News from The Mahurin Honors College
Jessica Williams Spotlight
- Sydney Windhorst
- Wednesday, June 28th, 2023
The Mahurin Honors College (MHC) paves the way for scholars to pursue their individual academic interests even if WKU does not have an established major. Some students such as Jessica Williams (MHC ‘21) chose an Honors Self Design Studies route where they can create their own major and select classes from many different areas.
Jessica first came to the hill as a Gatton Academy student but attended the University of Kentucky for her first year of college. She decided to return to the hill after a year and struggled to find one major that fit her specific interests. She ended up combining a self designed major in Critical Zone Sciences with Chinese.
From her time at Gatton and UK, she accumulated lots of credits in various fields of study that didn’t all pertain to one major. Utilizing the MHC self design studies major allowed her to graduate on time considering her varied coursework entering WKU.
During her time on the hill Jessica was involved in the Ecology and Horticulture clubs, she worked at the Crawford Hydrology lab, tutored in the Math Department, and participated in lots of political and environmental activism. Additionally, she founded a Sunrise Movement Hub in Bowling Green, a nationwide movement to get legislation passed to fight climate change, and organized a climate strike.
The MHC and WKU supported Jessica in her Self Design Studies major through advising and research funding, such as the FUSE Grant. She enjoyed the flexibility of the Self Design major.
“It definitely helped me not feel so boxed into something and enabled me to explore the things that I was interested in and that I thought would help me for my future.”
She advises scholars looking into a Self Design Studies major to discuss with industry professionals what skills would be helpful to have when building your major.
Jessica’s advice to current honors scholars is to, “try different things that you might be interested in because you never know what's going to lead to a passion.”
Jessica is currently taking a gap year to work and recuperate before applying for jobs and graduate school where she is looking at getting her Master’s in Environmental Data Science. She does hope to incorporate her Chinese degree into her future career as well.