Getty Foundation :: Deputy Attorney General, California :: Director of Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture :: Major League Baseball commentator for ESPN :: Vice President of Renewable Energy and Environmental Finances at Wells Fargo :: Design Coordinator, Levi’s :: Artistic Programs Director, Dramatists Guild Foundation :: Edible Garden Designer :: Head of Industry for Retail at Google :: Assistant Editor, Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers :: Professional Soccer Player :: Director the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West :: Elementary School Teacher, San Francisco Unified School District :: State Capitol reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle :: Director of Education Reform and Leadership Programs at the George W. Bush Institute:: Trademark Lawyer :: Editor, Politico :: Owner and President, Bank of Commerce :: Pediatrician/Clinical Instructor at UCSF :: Fulbright Scholar/Choreographer :: Assistant Professor in Sociology, UMass Amherst :: Literary Agent at Janklow and Nesbit :: Editor for Frontline :: Deputy Director, Chinese Progressive Association,  San Francisco :: Minority Leader of the Ohio State Senate :: Co-founder and Head of Strategy, ARGONAUT Advertising :: Global Health Security Advisor, United States Agency for International Development :: Assistant Professor of English, Arizona State :: Executive Director, Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, Villanova University :: Award-winning picture book author :: Deputy Director for the Obama Presidential Center Museum :: Special Counsel to the Commissioner, Major League Baseball :: Chief Operating Officer, Securities and Exchange Commission :: Founder, Owner, and Designer, Hashké Menswear

For more, see the Alumni Updates and Spotlights below, as well as the Alumni news above!

Lynn Mahoney '86

San Francisco State University President

After graduating from Stanford with an American Studies degree in 1986, Lynn Mahoney received a Ph.D. in History from Rutgers.  She is author of Elizabeth Stoddard and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Culture, a study of the 19th-century writer.  In addition to her scholarly accomplishments, Dr. Mahoney served as an administrator at several state universities, including the State University of New York, Cal State Long Beach, and Cal State L.A.  In July 2019, she became president of San Francisco State Universitythe first woman to hold that position on a permanent basis.  An interview with Mahoney about her experience in American Studies, the value of an interdisciplinary education, and the challenge of preparing students for the turbulent 21st century appeared in the 2020 American Studies Newsletter.

Amy Aniobi '06

Television Writer/Producer

Currently executive producer on the Emmy-nominated (and Peabody-winning) HBO series "Insecure," which was created by fellow Stanford alum, Issa Rae '07, Amy Aniobi tells us, "I never intended for my American Studies major to lead to writing for televisionI just decided to study what I loved. But it wound up being very useful. Writing TV, especially comedy, involves writing about people, society, and culture. And as an American Studies major, I was studying culture all the time."   With fellow screenwriter and AmStud alum Tracey Oliver '08 (Girls Trip), Amy visited Stanford American Studies in 2016 to talk about changing representations of race in film and TV.  You can read about that event here.

Alexei Koseff '12

Reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle

Having topped off his American Studies degree with a coterm in Communication, Alexei Koseff spent 5 years at the Sacramento Bee, covering politics and education.  In January 2019, he joined the San Francisco Chronicle, where he continues to cover the State Capitol and California politics.  Alexei writes "The American Studies program taught me how to understand what it means to be an American from many different perspectives. I use that every day in my reporting — talking to people from all walks of life, making sense of their views and portraying their voice accurately for readers." 

Mark S. Weiner '89

Law Professor at Rutgers

Having pursued both a Ph.D. in American Studies and a J.D. after Stanford, Mark Weiner began teaching Law at Rutgers in 2002, while also writing award-winning books on race and citizenship and on the relationship between government and individual freedom. Most recently, he curated an acclaimed exhibit about illustrated law books, while also pursuing a comparative study of medical first responders on multiple Fulbright scholarships. Recognizing the role of supportive American Studies faculty in fostering his varied interests—in law, museum studies, visual culture, and good historical writing—Weiner writes, “You could draw a straight line between my career in American Studies at Stanford and what I’m doing today—or, rather, you could draw about a dozen straight lines!”