Student Ambassadors

Welcome and thank you for your interest in Cultural Studies at the University of Washington Bothell.  The Student Ambassadors are current graduate students in the Cultural Studies program who have volunteered to connect with prospective and newly admitted students and answer any questions you may have about the student experience. You are also welcome to connect with our Graduate Staff Assistant, a member of the 2012 Cultural Studies cohort and staff member in the IAS Graduate Office. Read more about our Student Ambassadors below and feel free to reach out directly to them by emailing

Meet the Cultural Studies Student Ambassadors

Vanessa Hooper, 2012 Cohort

My name is Vanessa and my research is around the U.S. incarceration system, exploring the societal and historical foundations of the prison industrial complex. For the last four years I have been volunteering at the King County Juvenile Detention Center through an organization called Pongo Teen Writing. I teach poetry one-on-one to incarcerated youth as a form of writing therapy to release histories of trauma, abuse, addiction, etc. Cultural Studies has allowed me to integrate my work with Pongo from an academic approach, providing a critical lens to imagine effective and creative ways of building awareness and change.

I received my BA from UW Seattle in 2009, majoring in Conflict Resolution which complemented Cultural Studies. My favorite thing about the MACS program is the relationships and connections I have made. When my life isn't run by MACS, I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, writing poetry, going to hear live music, and spending time with friends. After graduation I plan on moving to New York City. Contact me at

Lauren Russell, 2012 Cohort

As I move through the second year of the MACS program, I am able to reflect upon the unexpected opportunities I have been privileged to be a part of. Just this past summer I was able to travel with Professor Crispin Thurlow to Berlin, Interlaken, and London as the student liaison for his Urban Communications study abroad seminar. Secondly, I was invited back to my previous graduate assistantship role at the Admissions Office as an Undergraduate Admissions Reader for the winter quarter.

My participation in the MACS program has also allowed me to develop relationships with fellow classmates; I've enjoyed the various ways in which I have been able to weave my personal interests into my course work, and the caring professors who genuinely have my best interest at heart. Currently, I am in the process of completing my Capstone project on the importance of urban agriculture and community gardens in Seattle, as well as anticipating graduation. Contact me at

Nate Stout, 2012 Cohort

While I have a pretty broad range of interests, most of them relate in some degree to issues of the social imaginary. I’ve explored “things that do nothing”, impossible tasks, and a variety of ambiguous terrains for inspiration toward abstracted ways of seeing and being in the world. My specific area of research relates to issues of translation in experimental poetics, specifically artistic and theoretical works from Martinique. This too is an unwieldy and broad area of study, but considerations of divergence or absence in meaning across language has been a fruitful direction for my artistic practice, and has provided a platform to solidify a critical approach to the “common sense” of my location within culture.

My time within the MACS cohort and among its faculty has been consistently beneficial in intellectual, political, and social terms. The opportunity for complex and illuminating dialogue across disciplinary and cultural lines is ever-present, and the growth that comes from the learning processes within the cohort model is indescribable. Contact me at

Graduate Staff Assistant

Sofia Piel, 2012 Cohort

As Graduate Staff Assistant, I assist the IAS Graduate Office with program promotion, student recruitment, and administrative support. I work with current and prospective students in all three of our graduate programs, with questions concerning applications, registration, relocation logistics, and any of the other details of life in graduate school.  I feel very fortunate to have this position, and I've never worked with a nicer group of people! I'm also a second-year student in the Cultural Studies program, and my Capstone research focuses on the integration of arts-based practices in global leadership programs for Seattle youth. I moved to Seattle from New Hampshire to be a part of the interdisciplinary community here at UW Bothell, and I’m so glad I did. My perspective on social inequality issues has grown in many directions, and my goal to work as a positive agent of social change is becoming clearer and more exciting with every class.

As a staff member and a student, I can answer questions about the student experience at UW Bothell as well as the logistical aspects of applying to graduate school. Feel free to contact me directly at