Social Sciences majors explore new paths.
For many University of Chicago students, summer quarters are a time for delving into previously unexplored aspects of the university. From summer camps focusing on research experiences to laboratory experiments to internship positions on and off campus, the 10 weeks from late June to late August are full of opportunities that further enrich the UChicago experience. Diana Funez, AB’20 (Cinema Studies/French, expected) seized such a chance by accepting an internship with the Division of the Social Sciences Communications team. In that role, she was a writer and reporter, developing this series of undergraduate profiles to illustrate the possibilities that pursuing a social sciences major offers.
As a Humanities major who had not yet taken any courses in the Social Sciences, it was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the Division—all through the vibrant community of students, professors, and the Communications team that so kindly shared with me what the Social Sciences mean to them. At the end of the ten weeks, that is what stood out to me the most: the people at the center of the Social Sciences.
- Diana Funez, AB’20 (Cinema Studies/French, expected)
Josh Aaronson, AB’19 (Economics/Computer Science, expected) and Leah Shapiro, AB’18 (Comparative Human Development, expected)
"Our major goal is not to create the next class of greatest debaters, but to give students skills that are necessary to succeed," says rising third year Josh Aaronson. Combining their experience and passion in debate and education, Aaronson and rising fourth year Leah Shapiro founded nonprofit organization Debate It Forward to develop children’s empathy, self-confidence, and public speaking skills.
Aubrey Christofersen, AB'19 (Political Science/History, expected)
Aubrey Christofersen was interested in Political Science, but after just two History classes, he knew he wanted to look into a double major. To Christofersen, a rising third year and a Chicago native, the two subjects are a natural pair. “History provides the backbone for political science,” he says. Through his courses, he has seen that political theory and philosophy have deep roots in history, and history, in turn, can become political.
Marianne Dolan, AB’19 (Psychology, expected)
When rising third year Marianne Dolan first arrived at the University, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she says, “but I had so many interests.” Two years later, Dolan works in two developmental psychology research labs on campus that focus on children’s social understanding. Her work in cross-cultural data coding was funded by the University of Chicago’s College Research Fellows Program, which sponsors research
assistants’ work with University faculty mentors, and she looks forward to her future within Psychology.
Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers, AB’20 (History, expected)
“There are so many different facets of people to study,” says rising second year Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers. “We can study the way they use money, or how they think, or what they have done in the past, or how they organize society, but it’s all about what we do [now]. It’s fascinatingly unpredictable and yet there’s lots of patterns. The natural world functions on laws.”
Madeleine Johnson, AB’20 (Economics/Statistics, expected)
“It’s interesting to see how things that you don’t think would be connected at all can actually be helped by one another,” says rising second year Madeleine Johnson. Building upon her work experience and exposure to different fields in high school, this Economics and Statistics major drew connections between her work and experience outside of the classroom to Social Sciences courses this year.
Rebecca Julie, AB’19 (Sociology, expected)
Though it is now her passion, rising third year Rebecca Julie did notknow she was interested in Sociologywhen she came to the University as a first year. Ready to study English, she instead realized she was drawn to another field. “My English papers were always about characters interacting with each other and their settings and how that informs us as to the current state of our own world,” says Julie. “When I got to college and realized there was an entire discipline dedicated to that, and that I didn’t need to use the fictional novel as a lens to talk about social interaction, I knew Sociology was the major for me.”
Tegan Keigher, AB’19 (Economics/Psychology, expected)
Since she was in high school, Tegan Keigher knew that she was interested in Psychology, but she didn’t know what future she should strive for in college. She came in during her teacher’s lunch hour to ask for advice, but—to her great surprise—her ultimate choice was helped by an Economics teacher that happened to share the same lunch hour. “I was talking to my teacher about jobs in Psychology and he came over and joined the conversation,” says Keigher. “He started talking about Behavioral Economics.”
Karla Ruiz, AB’20 (Political Science, expected)
For rising second-year Karla Ruiz, majoring in Political Science means learning for a larger purpose. “I’m interested in knowing the history of politics and knowing how to bring people together,” she says. “I’m interested in learning about the broader scope and bigger picture.”