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 based in New York City. Her work and research engages with identity, new media, and digital culture. She co-founded the New-York based gallery HOUSING, whose mission is to support artistic practices and aesthetic experiences that contour the limits of visibility, and advance the conditional inclusion of artists of color. Alongside her work as an independent curator, Skyers has worked with arts institutions and organizations including Rhizome, David Zwirner, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Skyers is currently Director of Communications at Foundation (

Iris Williamson

Arts Administration

Iris Williamson is an artist, curator, and producer based in Portland, OR. She co-founded HOLDING Contemporary, a project that fronts as a commercial gallery and runs on an experimental business model. Previous projects include co-founding artist-run spaces Hap Gallery (Portland, OR), enter:gallery (NYC), Dugg Dugg (Charlotte, NC), and Southern Holiday (Charlotte, NC), as well as curating for the city of Charlotte during the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Williamson received her MA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and her BFA in Studio Art and Art History from the University of Florida.

​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

Independent Scholar

Ellena Basada holds a BA in English and Philosophy from Pomona College, where she was graduated cum laude, receiving the Crookshank English Department Thesis Award, and an MA in Critical Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, where she was the recipient of a Hallie Ford Research Scholarship and served as Founding Editor of the art-criticism journal Discursive Impulse. A 2019-2020 Fulbright Fellow, she is the organizer of Affect Zoom Salon and Ad.Doc Archive, online platforms meant to build globally accessible intellectual communities. Her work—a hybrid of research, creative writing, poetry, criticism, and autofiction—can be found in VICE, LA Review of Books, The New Inquiry, Heavy Traffic Lit Mag, and Soft Surface Poetry, among others.

​Carmen Denison


Carmen Brewton Denison is a writer, educator, artist, and activist who resides in Portland, Oregon. She currently serves as the Executive Director at racial justice and educational equity-focused non-profit organization, 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. She also coordinates, designs, and facilitates Campus Compact of Oregon's policy and community engagement initiatives with campus and community partners in Oregon and across the country. Beginning her career as a visual artist, Denison’s early work drew heavily upon histories of social intervention, anti-colonial and anti-racist pedagogy, and Black Feminist critique. Denison’s practice led to non-profit work with the co-founding of the Creative Activism Lab in 2013 with an Innovation Award from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. From there, Denison went on to work with the Portland Community College Community-Based Learning department to support community engagement methodologies that center critical race theory and community wisdom.

Denison has worked on collaborative projects that have focused on issues of homelessness/housing, prison abolition, environmental justice, international feminisms, labor, and youth empowerment. As a teacher and facilitator, Denison supported the development of interdisciplinary and socially engaged-programming in Marylhurst University’s art department, where she taught critical theory and interdisciplinary thesis research and writing. She currently works with students in Portland State University’s University Studies Program and Pacific Northwest College of Arts Critical Studies Program where she designs, facilitates, and teaches applied theory curriculum.

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.

Alley Pezanoski-Browne

Arts Administration

Alley Pezanoski-Browne grew up in a family dedicated to the arts, education, and social justice, which led her to focusing on Film/Video and Sociological Studies at Northwestern University where she earned a B.S. in Communications. For the next decade, she worked as a producer and coordinator for various documentaries, and also worked on arts/media projects and events, with a focus on fundraising and community-building. She received her master’s from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and had a stopover in Hong Kong as a Fulbright Scholar. Alley is currently the Executive Director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC). Her work has been shown on PBS Independent Lens and published in the Leonardo Music Journal and Bitch.

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.

Photo by Adam Simmons, PNCA Class of 2017