Language, Culture, & Career

Join three African Cultural Studies alumni as they discuss their career journeys.

See where their language study and campus experiences have taken them!

Clayton Stevenson n graduated UW-Madison in December of 2012(back when the department was called African Languages and Literature). He began working as a customer service representative at an online art retailer in Madison right before graduating. A few months into the position, the warehouse supervisor left the company and Clayton assumed more responsibilities.  Eventually, he was offered the full time role as warehouse manager.  Craving more excitement, Clayton began looking for jobs in China and left to teach English in February of 2014. He only spent 6 months in that role as it was not a good fit. After returning to the US, he took a job working at Kay Jewelers as a sales associate with the intention of only using it as a hold over until something more suitable came along. Around the same time, he began working remotely part time for a start up called Vericant in China and, in time, was approached about applying for a management position. He accepted that role, moved to Beijing and was there for a year. At one point, he was able to conduct his role entirely remotely, so the following year he split his time between the US and Kenya. He again moved to Beijing in June of 2017 to take on a different role with Vericant where he was working with the web development team to help smooth out a release. His role once again evolved from there to include managing a couple departments. Very recently, his role changed again and now he is a Data Analyst/Developer with Vericant.

Taylor Jackson graduated from UW-Madison in 2016, with a Bachelor of Arts in African Languages & Literature and International Studies, the first in her family to graduate from college. During her time at UW Madison, Taylor was involved in various leadership roles with the organization Colleges Against Cancer, and got the opportunity to study abroad in Morocco one summer to further her Arabic skills. After graduating, Taylor started working at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County as a College Success Coach, where her role was to support students in transitioning successfully to college. Taylor is currently the TOPS Manger of Mentoring & Career Development at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, serves as Vice-President on the Board of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network – Madison, and serves on various committees in Madison working to increase access to opportunities for high school and college students.  

Nicole Granacki is a Program Manager on the Customized Programs Team at IES Abroad. In this role, Nicole works with universities to develop and support unique study abroad opportunities around the world, including destinations in Africa. Before joining IES, Nicole spent years developing and supporting international programs for educational institutions and non-profits such as National Geographic, Harvard University, and Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. She has developed programs on all seven continents and has traveled to over 55 countries. She also worked at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland on an EU project to increase capacity of online masters programs. Her passion for education as a powerful vehicle for social change has shaped her career in this field. Prior to working in international education, she was a community organizer for a large, international environmental organization, and worked on a number of high profile political campaigns. Nicole earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Religious Studies and Africa Studies, and a Master of Science degree from the University of Edinburgh in Anthropology. As an undergrad, Nicole participated in faculty-led study abroad programs to China, Costa Rica, and Argentina. After graduation, she direct enrolled in the Institute of Kiswahili and Foreign Languages in Tanzania. In her spare time, Nicole enjoys mentoring students through Chicago Scholars, watching the Cubs, and dreaming of her next visit to Africa.