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. Read more about our Student Ambassadors below and feel free to reach out directly to them by emailing

Meet the Cultural Studies Student Ambassadors

Alexandra Holien, 2013 Cohort

My research centers around topics related to cultural geography, urban planning and examining cities as sites of identity production.  Broadly, I am exploring how geographic space and spaces form, influence, and represent particular identities within a city, community, or neighborhood.  To do this I am examining particular sites in the Seattle area that are changing due to gentrification and / or urbanization, looking at how existing identities in certain areas will adapt or perish within this change. It is my hope that my work will be reviewed by stakeholders in the communities (i.e. city officials, neighborhood planning boards, etc.) to help them gain a better understanding of how identities are formed in relation to the physical space we inhabit.

For me personally, coming to these conclusions about my research interests was not an easy endeavor.  Upon entering MACS in Autumn 2013, I was one of the students who had too many interests and wasn’t quite sure where to hang my academic hat.  While moving through the program, and trusting in the system that MACS implemented, I was able to narrow my own interest and concentrate on issues that I feel the most passionate about pursuing.  My favorite thing about MACS is that it has given me whole new way of thinking about issues of inequality, and has given me the language to articulate my critiques. When I am not consumed by my research and studies I enjoy catching up with friends, cooking, traveling, and hanging out with my husband and our dog Ziggy. 

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Julie Hurst, 2013 Cohort

I came to MACS with a professional background in Student Affairs, having worked in housing and residential life, and most recently study abroad. The experiences in study abroad led me to MACS and have influenced by research interests. My capstone project involves study abroad, access, and the various ways that traditionally underrepresented students make meaning of their experiences abroad.

In many ways, the MACS program has provided me opportunities, along with the space, to broaden existing questions that I had regarding study abroad in general, while challenging me to ask an entirely new set of questions that I had not yet considered. Because the program is interdisciplinary, the electives that I've taken have allowed me to consider those questions from a variety of different angles, which has transformed (and continues to transform) my way of looking at study abroad. I have found the MACS environment to be the perfect balance of challenge and support. 

When not focused on my research topic of study abroad, I'm most likely to be dancing, listening to music, people watching, or daydreaming about traveling.

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Joyce Mwangi, 2013 Cohort

My name is Joyce Kabura Mwangi and I am proceeding to my second year of the MACS program. I am a Kenyan, and attained my Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and philosophy of religious studies from University of Nairobi. I have a lot of experience in working with nonprofit organizations, experience gained in Kenya and currently through internships and volunteer work with various nonprofit organizations in Seattle and Bothell, in Washington.

MACS is an interdisciplinary program and this has allowed me to take various courses within the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Science.  I find this aspect of the MACS program very encouraging as I am able to fill in any academic gaps in order to become a well-rounded MACS graduate. Further, the interdisciplinary nature of the program gives students the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with other graduate students and faculty.

My Capstone research project is on how states use their power to control and regulate populations. I will use the Identity document:- the Green Card - as the site for this research.  Deciding on a research topic was a process for me as I have had to shift my thinking as I proceed in the MACS program. From my experience, the shift in my research topic happened as a result of the learning process and due to the development of my reflective and analytical skills, which I find to be a continuous process.

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Mollie Wolf, 2013 Cohort

I am a Bay Area transplant, and am slowly but surely learning to love the Northwest. In many ways, MACS has provided an important space for me to understand and articulate some of my personal, professional, and political commitments and aspirations. Both academically and personally, I am interested in the nonprofit industrial complex, healing justice, the politics of care, caring-labor in social movements, and the ways that grassroots, radical structures of caregiving can generate powerful resistance to the systems that shape our world.

My undergrad degree was in Comparative Ethnic Studies, and before starting MACS, I worked for many years with a small nonprofit in Oakland that does diversity education with elementary school students. I am a martial artist, a passionate believer in the wisdom of The Phantom Tollbooth, and a professional at singing babies to sleep.

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