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Bachelor's Degree With Individual Concentration

Fall 2007 Newsletter
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New BDIC Students

We have a whole new crop of BDIC students in the fall proposal writing classes. Here are some glimpses at their intriguing concentrations:

Hannah Jacobson-Hardy
By Kate Cessna

Hannah Jacobson-Hardy, a transfer student from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, is currently completing the proposal writing class and is pursuing an ambitious concentration in Sustainability and Environmental Justice, which will include classes from the Five College Consortium, as well as courses from the Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences and Geosciences departments here at UMass Amherst.

Hannah's interest in sustainable living stems from a deep and genuine concern for the health of the planet, which is integrated into her life both academically and personally. When she is not taking classes or acting as a Teaching Assistant for John Gerber's Gardenshare practicum, Hannah can be found enjoying the outdoors, whether it be through reading by a pond, biking through the hill towns, swimming at the lake near her family's summer home, or traveling the world, something she plans to do extensively through the Living Routes program later in her tenure at UMass. After graduation, Hannah hopes to pursue work with an environmental NGO or as an outdoor youth leader, with the ultimate goal of one day founding an energy independent community in New Hampshire which "welcomes people of all ages and races to demonstrate sustainable living."

Sarah Arrigo
By Gina Simonelli

A recent transfer student from Hampshire College, Sarah is excited to include all of her unique interests and skills into her BDIC concentration. Through her City as Performance concentration she will be focusing her studies on the role of arts in the development of cities by including courses from Landscape Architecture, Regional Planning, Philosophy, and Art History, to name a few. She hopes to expand her knowledge of city art from modern public art to graffiti, and combine their effects with urban design planning through architecture and playground design.

Sarah spent last fall studying Circus Arts in England at Circomedia School of Circus Arts and Physical Theatre, where she was able expand her passion for acrobatics and aerial arts into the realm of technique, choreography, and cultural context. Throughout her BDIC career, she will continue to enhance her circus skills through dance classes and involvement with a local circus school and circus troupe at Hampshire College. She is also in the process of organizing a Collegiate Circus Conference for the upcoming spring.

Sarah’s post-college plans will further extend her undergraduate studies into the real world. She plans to attend a two to three year circus school in either Europe or Canada, where there are many outlets to work as both a performer and an arts council planner. Once her performance career comes to an end, Sarah plans on working for an arts council and/or planning community where she can assist in the creation of living public art.

“I hope to be the link that connects the users of a public space to the planners of a public space,” she says. We are all excited that Sarah has selected BDIC to be the link between her dreams and reality!

Suzanne Spagnoli
By Brita Orwoll

Suzanne is pursuing a BDIC concentration in Holistic Health and Medicinal Plants.  BDIC was a perfect fit for this junior because she was not interested in any of the mainstream majors that UMass offers since she has more than one focus, which is why she is incorporating multiple departments into her curriculum.  She will be drawing courses from Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences, Geosciences, Anthropology and Sociology departments on campus, in addition to possibly pursuing an independent study within the community.  Suzanne is interested in learning about alternative health methods because she does not want to have to be dependent on the traditional methods of health care that Western cultures typically abide by.  In addition to learning about medicinal plants and holistic health, Suzanne hopes to learn about other cultures in the process, and would like to travel and work with indigenous people through their traditional practices and uses of plants.  When asked if she could live and do anything in the world, she chose to work with reforestation and agriculture somewhere in South America or the Amazon.  She would love to work hands-on in the rainforest with natives of that culture. Suzanne also loves Italian food, and it doesn’t matter what it is, because she likes it all!

Jason Collier
By Shawna M. Shappy

Jason Collier’s proposed BDIC concentration is Human Resource Management. Jason is currently an Economics major, however he decided that the only way for him to reach his goals was to add a second major in BDIC so that he could pursue his special area of interest in working closely with people.

Through the BDIC program, Jason plans to acquire the necessary knowledge from various areas to serve as an, “interactive businessman who understands the human resource field.” His curriculum incorporates courses from the Isenberg School of Management, and the Sociology and Communications departments. As Jason states, “There is a special connection between these departments in the business world I face ahead.” He believes that this academic path will suit him best and will familiarize him with important skills for the human resource entrepreneur, including, computer literacy, public speaking, and business management.

Jason Collier is just one of many students who will soon be seeing the benefits of an individualized degree, and he believes that this is the best choice he could have made for himself, for his career, and his life!

Rebecca McDaniel
By Katie O’Connell

Today, one of the hot topics in business is economies going international, and one of our students trying to hit on the pulse of this change is Rebecca McDaniel.  Rebecca is concentrating in International Marketing with a Spanish Focus. Rebecca, a junior at UMass, is a double major with Communication. When asked why she decided to expand her education into the business field, she cited the importance of understanding the reality of communication today - the good and the bad, but also using communication in a productive way to develop relationships. She hopes to focus her efforts in bridging the marketing gaps between English and Spanish-speaking cultures in the United States and abroad.

In the spring, Rebecca will be spending the semester in Seville, Spain, a change of scenery she is very excited about. The prospect of being somewhere completely different and being immersed in another language and culture is topping her reasons to go.

Emma Welch
By Todd Schmeling

In a world that is being forced to become increasingly concerned with how its citizens interact with the environment around them, there is a need to learn and adopt sustainable practices that will begin to alleviate the concerns of this and future generations.  Emma Welch is concentrating in Sustainable Community Development through BDIC.  Through her major, she hopes to equip herself with the necessary knowledge and skills to educate others, not only of the need for concern, but also the approaches and methods capable of addressing such.  Because a sustainable lifestyle should involve all elements of one’s life, Emma will be drawing her classes from a wide array of departments, including, Building Materials and Wood Technology, Plant, Soil, and Insect Sciences, Environmental Science, Biology, and Animal Science to name a few.  Emma wishes to ensure her ability to integrate theory and practice in real world situations.  She does intend to continue her studies of this integration in graduate school further looking at lifestyle, agricultural and business practices, while then also looking to position herself within a sustainable community.  Ultimately, Emma is hoping to establish herself in the formation of a well-informed, conscious model of living.

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