Formerly known as the Major Fair, the rebranded event brought together a variety of majors, minors and academic opportunities for first-year and undecided students to explore.
Picking a major can be challenging. That’s where the Dr. Steven D. House Academic Opportunities Fair comes in.
“The idea was to bring in all of the majors and let students talk to professors or older upperclassmen students in that major or minor so that they can ask questions and see if that is something they want to major in,” Kaitlyn O’Donnell, Love School of Business senator for the Student Government Association, said.
The fair, which took place on the first floor of Belk Library Tuesday afternoon, featured rows of tables, with representatives from a variety of schools and majors staffing each. Previously known as the Major Fair, the event was renamed this year by SGA to honor Steven D. House, who concluded his service as provost on Sept. 1. The Academic Opportunities Fair follows in its predecessor’s footsteps while expanding to offer information about additional academic opportunities, such as Engaged Learning Requirements like study abroad.
“We can’t graduate without our five ELRs,” O’Donnell said. “We have the tutoring center, the writing center, SPDC, GEC — we have all of those different organizations that support academia so that any student with any sort of question can hopefully have that answered.”
Nicholas Williams ’23 attended the fair to find ways to complement his chosen major. “I know that I’m majoring in Psychology, but I’ve been looking at a few minors,” he said.
Williams recommends that first-year students following their passions when choosing a major. “Be open to new things and don’t be worried about the nay-sayers,” he said.
Faculty at the fair offered in-depth looks at what their disciplines would offer to help students determine if a specific major would be a good fit. Representing Elon’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics was Professor Crista Arangala, department chair. When promoting the department to those who may be interested in majoring in mathematics or statistics, Arangala said that it is important to talk about the value of the degree students would obtain.
“Data, specifically statistics, data is everywhere,” she said. “We’ve constructed our major so that they align well with other majors.”
“For instance, we have a major in biostats, so somebody could easily think about double-majoring in biology and biostats so they could see how statistics plays into their biology interests,” Arangala said. “We are trying to create collaborative partnerships across campus so that people can see how mathematics and statistics connect to all disciplines across the campus.”
Reilly Rose ‘23 took particular interest to the Center for Leadership and the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center. “I had kind of planned to stop in their offices but I was like ‘I’ll just come to the fair.’” Rose has already chosen a major, but found that the fair helped her explore additional opportunities.
Do things that you wouldn’t expect to be interested in. If you take a certain class in something you wouldn’t normally be interested in, you could find a niche within your field.
“I kind of want to look for ways to incorporate some of these other resources into what I’m doing,” she said. “Since I’m a Cinema and Television Arts major, I went over to the study abroad table to figure out what kind of opportunities there were that had to do with my major and to keep my eye out for things that could come in handy.”
Like Williams, Rose said she followed her passion, and her first weeks at Elon have reaffirmed her decision. “I have always known that I want to do something in the performing arts or in cinema and television arts,” she said. “Coming here I knew that there were a lot of opportunities to practice film and learn about a lot of other things.”
For students who aren’t as set on a specific major or are still exploring their passions, Rose recommends trying new things. For herself, that was discovering an interest in religion, a topic she can address within the film industry.
“Do things that you wouldn’t expect to be interested in,” Rose advised. “If you take a certain class in something you wouldn’t normally be interested in, you could find a niche within your field.”