A&S finds niche for every interest

During her first semester at the University of Miami, Dani Graham found herself at the Miami Seaquarium swimming with dolphins as a part of her “Sounds Of The Sea” class.“’Sounds of the Sea’ was one of the most invigorating classes I’ve had here because of the field trips and the way the information was taught,” Graham said. “Having a professor that usually only teaches high-level classes was a good way to learn the difference between college and high school right off the bat.”“Sounds Of The Sea” is just one class offered as a part of the College of Arts and Science’s (CAS) Freshman Seminar program, which offers freshmen small, specialized classes, such as “Utopias and Disenchantments” and “Extreme Weather Conditions,” taught by distinguished faculty members. The classes are limited to 18 students and foster mentoring relationships between professors and students.At the University of Miami, CAS boasts the largest student pool and the most diverse range of majors— 36. From Microbiology to Africana Studies, religious studies to biochemistry, French to computer science, a diversity of programs and opportunities allows virtually every student to find a niche.“My priorities are to make sure faculty have what they need to be world-class scholars and to ensure that our students are actively engaged in that scholarship,” Jacqueline E. Dixon, Interim Dean of CAS, wrote on the college’s Web site.CAS incorporates several different honors programs into its curriculum that offer students smaller classes and a discussion-based approach. The General Honors Program is open to all Arts and Sciences majors, while honors programs in marine geology, medicine, and Latin American Studies target specific majors.“They put on a lot of events; they’re always hosting talks and films so you can supplement what you’ve learned inside the classroom and make it relevant,” said Stephanie Kryzak, a rising junior double majoring in international studies and anthropology. “Next semester I can’t wait to take a class on imperial China.”CAS also provides ample research opportunities that extend literally across the globe. Students have studied volcanoes in Iceland and primates in Madagascar, as well as conducting research in UM labs. The college’s “Beyond The Book” scholarship allows students to submit proposals for the opportunity to win $2,500 to fund their research.There are also plenty of avenues for students interested in the arts to express themselves.Recently, CAS has opened art galleries on campus and in Miami ’s Wynwood Art District, a hub for the modern art movement in Miami. Writers can take advantage of the Creative Writing program, whose students have produced over 40 published books. Or by Mangrove, a literary journal that publishes once a semester and features works of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction and visual arts.With such a wide range of programs and extracurricular activities available, CAS offers something to meet almost every student’s interests.

Savanna Stiff may be contacted at sstiff@themiamihurricane.com.