Opportunities & 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

Eileen Isagon Skyers​

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

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

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

​Ellena Basada

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.

Hannah Bakken

Hannah Bakken is the Studio Manager of Neu Haus Press. She hails from Malheur County, OR and works interdisciplinarily by combining print media with sculpture and installation to explore identity, the body, landscape, and place. She received her BFA in Studio Art from Southern Oregon University in 2017 and her MFA in Print Media and MA in Critical Studies in 2020.




We connect students with opportunities for paid work including on-campus positions and off-campus internships. Internship opportunities are also available to international students.

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Caldera interior

Four-day Caldera Retreat

During the second year of the program, students join a visiting scholar and MA Chair for a four-day intensive of study, dialog and community in the beauty and solitude of Caldera located next to Blue Lake at the foot of the Cascade mountains.

Credit-bearing international studies trips

Students can participate in special international studies trips such as Global Studio Berlin with Dr. Brigitte Salami.

This multi-disciplinary social science seminar (available for art history credit) uses the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall as a springboard for an in-depth investigation into the political, social and artistic heritage of this global metropolis. It considers the role of Berlin and its artists (and architects) during the Kingdom of Prussia, the Weimar Republic and World War I, the Third Reich (the Greater German Reich under the Nazi regime) and World War II, and follows its history through and beyond the country’s occupation by Allied Forces and its division into a communist and a capitalist nation) during the Cold War.

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Plotters, scanners, 3D printers, large-scale printers, and other facility equipment in the Make+Think+Code Technology and Research Lab Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).


Students can span into technology, math and science to enrich their research by creating additional connections to programs such as the Art and Science Initiative and Make+Think+Code, the art and technology lab at PNCA.

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English Institute

The MA in Critical Studies Program is an institutional sponsor of The English Institute. For more than seven decades The English Institute has been a major resource for developments in criticism, theory, and scholarship, while honoring traditional fields of interest and modes of literary analysis.

In 2015 The English Institute began moving its annual meeting around the country.

Three institutions will now host The English Institute conference: Yale University (2015 and 2018), the University of Chicago (2016 and 2019), and the University of California at Irvine (2017 and 2020).


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.