|| Senior prepares for the future by designing her own major
RELEASED: December 17, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—When she was an entering first-year student, Erica Horton '10 of West Chester, Ohio, was undecided about her future major at Centre College.
When she realized one year later that no established major perfectly embodied her educational passions, she designed her own—social justice studies.
"I was originally interested in anthropology/sociology and history," she says. "As I was deciding on what to declare as a major, I decided to look into a self-designed major and tailored it to fit my interests."
Centre encourages its students to design their own majors, and the possibilities are endless. Like the College's other students with self-designed majors, Horton is pleased with the results.
"I believe that my choice to design a major around such an abstract concept has opened a lot of doors for me," the senior says.
Because she plans on attending graduate school to study social work or community development, her self-designed social justice studies major has given her the academic background needed for her future.
Centre students who design their own majors do so with the aid of their professors, who offer valuable advice about what disciplines will be most beneficial in the new realms of study.
"The professors I went to for advice were very supportive and extremely helpful with putting together the proposal," Horton says.
With the aid of these professors, Horton has taken classes in an array of disciplines. And she feels that two courses in particular—"Poverty and Homelessness" and "Human Rights in a Global Society"—have best prepared her for the future.
"Both of these helped me gain a better perspective and focused on issues I'm most interested in," she says. "They've given me much insight into possible career paths and future fields of study."
"During CentreTerm 2009, I had the privilege of traveling to Nicaragua to study 'Civil Society and Sustainable Development,'" she says. "The three weeks I spent there helped me gain a more global perspective and enlightened me to the complexities of both globalization and poverty abroad."
While in Nicaragua, Horton lived with two different families, one in the capital city, Managua, and one in the countryside.
"My host-families were extremely welcoming and made me feel at home," she says. "I learned a lot from the conversations with them, especially discussing the history and politics of Nicaragua with people who had lived it. Overall, the interactions with many individuals from a very different culture and society were what made me grow the most as a person and inspired me to be more active as a global citizen."
Horton has also been greatly influenced by her experiences with the Bonner Program, which provides students with many opportunities to serve local communities during their college years.
"The advice of my mentors, including both faculty and staff, has helped shape me both as a person and academically through my multi-disciplinary course of study," she says.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
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