Mackenzie Hurlbert – General Assignment Reporter –
The crowd filing into the Majors Expo in the Adanti Student Center ballroom was comprised of freshmen, students with undecided majors and those who were simply curious. Faculty eagerly leaned over the tables lining the walls to share their enthusiasm for their major with prospective students. White SCSU bags in hand, students took advantage of the free information—and free candy—and met with professors to discuss their possibilities at Southern. The sixth annual Majors Expo, held Oct. 10 from noon to 3 p.m., was a success for both faculty and students.
“I have to say this year we had the best response from all of the academic departments,” said Pat Whelan, director of cooperative education and an organizer of the event. There were over 30 booths, each designated to a certain department, and the number of departments that were represented along with the array of decorations, banners, and posters was impressive compared to years past, she said.
The three goals of the Majors expo were to explore the majors that Southern offers, make connections with faculty, staff, upperclassmen and alumni, and learn about career options as they relate to your minor. This event and these opportunities were made possible through the collaboration of the Academic Advisement Center, Center for Career Service, and the First Year Experience Program.
“It was a collaborative effort between academic affairs and the university,” said Whelan, who was joined by Joanne Mielczarski, the associate director of academic advisement. Both women were part of the committee that organized the Majors Expo.
Freshman Nick Hetzel took this opportunity to learn about the different majors at Southern. “I’m hoping to expand my knowledge on the majors Southern has to offer,” said Hetzel, who is already declared as a History major and looking to possibly minor in Spanish.
On the other hand, Jodi Collin, also a freshman, used the Majors Expo as a chance to figure out what she wants to study. “I’m undecided, so I’ve just been looking around, asking what each department is about,” said Collin, whose thinking about majoring in social work. “I came to Southern because they have a good social work program and a lot of options to choose from.”
Freshman Shanesha Ross was also an undecided major who hoped to determine a direction by talking to departments at the expo. “I’m here because I have no major and no idea what I want to be, but I want to graduate in four years,” said Ross who was interested in the Liberal Studies program. “I looked at Liberal Studies and the create my own major/minors. I see something I like but I’m curious what I’ll be doing after I concentrate in it. “I’m still curious, but I like it.”
After visiting the booths and talking with faculty, students were asked to fill out a survey. Faculty were also asked to fill out a survey, and the responses of these questionnaires will be used to determine how this event could be improved for next year. “Each year we try to make it better,” said Whelan.
According to Whelan, last year’s surveys called for food, so this year a spread of refreshments were provided for faculty and students with help from the interim vice president of Southern, Dr. Peter Troiano. “Dr. Peter Troiano was generous enough to supply cookies and snacks,” said Whelan. “He also provided food for faculty.” The Majors Expo committee has listened and responded to the desires of students and faculty which are iterated through these surveys.
The collaborative effort to create such an event incorporated multiple groups and organizations on campus. Not only did faculty from multiple departments and university officials join together to organize the expo, but there were also many student volunteers. “We have wonderful volunteers,” said Whelan, and pointed out some representatives of Beta Mu Sigma and grad interns who volunteered to help out at the event. “They’ve traditionally volunteered with this and do a wonderful job of convincing students to complete surveys.”
The Majors Expo is each year to welcome, inform, and introduce freshmen or undecided students to the many majors and departments Southern has to offer.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to meet with faculty from the department they might be interested in,” Whelan said. “It’s such a nice sense of community. It’s comfortable for students.”