Graduating Senior Spotlight: Q&A with Morgan Hamernik

Headshot of Morgan Hamernik with a green background

Hometown: Eagan, MN

Major: English

Minor: Public Health; Editing and Publishing Certificate

Activities you are involved in: Fellowship of Undergraduate Students in English (FUSE), CLA Student Ambassadors, University Honors Program

What is your favorite class that you took in CLA? Is there a professor that you particularly enjoyed working with? How did they prepare you for the next phase of your life?

Outside of English, my favorite class was AMST 3112 - Prince, Porn, and Public Space with Professor Elliott Powell. The course focused on the cultural importance of the Twin Cities in the 1980s, specifically centering on Prince and his music as well as the Cities' involvement in national debates about pornography, morality, and music censorship. I'm a big fan of Prince, so I was actually very excited to do homework for this class—one of our assignments each week was to listen to an album of his. I would highly recommend the course if you want to learn more about Minneapolis' rich musical history!

How would you describe your time in your major?

I didn't declare my English major until the end of my sophomore year, but I'm so glad I did. I have learned so much about literature during my time in the English major, as expected, but I have also learned how to see the world in different ways and how to communicate effectively about what I'm seeing. It has been extremely eye-opening.

Why is a liberal arts education important to you?

When I think about liberal arts education, I think about flexibility and adaptability. It was so important to me that I had the opportunity to learn beyond the subject that I majored in. After all, it's great to be knowledgeable about your field of study, but it's even more impressive to have skills outside of that area that can translate to any work you are doing. Thanks to my time in CLA, I am much more confident in my communication skills and my ability to lead a team. A liberal arts education has set me up to be a life-long learner. 

If you could go back and give your first-year self one piece of advice, what would it be?

If I could go back, I would tell myself that it is completely okay to change your academic path a year or two into college. I spent so much time worrying about switching my major, but it would've helped to realize that no one expects you to know what you want to do with your life when you're 18 years old. Use your time in college to explore what is interesting to you, not what you think you should be doing because someone told you so. 

What is your favorite study spot on campus?

I love to study in Nolte Center. It's cozy and bright, and it always has great heat during the cold winter months. 

What's next for you? What are your post-graduation plans?

After graduation, I am taking a gap year or two to apply to English PhD programs and give myself time to read some books for fun! I will also be working as an administrative and communications specialist for the Association for Nonsmokers–Minnesota, a local nonprofit dedicated to tobacco control. 

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