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Students Explore Majors and Careers Despite Challenges

The School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) Summer Exploration Grant is awarded to undeclared students who spend their summers exploring future majors and careers. In past years, students have studied abroad in Beijing, volunteered in South Africa, and toured with Drum Corps International. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, grant recipient decisions were finalized as many summer programs were canceled.

This year’s recipients displayed their commitment to exploration and quickly pivoted. In lieu of studying abroad or interning in Washington D.C., some grant recipients found ways to explore careers and majors independently. In one student’s case, even in his own backyard.

This summer, Christopher Linares plans to construct a greenhouse and research climate change in a controlled environment. His research project supports his interests in environmental biology and sustainability. Linares will plant high-demand crops and change multiple variables that can affect production and growth. He hopes to see, first-hand, how climate change affects crop production.

Sydney Gray is interested in studying journalism and Spanish. This summer, she will start a blog and accompanying podcast tackling social justice topics. Gray plans to conduct interviews with people of all backgrounds, sharing their stories and using her Spanish skills to create bilingual posts and episodes. “Creating a blog and podcast will allow me to explore media and writing while creating a portfolio I can present to internships and jobs in the future,” Gray says.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients! Learn more about the UGS Summer Exploration Grant.