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We Are Liberal Arts

To celebrate our 150th anniversary, we’ve built a library of video stories highlighting our alumni—confident, active citizens poised to take risks, confront challenges, and thrive in an ever-changing world. This video series, We Are Liberal Arts, was honored with the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s Program Extraordinaire Award.

View the full We Are Liberal Arts video collection

 

“I'm proud of being engaged in my community.”

Catherine Gonzalez-Klang (BA ’09, Spanish studies) interprets for patients and families at Hennepin Healthcare, ensuring that hospital patients who don’t speak English get a voice in their healthcare. “I am really excited to come to work every day knowing that I'm going to be able to serve a population that needs to be able to communicate with their medical staff,” she says.

“When I went to CLA, it was important to realize that my education didn't just end with receiving the degree. It's a lifelong process,” Gonzalez-Klang says. “When you're a student at the College of Liberal Arts, it's really hard to know if you'll be happy in your job. I think it's important to think about different possibilities that you might not have known existed. Explore them at CLA, seize opportunities, and see where it takes you.”

 

"My liberal arts degree really helped me understand that we are global citizens.”

Alexis Yeboah (BA ’12, psychology; MPH ’15, public health administration & policy) was a community coordinator at the Minneapolis-St. Paul location of Impact Hub, a global community of 15,000 social innovators working to make the world a better place. She welcomed young professionals to the Twin Cities and helped them get connected. Her experience at Impact Hub helped her realize her “personal mission that I want to be a doer of change. My liberal arts degree really has prepared me to be that change agent,” Yeboah says.

“Everybody has an individual story and an individual skill set that is valuable,” she adds. “I was able to take courses with all different types of people... I was able to look at how society has an impact on the individual, and then I was also able to understand how culture, language, and background really impact other people.”

 

“In so many ways, we are liberal arts thinkers.”

Ashley Paguyo El Shourbagy (BA ‘09, journalism) and Ahmed El Shourbagy (BA ‘08, economics) are a husband-and-wife duo who co-run @DogsOfInstagram, which currently has more than four million followers. They’ve also started a company together, Lucy and Co., where they sell high-quality merchandise for dogs. 

“Given the fact that we run two very different businesses, but all simultaneously, I would definitely say that our liberal arts degrees have allowed us to be versatile thinkers, adaptable, and just be able to marry those two different businesses,” says Paguyo El Shourbagy.

“I wear a lot of hats,” El Shourbagy says, “I do a lot of different things—some analytical, some creative—and I think having a well-rounded education from the College of Liberal Arts prepared me for that kind of career. Maybe in some ways, without knowing it, I pushed myself to that type of role, because I have a wider toolset.”  

 

“This is a big world.  You don't have to do just one thing.”

Ian Truitner (BA ’95, theatre arts) moved to Los Angeles a year after earning his degree from the College of Liberal Arts. His background combines military service, theater, filmmaking, business development, and technology. Truitner is now a filmmaker and entrepreneur, and he thanks CLA for helping him learn to see circumstances from a larger perspective.

"A degree in liberal arts is a cross-section of humanity,” he says. “You're not just learning one aspect of how things work and centralizing your focus into that. You're learning small bits about everything... CLA really helped expand my mind. I think that, as a result of that, I never really saw obstacles to what I could potentially accomplish because it was a cross-section of everything."

 

“I love learning. Learning is something you're going to be doing your whole life. You might as well enjoy it.”

Brittany Resch (BA ’12, global studies) works as an attorney filing class-action complaints on behalf of consumers. “I represent people. I’m the voice for them in court,” she says. During her time working as a CLA Ambassador, she found her first job in law before she was even a law student.

“The College of Liberal Arts uniquely prepared me to be a lawyer because it gave me a wider lens from which to look at problems, to look at cases, to approach thinking through situations and to come up with new ideas,” Resch says. “It really surprised me in law school when I found out that my multifaceted approach was
a unique strength.”