Humanities based majors everywhere are asked the question when they declare their degree, “what are you going to do that?” But hundreds of graduates leaving Southern Utah University’s College of Humanities & Social Science stand firm knowing the market value of their degree holds high.
One of these graduates that has proved the worth of a humanities degree is Christina Meikle, who is graduating with the Class of 2014 with a double major in Spanish and vocal performance. A Minnesota native, Meikle came to SUU with big ambitions and with the guidance of her professors she has achieved much.
“I’ve had a lot of one-on-one training from some of the faculty on campus,” she said. “It is especially important to have that one-on-one training in the vocal department.”
With a music and language emphasis, Meikle is entering a career in education at Moroni Elementary School in Moroni, Utah teaching third graders.
Finding success in foreign languages is common for SUU T-Birds, such as Dayci Patterson who used SUU’s rich study abroad program to travel to Granada, Spain. She also studied for a year at the University of Massachusetts through the National Student Exchange program.
Now obtaining a degree in Spanish and anthropology, Patterson is hoping to immerse herself in the Spanish language after graduation and eventually receiving her doctorate in Spanish literature with an end goal to be a professor, stating that the reason is to be the like the many SUU professors who positively influenced her.
While students, like Patterson, used their collegiate experience to take a path that led them across continents, other students took a path that is less traveled, such as Robyn Lewis.
Lewis, who at the age of 48 decided to go back to school, is now graduating in the top of her class with a degree in psychology. With two children in tow, Lewis saw the necessity of obtaining a bachelor’s degree when she started looking for a new job and she was unqualified because of her lack of a degree.
“I was a little nervous to start school at my age, but it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she said.
The first member of her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, Lewis has used her time at SUU to experience as much as she possibly could with the hopes to become a marketable graduate.
Working part-time as a student secretary and also volunteering at Utah Court Appointed Special Advocate program for children and also the Domestic Crisis Center, Lewis’ time as a T-Bird was stressful but she gave credit to her professors and peers that gave her the necessary support to help her continue.
Now leaving the University she now calls home, Lewis said of the experience of returning to college, “I never thought I could do it, to succeed and to do this, I feel like you’re never too old and the time is going to come anyway, so you might as well follow your dream and do what you want to do.”
During her undergraduate years Lewis was able to maintain excellent grades, which has led her to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ clinical mental health counseling master’s program this fall. After graduate school she hopes to return to Cedar City and work as a private counselor.
With students like Meikle, Patterson and Lewis having set plans after graduation, other students enjoy the uncertainty that is coming with graduation day. For Valerie Owens, not knowing is part of the fun.
“Right now I’ve been asking around,” she said. “That’s the fun thing about SUU, we have a constant string of visiting poets and we also have great published professors who helped me realize what a job outside the safe realm of college will look like.”
With the hope of obtaining a master’s in creative writing, Owens is on the hunt for the perfect program, but with her excellent academic track record she will be the perfect student.
As the 2014 student commencement speaker and with a knack of academic excellence, Owens has excelled while she’s been a T-Bird. Growing up just south of Cedar City in St. George, Utah, Owens visited campus only once and fell in love with what she saw.
Whether these students are jumping right into their careers or obtaining more education, one thing that is for sure for these humanities graduates, their degree from SUU is going to help them soar to great heights. Congratulations Class of 2014.