Alumni Spotlight

Martin Muthee and Joyce Okango | POPC Master's Program Alum
Popular Culture Master's students Martin Muthee and Joyce Okango in cap and gown during their commencement ceremony.

Here in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies we are proud of our Undergraduate and Graduate Alumni who choose a variety of pathways post-graduation made possible by the interdisciplinary nature of our curriculum as well as unique internship and assistantship opportunities.


Gray StrainGray Strain ('14)

B.A. in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Current Position:
  Academic Advisor, Computer Science and Engineering Department, University of Michigan

In my current role at the University of Michigan I am helping students navigate course and career planning, making needs-based referrals to support resources, and providing general guidance to both international and domestic students, among other duties. I am indebted to my background in WGSS and my past roles in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) work in higher ed, which have allowed me to bring a perspective focused on supporting marginalized students and advocating for students on equity issues to my work as an academic advisor.

After graduating from BGSU with my B.A. in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, I went on to attain my M.A. in Gender & Cultural Studies from Simmons University in Boston, MA. I began pursuing a Ph.D. in Communications & Media at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, but left after my first year to find work outside of academia. I've worked a variety of jobs, but kept finding my way back to Higher Education in roles connected to values forged in my time at BGSU, such as serving as the Secretary for the Center for Women and Gender Equity & Office of Title IX and as the Assistant Director for Diversity and Belonging at BGSU.
In my current role, I am an Academic Advisor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at the University of Michigan, helping students navigate course and career planning, making needs-based referrals to support resources, and providing general guidance to both international and domestic students, among other duties. I am indebted to my background in WGSS and my past roles in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) work in higher ed, which have allowed me to bring a perspective focused on supporting marginalized students and advocating for students on equity issues to my work as an academic advisor. Some people may have a conception of majors housed within the School of Cultural and Critical Studies as having specific, academic or non-profit paths only, but to me it so important that we bring the knowledge and critical analyses of cultural institutions and power gained through SCCS to areas that do not have a "Studies" or DEI focus. Many of us find ourselves in SCCS because at our core we are "helpers" who care about addressing inequities and injustice, and there are so many ways to help and affect change.
I have to give a special shout-out to Dr. Anne Mitchell (no longer at BGSU), Julie Haught, and Dr. Rebecca Kinney - among so many other fantastic faculty members in SCCS - for providing mentorship and helping to foster my academic interests, which I see as so closely aligned with my values and daily life.

Raisa Mathis

Raisa Mathis ('12)

B.A. in Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies & Ethnic Studies
Current Position:  Administrative Assistant with Equality Ohio

“My time in the WS and ETHN programs have equipped me with the tools necessary to think critically about the world around me, and that has been invaluable to my work in nonprofits. Being able to see the ways in which my work impacts our company culture and society at large has been a tipping point when it comes to the positions I've held and the opportunities offered to me.”

Jessica LaGrange ('15)

B.A. in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Current Position: 
Director of Academic Success at University of Michigan- Dearborn

Since 2017, I have been at University of Michigan - Dearborn in Dearborn, MI where I am now the Director of Academic Success. I started as a Student Learning Assessment Project Manager in a research office and shortly moved into the Office of the Provost where I started taking on more responsibilities in institutional matters like Curriculum Management and Accreditations as well.

Over a couple of years, I expanded the role into a full department of 8 people and 6 different areas that oversee our university’s three Learning Centers, Tutoring Services, Supplemental Instruction, Assessment and Program Reviews, Student Success initiatives, Accreditations, and Curriculum Management. Much of my portfolio revolves around student learning, collecting, analyzing, and using data, and providing support.

My role means I get to be in conversations with leadership on our campus and help make decisions that lead to actual change. I think the voice I’m able to have in those meetings is guided in part by the ideas I learned during my time at BGSU. The degree program instilled thinking critically and creatively, exploring different perspectives and experiences, and including marginalized communities - all of which are at the core of my responsibilities at UM-Dearborn. I have been fortunate to build my area and ensure staff from leadership to student employees (many of whom in peer learning roles) represent the diversity we see in our campus and local community.

My favorite memory is presenting at the research symposium and winning the Best Undergraduate Research my second year! Researching topics and presenting information in a way that is accessible and engaging for people is one of my favorite things to do now, and I think that love started in my undergraduate program and with the opportunity to participate in the symposium. Also, meeting Dr. Sarah Rainey-Smithback had a lasting impact on my life. Sarah is a force and so passionate about her work, and I learned so much inside and outside of the classroom from her. She was always there for insight, constructive feedback, and encouragement during my time in the program (and after!)

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Joshua Moore ('16)

B.A. in Ethnic Studies
Current Position:  Masters Student in College Student Personnel Program at BGSU

After graduation, I served in City Year Detroit. I was a Student Success Coach at Durfee Elementary-Middle School. I cho0se to do that initially as it combined by passion for supporing Black and Brown youth with my in knowledge of mathematics education as math was my minor. After that, I worked in a variety of roles in community organizing and engagment surounding issues such as voting rights/education, worker's rights, community health, and youth development.


I am currently a first year student in the College Student Personnel master's program at BGSU with my assistanship in The Office of Multicultural Affairs as Graduate Coordinator for Multicultural Student Programming and Retention. As part of current role, I assist in the facilitation of diversity education events, the "We Got Each Other" support group, and the Multicultural Student Link progam.

I believe the program has allowed me to understand how to critically think about culture from historical, presnt, and future standpoints and apply it to the duties and functions of ym day to day. For example, during my time as a Deputy Canvass Director for a canvassing campaign in the 2020 election, the knowledge I gained from my degree was useful in creating a more safe and inclusive work environment for the canvassers and team leaders I directed. In my current role, it has beneficial in terms of knowing how to be intentional in my interactions with students as well with the programs I facilitate.

I'd say my favorite memories of being in the program has always been getting terminology to express concepts I already understood. For instance, learning the terms of "respectability politics" and "secondary marginalization" come to mind as I saw these two in action, but never had the words to describe them concretely.

Leigh Ann Dunewood ('18)

B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Current Position:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. 

After graduating with a dual degree in Ethnic Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from BGSU in 2018, I went on to continue my education at the University of Maryland. I pivoted a bit from my CCS studies and pursued my master’s in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Policy. From there, I went into my first professional role at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Coordinator in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

As a DEI Coordinator, I am largely responsible for supporting the diversity-oriented strategic planning efforts across the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), UCAR, and UCAR Community Programs (UCP). In my role, I co-facilitate DEI education programs such as the NCAR/UCAR Equity and Inclusion (UNEION) series and bystander intervention and difficult conversations training. Furthermore, I advise our internal teams on best practices to promote psychological safety, inclusion, and equity in their science and in the workplace at large.

The CCS program was instrumental in preparing me for the world in which I live and work today. My coursework exposed me to critical concepts such as power, privilege, oppression, and difference, which all helped me reflect upon and conceptualize my lived experiences in the context of the United States. My coursework also strengthened my ability to empathize and perspective-take with people and experiences that were different from my own. I am forever-grateful to the CCS program and my professors for providing a secure learning environment in which I could unpack and analyze the myriad aspects of my marginalized and privileged identities. I, too, am grateful for being taught a lexicon that helps me in my continued exploration and meaning-making of mine and others’ identities, both personally and professionally.

One of my favorite memories from my time in the program would have to be the day I officially became a CCS student! I initially entered BG as a sociology major and quickly realized it wasn’t the best fit for me. However, one of my classes that first semester was an Ethnic Studies course called, “Introduction to African American Studies,” and it was a complete game-changer. The course jump started my interest in Black history and helped me develop a critical perspective on my lived experiences as a Black woman at a historically white institution (HWI). My engagement in the class demonstrated that I could learn about my identities and histories in a scholarly setting, and that there was immense value in doing so.

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Dr. Jacqueline Hudson ('21)

American Culture Studies, PhD
Current Position:
Curator at the National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri

I received a PhD in American Culture Studies (ACS) in August 2021 and a graduate certificate in public history at BGSU. My dissertation, I Am Every (Black) Woman: Negotiating Intersectionality in the Music Industry explored how black women singers created and maintained agency against racist and sexist power structures in the music industry. I am currently the Exhibitions Content Developer at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. The education that I received in both the ACS and Public History programs prepared me to explore how the African American experience influenced the progression of American culture in my work developing exhibitions at the museum. Most recently I created an exhibit on the first African American lawyer in the United States and developed a virtual program to discuss the art and history of Black hair. The program also inspired me to further my career as a published author in African American culture.

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Dr. Jacqueline Hudson interviewed artist Jared Owens during a Gallery Talk program on May 15, 2022, for the Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration exhibition.  

Cheyenne WhiteCheyenne White ('21)

Popular Culture MA
Current Position:
Assistant Event Producer, Mother Earth News Fair Team at Ogden Publications

As an Assistant Event Producer for the Mother Earth News Fair team at Ogden Publications, my job involves a lot of changing information from day-to-day and a variety of skillsets that may need to be deployed at any moment. My studies at BG have allowed me to understand the variety of perspectives that people may approach a topic from and to curate an awareness of the messaging and cultural identity of the company. With that knowledge, I can better assist in framing messages to reach those who share an interest in the work as well as realizing the significance and import of things that may otherwise seem mundane. In general, the ability to engage critically with any topic and keep an open-mind when dealing with the unfamiliar has greatly facilitated my experience in working with a variety of people and setting up content that will best reach them where they are.

Dee Elliot ('21)

Popular Culture MA
Current Position:
Metazoo Games, LLC

The POPC Program at Bowling Green State University greatly helped prepare me for my role at Metazoo Games, LLC, by equipping me with the tools I needed to become a storyteller and folklorist. Metazoo has created a massive social community that centers around the incredible trading card game based on cryptozoology, urban legends, and folklore, and I honestly never thought I could be in this role, considering I first came to the POPC program expecting to specialize in film studies. I quickly found out I could actually talk about the most strange and bizarre parts of our world almost every day. I wouldn’t have been able to make my most fervent passion my job without BGSU’s help.

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Dr. Emily Edwards ('21)

American Culture Studies, Ph.D
Current Position:
Tenure-track Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and Educational Technologist at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY

"The interdisciplinary nature of the ACS program allowed me to focus on a wide variety of topics during my time at BGSU. I was able to develop a proficiency in cutting-edge digital methods from data visualization to digital archiving during my courses, which is central to my work today as a Digital Humanities practitioner."

Since graduating from the ACS PhD program at BGSU in 2021, I’ve moved into a new position as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and Educational Technologist at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. In my current role I get to wear a variety of hats; teaching Introduction to Digital Humanities, co-directing a $150,000 NEH grant, serving on the editorial board of Digital Humanities Quarterly, and training faculty on the latest digital tools and software to name a few.

The interdisciplinary nature of the ACS program allowed me to focus on a wide variety of topics during my time at BGSU. I was able to develop a proficiency in cutting-edge digital methods from data visualization to digital archiving during my courses, which is central to my work today as a Digital Humanities practitioner. The ACS program also provided me with the opportunity to collaborate closely with BGSU faculty and staff as a Graduate Research Assistant and mentee learning how to program events effectively and how to participate in transnational multi-institutional research projects.

Today, these experiences inform my ability to successfully organize faculty trainings and serve as a grant co-director leading purchasing, developing programming, and establishing a Digital Humanities lab. The coursework, the assistantships, and the dedicated mentorship from ACS faculty all helped me learn to communicate effectively and hone my technical skills. The ACS program at BGSU not only prepared me to succeed as a scholar and instructor, it provided the opportunities for professionalization to make me competitive in the dynamic and increasingly digitally-focused landscape of higher education.

Dani Eafford ('22)

American Culture Studies MA
Current Position:
Associate Director for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at the University of North Georgia

Upon obtaining my Masters Degree in American Culture Studies, I accepted a position as the Associate Director for the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at the University of North Georgia. CAMP is a first-year scholarship program for students coming from migrant or seasonal farm work backgrounds.

I believe that my coursework in the American Culture Studies program, coupled with my passion for higher education has equipped me with the skills to better serve students coming from backgrounds different than mine. Since taking this role, I have met with students and their families who never believed that college was in the cards for them, and because of CAMP, they are able to reach their education goals. I love being in a position to offer opportunities to students who have been disadvantaged by their circumstances. It is so rewarding to witness these students grow into their potential.

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Lexi Isaac ('20)

Popular Culure MA
Current Position:
Pursuing a masters degree at NYU in Communication Science and Disorders

I genuinely loved my time at BGSU and the university supported me during some of my worst times. I learned so much about myself and about what I can truly do on my own. I also feel like the Popular Culture degree is integral to how I navigate the world. I see the things I was taught everywhere, and I had such a fun time earning that degree.

Updated: 10/18/2022 10:34AM