My Favorite Class: Cheyenne Smith, Introduction to American Studies

Cheyenne holds a pennant on campus.

Today we speak to Cheyenne Smith, a senior Early Childhood Education major with a dual minor in American Studies & Africana Studies from Somerdale, NJ (Camden County). Cheyenne is a transfer student from Camden County College and commutes to campus.

Cheyenne poses outside of James Hall.

What was the name of your favorite class at Rowan?

Introduction to American Studies is my favorite class.

What department was the class in?

The class is in the American Studies Department

Who taught the class when you took it?

Professor Brian Dashefsky was my professor for Introduction to American Studies. 

Tell us a little about what the class is.

In Intro to American studies, we learned about history, but in a new light. This course was an introduction to the history, the people, and the culture of America, and to encourage critical thinking and writing. In addition to this, we learned about the Vietnam war and WWII through different perspectives, in the form of a story from a different point of view and forces you to think critically and change your perspective on it. We learned about how pop culture was developed and who runs pop culture. We looked at ads from the 1950s and old commercials and compared them to today and saw not much change in the approach.

Cheyenne poses on a bench.

Share with us a few details on why this class was interesting.

I loved the material we talked about in class. It was a lot of critical thinking and using the critical eye to observe and reflect. You learn about pop culture and how it was born, view world history in a new light than your typical classes in the past to expand and broaden your perspective.

Is there anything else that made this class impactful?

The project that you have to do at the end of the semester is amazing! I had so much fun doing this. It was incorporating pop culture of today with what we learned over the semester and present it to the class in about a seven-minute presentation. I volunteered to go first because I was that confident in the material I was equipped with to present my project.

What makes this professor great?

Professor Dashefsky is the best professor! Has a great sense of humor, easy-going guy, has easy grades. He may give a pop quiz ONLY if the class is not participating. He likes conversation and equal participation in the class. His approach to the content of the class was unforgettable and made it easy to learn and feel great learning. It almost felt like we weren’t in a lecture but a general educated conversation for three hours! Time flies when you’re having fun with Professor Dashefsky!

How did this class help to support your academic or personal growth or your professional goals?

This class helped me realize that what I’m always taught is not always right and that there are other people in this world who also have feelings. The content and material in the class forced us to change our point of view and place ourselves in other’s shoes.

What are your professional goals?

I want to be a teacher in a public school and hopefully, eventually, work my way up to being the principal, and then get on the board of education to improve and make a change in the world one child at a time.

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Story by:
Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major

Photos by:
Stephanie Batista, sophomore music industry major

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