Alumni Careers

Our alumni go on to pursue careers in academia, non-profit administration, curation, and entrepreneurship. While in the program, students have a variety of opportunities for professional development to prepare for life after graduation.

Featured Alumni

Eileen Isagon Skyers​

Arts Administration

Eileen Isagon Skyers is an artist, writer, and curator in New York City. She primarily works in manipulating image, sound, text and found footage to create environments that explore how people are inextricably connected through the shared digital conscious that permeates our daily lives. Skyers is a co-founder of HOUSING, a gallery in Brooklyn. And she is Manager of Digital Marketing at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Iris Williamson

Arts Administration

Iris Williamson is a curator, gallery owner, and an arts administrator. She co-founded and is co-director of the gallery HOLDING Contemporary. She is Program Manager for CONVERGE 45, an annual multi-day event that showcases international, national, and regional contemporary art and she is currently the Interim Assistant Director at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture.

​Sean Yeager


Sean Yeager is currently a PhD in English Candidate at Ohio State University. Sean earned his M.A. in Critical Studies from PNCA by performing a data-driven study of the temporal structure of narratives. This research was awarded the Paul Fourtier Prize for best paper by an emergent scholar at the 2019 Digital Humanities conference by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations. Sean received his M.Sc. in Physics from Texas A&M University with a focus in particle physics and cosmology. He performed data analysis for the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, and also contributed to the search for the Higgs Boson.

​Ellena Basada

Public Scholarship

Ellena Basada is the first student from PNCA to have been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. She is currently teaching and researching in Berlin, Germany. She received her BA from Pomona College in 2016 with a degree in English Literature and her MA in Critical Studies in 2019. She has been a contributing editor at Phoneme Media & Unnamed Press, VICE, Tin House Books, and Dismantle Magazine. She helped launch Art Discourse, an online platform for critical art and writing, and worked as an editorial/archival intern at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art.

​Carmen Denison


Carmen Brewton-Denison is the Director of Community Engagement at the racial justice and educational equity-focused nonprofit Campus Compact of Oregon. In this role she supports the development and implementation of racial justice programming in partnership with 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, K-12 schools, government, and nonprofit entities across the state of Oregon. Beginning her career as an artist, Denison’s work drew heavily upon histories of social intervention, anti-colonial pedagogy, and institutional critique. Ultimately, Denison’s creative practice led to work in social and racial justice with the co-founding of the Creative Activism Lab in 2013 at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Since then, Denison has worked on collaborative projects with Portland’s houseless community, youth at the Donald E. Long Detention Center, faculty at Portland State University, Portland Community College, Friends of the Children: Portland, to name a few. In addition to this, Denison supported the development of interdisciplinary and socially engaged -programming in Marylhurst University’s art department, where she taught critical theory and interdisciplinary thesis writing. She currently works with students in Portland State University’s University Studies Program, Wayfinding Academy, and the Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Critical Studies Program.

Julian Adoff


Julian Adoff is pursuing his PhD in Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is continuing to develop the research he began as a dual degree student in the MA in Critical Studies and MFA in Visual Studies programs at PNCA. As an art historian, his research centers around the history of graphic design, cultural theory, and visual/design culture, focusing on the political, social, and commercial effects of ephemera, with a specific interest in the use of these mechanics within the history of nationalism.

Schedule a visit

Get in touch with MA in Critical Studies Chair, Shawna Lipton to schedule a campus visit or to learn about the program today.