AMST Student Feature: Izzy MacFarlane

As a doting reader and writer, Izzy MacFarlane enrolled at Cornell knowing she wanted to pursue a humanities major but was unsure of what major specifically. Because she was unsure of her post grad plans, MacFarlane declared American Studies as her major since it was tailored to many of her interests at the time such as working in the fields of law, government, public policy, and/or non profits. 

MacFarlane’s favorite class by far has been AMST: 2512 Black Women in the 20th Century taught by Professor Tamika Nunley who she says fostered a sense of community in the fifty person class. Through the class, MacFarlane was able to add to her existing knowledge about transformative Black women in American history while also learning about women that aren’t featured on mainstream media as much. 

“I remember calling my parents and being like ‘Oh my god, this is what we talked about today… this is the reading we did today’ like everything I’m doing I’m really, really interested in,” she emphasizes. 

In addition to being involved in competitive cross country and track & field during her freshman, sophomore, and junior years, MacFarlane expresses her love for baking through her small business on Instagram where she sells scones to her friends. She has also been a part of No Rules, an intersectional feminist magazine that was previously named Revival Zine. 

MacFarlane has always had a deep rooted passion for social justice and wanted to gain more exposure to law, prompting her to double minor in Inequality Studies and Law & Society. Through this confluence of minors, she notes that she’s become more entrenched in the field of inequality studies and also more aware of topics in the field of law if she ever were to pursue the career. 

In fact, this past summer she interned at Silver & Silver, a personal injury law firm near her hometown in Pennsylvania. As the only intern there, MacFarlane was primarily responsible for drafting specials packages, which are documents that are sent to insurance companies of the defendants that describe the plaintiff's accident. This required her to read through entire medical files and histories of the plaintiffs, look at police reports, read over the client intake, and review medical bills to add up costs sustained from the injury. 

“Because [AMST] crosslists with a lot of classes, I’ve been getting to take a lot of classes in the law school so I’ve been getting more of a sense of the law and I think having that background gave me a little bit more of an edge,” she says. “Also, I think American Studies, in general, because it's humanities and pretty broad, gives you a range of different classes and because of the nature of classes, you interact with people a lot of the time [sic].”

Although the internship provided her with more insight into the law field, she hopes to focus her efforts more on social justice in the future, whether it be through law or non profit organizations, and is also planning to create some type of social justice concentration within the major. 

MacFarlane notes that it’s this type of diversity in career interests — from corporate to non profit — that exemplifies the American Studies department. “The American Studies majors that I have met along the way are all doing very different things than I am, which I think is something you often don’t see in other majors.”


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Izzy MacFarlane
Izzy MacFarlane