AMST Student Feature: Maya Shanahan

In high school, Maya Shanahan imagined herself studying English or History but part of her knew that she would end up choosing American Studies. 

“I’m interested in American history and American literature, so when I was researching different colleges and different majors, I saw that Cornell had American Studies,” Shanahan recalls.  

After declaring her major earlier on in her college year, Shanahan says she immersed herself in the department’s plethora of resources that helped her “hone in on her writing skills” while she took part in classes and work with Cornell in Washington.

“A big part of my duties in that internship [American Action Forum] was writing. Writing blog posts and co-authoring published by the think tank with my supervisor,” she states. 

“And then also working on an internship long project that required lots of research and lots of consulting with different sources. I think my coursework really allowed me to undertake something like that,” she added.

In addition to participating in Cornell in Washington her junior year, Shanahan interned at a midterm campaign and worked for the mayor of Chicago for a period of time. These professional experiences, she says, would not have been possible with the support of the AMST department.  

“It was a lot of thinking out of the box. Approaching something independently. Of course, the material was very related to what I studied in classes, especially those classes that happen to be government cross listed,” she notes. 

Shanahan says that the American Studies major is perfect for those interested in interdisciplinary learning. 

“You’ll get a whole, entirely focused discipline that still lets you explore different avenues within that. History, government, public policy, culture, sociology, all of those related disciplines within the context of one particular place,” she ends. 

As for her plans after college, Shanahan hopes to pursue a career in law and plans on going to law school after undergrad.

More news

Maya Shanahan