Global Studies profiles of AMS students:
The Global Stride program
allows to apply their stipends
toward study-abroad costs or intensive language programs.
As part of the Global Stride scholarship, the fellows interviewed
and profiled international students in the college’s graduate
program in American Studies, to help familiarize them with
people who have made cultural transitions.
The Gate will
publish their profiles in an occasional series.
Kim Fong '14, Global Stride Fellow
Julie Ramage GR, American
Studies Diploma program
Free spirit and rebel are the
perfect words to describe Julie Ramage. She might try to
deny that description, and she can come off as slightly shy,
though that’s likely the result of an unfamiliarity with
American ways. But during my interview with her and our discussions
about art and her studies at Smith, her outgoing personality
shone through with a refreshing and unexpected outlook. She
has one of the most unique pioneer spirits I have encountered.
Before meeting her, I was intrigued
about Julie because we both had interest in art. Her decision
to come to Smith is particularly interesting. Julie is an
aspiring artist, and in the art world—the center of which, she considers, is New
York City—one needs to speak English, she says.
to Smith thinking she would only take art and English classes,
but was required to take an American studies class for her
scholarship—much to her initial dislike. She soon realized,
however, that she could not live in the United States without
understanding American culture, and has since embraced her
American Society and Culture class.
She is impressed with
the respectful relationships among students and professors,
she says—like “collaboration” in which professors engage
in discussion with their students as opposed to “lecturing
down” to them. And she was surprised by one common behavior
among Smith students: everyone does his or her homework.
Discussing Julie’s favorite
artists, as well as those she dislikes, helped me understand
her artistic perspective. After breaking her leg while dancing,
Julie first came to love the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo,
who similarly turned to paining following an accident. Kahlo
painted numerous self-portraits that represented her deep
emotions rather than her physical self. Originally working
with paint, Julie today creates art with digitally edited
photography, focusing on the body, nature and religion.
Also, she respects and really
likes Pablo Picasso’s
large range of work. But, she says, Picasso is too present
in France. France’s art galleries are very conservative and
tend to showcase famous and established artists’ work, she
Among her dislikes is the French
Impressionist Claude Monet. When Julie looks at his work, “I do not feel anything,” she
says. She appreciates artists whose works actively engage
viewers. Emotions and ambiguity play a strong role in influencing
and provoking her perspective.
After Smith, Julie hopes to
work as an artist, possibly teaching. She may travel to Brazil
with her fiancé, who has a job opportunity there.
capstone project at Smith, Julie is planning an exhibition
of her work inspired by the American poet and painter Stan
Rice, whose poems have a strange atmosphere that intrigues
her. Especially appealing to Julie is the story about Stan
Rice, who was the husband of Ann Rice and advised his wife
to become a writer, a profession Julie had aspired to for
It’s advice she takes to heart.