I first encountered the American Studies Department the spring semester of my sophomore year when I took Intro to Southern Studies with Dr. Jack Carey. Before that semester was even over, I had picked up AMS as a second major. What I find most rewarding about being a part of the American Studies Department here at UA is the amount of support I receive from both professors and peers. In AMS courses, I know my thoughts and work are valued, and I have always felt heard. My time as an American Studies major has drastically shaped my abilities as an intellectual. I am challenged daily to deepen my analyses of complex subjects and materials in order to form and defend my own critical thoughts. Over the past 5 years, thanks to the American Studies professors who have dedicated their time to my success, I have grown tremendously on both a personal and academic level. That growth, which is rooted in constant encouragement from AMS faculty, staff, and students, helped me seamlessly transition into my master’s program here at UA. Skills you learn as an American Studies major are transferable in many aspects of your life, and I value my time at UA more than anything solely because of the work and growth I have completed brought forth to me by the countless opportunities the AMS Department has to offer.