How'd You Get Here

Students share their journey to the College of Liberal Arts

Choosing a university (and a major!) is a big decision. Hear why our students chose to study at Colorado State University and how they found their community within the College of Liberal Arts.

With 19 undergraduate majors and dozens of clubs/student organizations within the college, our community is as diverse as it is dynamic. By studying the arts, humanities, and social sciences, our students are driven to advance the human experience - and equipped with the skills and knowledge to do so.

Read the stories of current liberal arts students below. 

Amélia Guglielmi, Political Science
Brook Rajnowski, History
Blaine Lee, Music Therapy and Bassoon Performance
Caity Prendergast, International Studies
Hadeel Abdel-Ghany, Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts
Carina Solis, Sociology, Spanish & Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts
Cassie Gardner, Political Science & Spanish
Claudia Perez, Communication Studies
Ellie Gould, Political Sciences
Myanne Hamm, Communication Studies
Hannah Hurlbut, International Studies & Communication Studies
Megan Robertson, English
Amélia Guglielmi holding a camera

Amélia Guglielmi

Major: Political Science

Minor: International Development and Legal Studies

Year: Senior

Why CSU

I realized that my heart had been set on CSU ever since high school because I love the campus, the mountains, the mentality. In addition, CSU is very advanced in anything concerning environmental science and environmental politics.

Path to my Major

I started out as a biology major, even though biology was not something I was passionate about. I was convinced that I had to do a science-related major in order to be taken seriously. I ended up realizing I would never enjoy the University if I didn't choose to follow my passion - politics. 

Why do you study politics?


I’ve always had a passion for history - and in high school, this also evolved into passion for politics. I discovered this passion during the 2012 election. This was the first time I was current with politics. Later, I became the co-founder and elected Vice-President of Young Democrats at my school. Throughout my time at CSU, I’ve also realized how interested I am in global environmental politics. I’ve been so lucky to find the classes that cater exactly to my passions.

What skills have you learned with your degree?


I’ve learned two very important skills in my degree - targeted analysis and briefing. Most of my classes require a lot of reading (Supreme Court cases is an example). I’ve had to learn how to pick apart these texts, find the most important themes, and cross reference them throughout different readings. In addition, I’ve had to learn how to do precise and concise summaries, or briefs.

What career options are you pursuing?


I’m considering several career options. I intend to go to law school and practice law for a few years. Ultimately, I would love to go into foreign/diplomacy service. I would also be interested in working as a government official or a UN official.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


I’m involved in Model United Nations, Associated Students of Colorado State University, and pre-law club.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


My favorite CSU memory is playing laser tag and having and end of the year banquet with my friends/fellow ASCSU justices. We bonded and became such a family through our job. Without them, I don’t think my first year at CSU would have been nearly as much fun.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love how many options there are in the College of Liberal Arts. I’ve found majors/minors that are perfectly tailored to my interests/passions. I also love how passionate and knowledgeable all of my professors have been in the political science program.

Brook Rajnowski

Major: History

Concentration: Social Studies - Teaching

Year: Junior

Why CSU

Not only did I choose CSU because of my personal connection, but also for the academics.  CSU offered a program that I was interested in, allowed me the flexibility in schedules to take the classes I wanted to and allowed me to continue my participation in music.  I have been very involved in music throughout my whole life, and CSU offered me the opportunity to stay involved while still completing my degree. This was rare to find in my college search and, combined with my history with campus and the academic program, made CSU the right choice for me.

Path to my Major

I have always wanted to teach. That was something that hasm't changed since the age of five. The subject matter, however, was never clear until freshman year of high school. I took an honors geography class freshman year and it opened my eyes to my passion for history and geography. As I get older, I realize that history has always been my passion, but I just had not realized it until then. Throughout my time at CSU, I took two lower-division history courses (HIST 150 with Sheflin and HIST 151 with Pizulo) that deepened my passion for history.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


The main organization I am involved in on campus is the CSU Marching Band and CSU Concert Band. I participated in the marching band for 2 years, playing flute the first year and sousaphone the second. I also have participated in the concert band for 2 years playing flute in both. I am involved with the music department because I have had a passion for music my whole life, and I can not imagine my life without some musical outlet in it. The CSU Marching Band and CSU Concert Band offer that outlet for music without putting too much time demand on my schedule. They allow me to participate without struggling to complete my coursework for my major. This provides great stress relief and a creative outlet for me.
I am also involved in the work study program for the School of Social Work on campus. I have been in this position for two years and have gained many valuable skills though this job. Being involved in the work study program helps fund my education while giving me opportunities for professional development. I am able to connect with faculty on campus while also building communication and problem-solving skills in a different environment.

What's your favorite class and why?


My favorite class so far has been HIST349 with Carrie Pitzulo. Not only was this class one of my favorite time periods of US History (1945 through present), but Dr. Pitzulo made the information come alive. I have taken 3 classes with her in the 4 semesters I have been here, and I would take one of her classes every semester if I could. The way she organizes information is easy to follow, and she allows individual stories to come through to make the content more relatable and understandable. This course allowed me to dig deeper into the social justice movements of the 1960s and 70s without getting overwhelmed with information, and it also introduced me to something I am extremely passionate about—feminism. I have always had an interest in the feminist movement, and through this class, I was exposed to literature and personal stories about the movement that allowed me to find where I connect to the issues and how I can be involved. This class had a major impact on me and gave me the information I need to be a well-informed teacher in the future.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


My favorite CSU memory would have to be the final game at Hughes Stadium. I was a member of the marching band, and we were required to stay until the last light was turned off. After all the lights were out, we sang the Alma Mater as a band in the dark. I just think back on my memories at Hughes from high school marching band competitions as well as college experiences in band and being there at the final event was a very special moment. It was such a monumental moment for CSU, and I feel lucky to have been a part of it.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love that the courses challenge you to think on your own and become your own person. In many other majors, you are encouraged to follow one path and do everything the way they tell you to. In liberal arts, they challenge you to explore all possibilities, discover your own beliefs and ideas, and to be open to the opinions of those around you. In a democratic society, this concept is very important, and liberal arts is one of the only places where you can gain these skills.
Brook Rajnowski
Blaine Lee with Oboe.

Blaine Lee

Major: Music Therapy and Bassoon Performance

Year: Senior

Why CSU

I like to tell people that CSU found me. Even though it was my only choice if I wanted to stay in state, I firmly believe this is where I am supposed to be. I have established meaningful and lifelong connections here and have had more leadership and growth opportunities than I could have ever dreamed of. 

Path to my Major

Music therapy was actually what inspired me to add a performance degree. The curriculum in music therapy does not require you to play your primary instrument after your junior year. I knew that my passion for bassoon would not end there. In adding performance, I was not only able to continue to pursue the study of the bassoon, but I was able to enrich my music therapy curricula with the various opportunities and skill set that accompany a performance degree. 

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


  • College of Liberal Arts Student Ambassador
  • Member of the CSU Wind Symphony
  • Member of the CSU University Chorus
  • Member of the Mountain Horns a capela group

What's your favorite class and why?


Advanced Conducting is a fascinating course, and Dr. Phillips is a phenomenal teacher. The intensity and expectations of the course prepare students to work in music professionally.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


I will never forget being inspired by Dr. Frank and Dr. Hughes talking about the importance of family at convocation during my freshman year.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love the close-knit and supportive family within the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. No one is out to get someone else or steal someone’s spot in an ensemble. The school and all of its students are very inclusive and helpful.

Caity Prendergast

Major: International Studies

Minors: French

Year: Junior

Why CSU

I chose CSU because I wanted to stay in state and I was wowed by Fort Collins. I always have positive and rewarding interactions with people all over the city and CSU was a perfect fit for me!

Path to my Major

I knew my major before I even walked into my first class here. I have always been focused on global issues and diplomacy, and I really want to have a positive impact on our world so International Studies was the perfect major to help me achieve my lifelong goals.

Why do you study International Studies?


I’m majoring in International Studies because its an interdisciplinary degree and I feel it has really helped me expand my perspective on many different things. I think my degree helps me develop a wide skill set and gives me background knowledge on diverse topics. I hope to take my degree and someday become an ambassador to the United Nations.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


I intern with the Denver Probation department. I play volleyball. I work at the Lory Student Center. These organizations are great ways for me to create relationships and network with a diverse group of people.

What's your favorite class and why?


I absolutely love all of my French classes! They are so much fun and it is a really safe space to learn something new and also have a great time doing it.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


Watching the solar eclipse during my very first class.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I think the CLA is full of very intelligent people that truly care about what they’re learning. The entire college is very welcoming and supportive and I think it become a family once you start leaning into your degree.
Caity Prendergast by the beach
Hadeel Abdel-Ghany

Hadeel Abdel-Ghany

Major: Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Math Education

Year: Junior

Why CSU

My parents moved to Fort Collins in 1995 to get their Ph.D.s from CSU. I grew up in this community and spent a lot of time on campus. When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to pursue higher education like my parents. I chose CSU because I always felt connected to the CSU community and it felt like home to me.

Path to my Major

It was fate that I happened to find out about the interdisciplinary liberal arts major. During my time at CSU, I've changed my major five times, but the interdisciplinary liberal arts major is the only program that has been consistent for me. This major has been genuinely flexible as I worked to find my passions and my calling. 

What skills have you learned?


Through the liberal arts, I have learned how to be an advocate for myself, how to communicate clearly and effectively with those around me, how to communicate professionally, and how to act in a professional setting. By being a liberal arts major, I have learned interpersonal skills. The skills I learned in my liberal arts classes are applicable in almost every aspect of my life, from my work to classes to my daily interactions.

What career options are you pursuing and how is your degree helping that pursuit?


Because of my second major in math education, I am pursuing secondary education. My end goal is to teach both math and English in one classroom, and to work with English Language Learner students who aren’t as proficient in English as their peers but still need to meet specific math requirements to graduate. Before this, I hope to expand my experience beyond Colorado’s schools and teach in another state like California. I also hope to teach internationally. Teaching in a new place will be challenging, but being a CLA student has given me the communication skills as well as the critical thinking skills I need to thrive. My liberal arts degree is what I feel will make me a truly effective and efficient teacher in my future classroom.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


  • College of Liberal Arts Ambassadors
  • Muslim Student Association
  • Robert Noyce Scholars
  • Science Olympiad Coach at Poudre High School

What's your favorite class and why?


Last semester I had the opportunity to take two math classes, a history class, a political science class, and an education class, and I loved the mix of it all. Taking classes from very different disciplines pushes me to grow as a learner and allows me to use different parts of my brain. I get to activate all my different learning styles.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


My favorite CSU memory is the semester I finally figured out my major. During my first year and a half at CSU, I changed my major five different times. I never actually had a concrete plan with where my degree was going to take me. The fall semester of my sophomore year I was required to attend one of the diversity symposium sessions for one of my classes. The only session that fit my schedule was a session that talked about the opportunity and achievement gap in the United States education system. I left that session curious but also inspired. I knew that I had to change my major after that meeting because being a computer science major wasn’t going to fulfill me. I scheduled an appointment with my advisor and the education department immediately. I knew that the rest of my educational journey was going to feel different. I felt connected and passionate about what I was pursuing. It was the first time I was excited to plan out my courses and my life.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love how flexible my major is. I love that my major allows me to create a personal and individualized learning experience. Being an interdisciplinary liberal arts student, I’ve gotten the opportunity to take numerous classes that I wanted to explore but not necessarily focus my four years at CSU on.
I love that my degree lets me be truly interdisciplinary, to study humanities and math, to combine the arts with STEM in a way that works for my learning styles and needs. Each semester is unique in the combination of classes I get to take, ranging from calculus and political science, chemistry and public speaking, and ethnic studies and computer science.

Carina Solis-Roman

Major: Sociology, Spanish & Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts

Year: Junior

Why CSU

I first learned about CSU through this TRIO program that I was a part of called Upward Bound and each summer during high school I would come to CSU and I would take classes and live in the dorms. The reason I chose CSU was because after so many summers that I spent here it already felt like it was my home. It was close enough to home but it was also far away from home, so it was a perfect balance. I knew I wanted to stay in Colorado, but I also wanted to explore and be more independent. I also received the most grants and scholarships for CSU, and I knew that this would not only benefit me but also my family!

Path to my Major

Deciding my major was super easy for me. As a first generation student, I did not know anything about college – especially about what a major was. I asked my Upward Bound advisor what her major was and that is what I choose: Sociology. Luckily for me, I fell in love with it! I also added Spanish and Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts because I truly loved learning about my language and culture!

Why do you study sociology and Spanish?


I study sociology and Spanish because they give me skills I want to use in my future career. With a sociology major, I have learned about how the societies and groups we are a part of reflect who we are as a person and how the inequalities affect our lives. I want to be able to use what I learned to break the cycle of injustice in the education field and help those who need help in high school and in college. Using my Spanish skills, I would love to help Hispanic families understand the college process and be able to feel like they are also a part of their children’s experiences.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


I am involved with Ram Catholic and Triunfo. I am involved with Ram Catholic because I am someone who has grown to love my religion and I really want to keep growing in my faith. I am involved in Triunfo because I loved being able to meet with my mentee every Thursday and helping her with her homework. It is important to give back to the community and I felt like this program was the perfect way for me to do it.

What's your favorite class and why?


My favorite class would be one of my sociology classes on Intersectionality. The class really opened my eyes to a different perspective on social movements and how our experiences with racism or sexism are different based on our different identities.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


My favorite CSU memory would have to be my time as an Orientation Leader. Being an Orientation Leader not only pushed me out of my comfort zone, but it helped me see that one person can change another person’s experience at CSU. I also was able to meet a lot of new people and create friendships that will stay with me for a long time.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


What I love about my major and the College of Liberal Arts is that the classes are so eye-opening and challenging, but they give you tools you are able to use in a daily life.
Carina Solis in Rome
Cassie Gardner

Cassie Gardner

Major: Political Science and Spanish

Year: Senior

Why CSU

In high school, my family took a trip to Colorado. During the time we spent in Fort Collins, I fell in love with the city and the campus community of CSU. 

Path to my Major

I came to CSU as an English major, but once I attended the English major introductory meeting I realized that the program wasn't a good fit for me. I realized I was passionate about political science while taking an AUCC course called Current World Problems. 

I also took four years of Spanish in high school and I knew I wanted to continue studying it. 

What skills have you learned with your degrees?


  • Critical thinking
  • Academic writing
  • How to analyze current problems through different lenses
  • Ability to ask effective questions
  • Confidence in my own academic ability

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


I am involved in the Liberal Arts Dean’s Leadership Council, which is a student council at the undergraduate level for the College of Liberal Arts. I am also involved in Associated Students of Colorado State University, which is the student government on campus. As a senator for the College of Liberal Arts, I represent liberal arts students in university-wide decisions regarding the use of student fees. I am also involved in the Journal of Undergraduate Research as an associate editor.

What's your favorite class and why?


My favorite class so far has been Comparative Government (POLS241). It is taught by Dr. Duncan who expects a lot from students. I learned so much in that class about structure and function. I also gained a framework of analytical tools that I have used in every political science class since.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


My favorite memory at CSU was attending the first football game at the new stadium. It was amazing to see so many students coming out to support the Rams.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


What strikes me about the students in my major and the College of Liberal Arts as a whole is the amount of passion they demonstrate. Most liberal arts students have big plans and are already doing amazing things on campus. I think that is a really special quality to see in undergraduate students.

Claudia Perez

Major: Communication Studies

Minor: Legal Studies and Ethnic Studies

Year: Sophomore

Why CSU

I chose CSU for a variety of reasons. The first reason was for academic purposes. I love to be challenged and I wanted my professors to push my limits. 

I am a person of color, so I felt secure going to a predominately white university due to the presence and support that El Centro offers to students who identify with Latinx community. I was a participant in El Centro's first-year mentorship program, and this year I am working at El Centro as a family leader. 

Path to my Major

As an incoming student, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I struggled to pick a major. I knew I wanted to be in the College of Liberal Arts, but I didn’t know where exactly. It wasn’t until I realized that I was asking myself the wrong question that I came to find my major. Instead of asking myself, “What do I want to do with my life?” I began asking, “What do I want to study? What makes me tick? What could I sit in class for an hour listening to excitedly?” I chose communication studies because it is applicable in every setting, but still focused enough for me to cultivate useful skills.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


  • El Centro
  • Honors Program
  • President's Leadership Program
  • College of Liberal Arts Ambassadors

What's your favorite class and why?


My favorite class would have to be Rhetoric in Western Thought. I love reading about ancient philosophers and rhetoricians and getting to read their works. Sometimes I completed reading and my mind was blown. After doing the readings, it is apparent why these texts have survived so long. It’s because they are incredible and rich in knowledge and eloquence, and I got the pleasure of reading and discussing them in depth.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


Spending time and sharing experiences with my friends. I have really great friends and a great community at CSU.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love the people I met at my college. They are so focused on improving their communities, and they are concerned about the social issues of our society. I am amazed by their desire to do good in the world and the ideas they have to accomplish their goals.
Claudia Perez, Communication Studies
Ellie Gould in the mountains

Ellie Gould

Major: Political Science

Minor: Spanish & Women's Studies

Year: Senior

Why CSU

As cliché as it may sound to say, I chose CSU because when I visited it felt right for me. It was a campus full of friendly and down-to-earth people who cared about the community, helping others, and the environment around them. I loved the idea of being on a big campus that has so many options, opportunities, and chances to do something new each year while knowing that I could make a small community for myself by joining any club or organization on campus. Of course, all of these initial impressions I had of CSU have only been strengthened over the years and I am so grateful I chose CSU because it is the perfect fit for me. To this day, I have not talked to anyone that has visited CSU’s campus and did not find it an enjoyable and welcoming environment.

Path to my Major

The path to my major was not a clear and easy one at first. I went into CSU thinking I wanted to major in biology because that was my favorite class in high school. It did not take long for me to realize that I was simply going through the motions in my classes and not truly enjoying what I was studying. I knew I needed to make a change but I was not sure what I wanted to study instead of biology. I confided in my honors adviser, Diane Burton, and she directed me to a couple resources that could help me decide what I wanted to do for the future. I found the CSU Undeclared Student Advising website, where I could read through descriptions of each major offered at CSU, to be extremely helpful. After much online searching and internal exploring of my personal interests, I decided that political science sounded like the perfect major for me, so I changed my major and have not looked back since!

Why do you study Political Science?


I chose to study political science because I feel as though it covers a wide range of what I am interested in, such as current and historical politics, social issues and movements, environmental policy, as well as law and government. The political science major at CSU offers three concentrations and the Environmental Policy and Politics concentration spoke to me immediately because I care very much about the environment and protecting it. I think a major in political science will set me up well for whatever I want to do later in life, because of course I have learned specifics about politics, government and law, but even more than that, I have learned how to write, speak, and communicate extremely well in this major. The bulk of the work in the political sciences involves reading, thinking critically about and analyzing broad concepts, and forming well thought-out and supported, written arguments. These are skills that I feel I have been able to acquire and develop to an extent I would not have been able to in a different major that does not focus on reading and writing so much. I have found these skills to be very helpful in my ability to effectively and professionally communicate through my writing, which is a skill absolutely crucial for a future in the professional world. It is something that will undoubtedly assist me in my future career, but has done things as simple as giving me the skills to write very strong cover letters for any jobs I apply to as an undergraduate student.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


For the majority of my time here at CSU, I have been involved in an on-campus mentoring program called Campus Connections. Campus Connections (CC) is a very special and effective program that pairs at-risk youth in the Fort Collins area with CSU students as mentors who can act as a support and guiding figure for them. As a student mentor in CC, you are assigned to a certain night of the week where you spend four hours with your paired youth, helping them with homework, participating in fun and constuctive activities with them, and showing them around CSU so they can get a feel for a college campus. The youth have access to many important resources and a support system in CC that most of them did not have before they entered the program. I began CC as a mentor, which I found to be very fulfilling and I loved the community aspect of it because everyone seemed to genuinely care about one another. After a semester, I became a “mentor coach” which is someone who provides guidance to the mentors of CC and ensures that the nights run smoothly each week. For my third semester at CC, I worked as a research assistant, collecting research on the effectiveness of the program and the mentor-mentee relationship. I was able to sort of see and be involved in all sides of the program by working in different positions.

What's your favorite class and why?


I would say that my favorite class I have taken at CSU would be the honors seminar about gender and sexuality, taught by the amazing Jen Krafchick, that I took during my first semester at CSU. I loved this class so much because I learned about things I had never learned about or heard of before and it helped me make sense of my own identity and place in society. I became aware of things I had not previously been aware of and my passion for social issues and fighting for equality was sparked.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


I have had so many good memories at CSU so far, but if I had to pick my absolute favorite I would say meeting my best friends. I met all my current best friends at CSU, some from my freshman year dorm and some from activities I attended on campus. They are such a big and important part of my life today and I know they will continue to be far after we graduate.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love my major because it is fairly small, which makes it feel more personal. I have liked all the professors I have had in my major and I have not had a single one that I felt did not care about me and my success. They are always available to help you and love doing so.
I think the College of Liberal Arts is very special. CLA is comprised of advisors and staff that genuinely care about you and what you are up to at CSU. I never even met with my advisor when I was a biology major and part of a different college, but now, as a student in the CLA, my advisor reaches out to make sure we meet at least once a semester. The CLA is personal and caring in a way that is unique and very special compared to some of the other colleges on campus.

Myanne Hamm

Major: Communication Studies

Minor: Ethnic Studies

Year: Senior

Why CSU

I grew up in Fort Collins, so I ended up attending a lot of sports camps on campus. Once I got into high school, we played tournaments here. I got used to the athletic side of it, but never really thought about it for school. Then, I got recruited to play for the women’s basketball team and became excited to call it my college.

Path to my Major

When I first started at CSU, I was so concerned with basketball. I decided I was going to be a dietician and that was it. I was blind to all of the other areas I could study until I took a sociology course. I then learned about all that the College of Liberal Arts has to offer. I'm studying communication studies because it's a broad field. I like the fact that my degree will apply to any field. Every workplace needs communicators.

Why do you study communication studies?


No matter what field I work in, I will need to be able to communicate with the people I’m working with. One also has to learn how to adapt to and understand multiple communication styles. Things can get lost easily in the workplace, so being able to communicate clearly through all mediums, including in person, is a great professional skill to have and offer employers. There’s also an opportunity for communicators to enter any space - like engineering or agriculture - because there is always a need for someone to help communicate ideas.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


  • CSU Women's Basketball
  • SAC Representative
  • John Mosely Mentor Program for student athletes
  • KEY community mentor

What's your favorite class and why?


My favorite class was Inclusive Sports Organizations with Professor Albert Bimper in ethnic studies. I took the course when I was a sophomore. It was such a cool class. In the class, we were assigned a project that applied to a real-world problem. I used some of the skills I’d learned in ethnic studies and communication studies courses to develop a portfolio that was sent to the Dallas Cowboys.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


Freshman year you’re still learning who's who on campus and you're learning the whole hierarchy concept between professors and instructors. One of my professors was Blanche Hughes, the vice president of student affairs, but coming in I thought she was just another professor. Then, I went a banquet and she spoke. I couldn’t believe she was the vice president of student affairs!

The next class period there was some dance craze happening, and she was up in front of the class dancing. That was an "ah-ha moment" for me. I will always be respectful to my professors, but I realized I didn’t have to be so intimidated by them because they are people too. Yes, this person has a title, but they are still a person. I think having that realization early on helped me overcome my fear of getting involved. It helped me be confident in myself and learn that I didn’t need to be intimidated all the time. It helped me feel like it was okay to be connected to CSU.
Myanne Hamm voltuneering in Jamaica, teaching local kids the game of hopstotch
Hannah Hurlbut in front of flowers

Hannah Hurlbut

Major: International Studies & Communication Studies

Minor: Chinese

Year: Junior

Why CSU

I chose CSU because of its diversity and interactive teacher-to-student relationships. With over 25,000 enrolled, students come from all different backgrounds and situations which contributes to the diversity of this campus. The student-faculty ratio is also 18:1 with 34.6% of its classes having fewer than 20 students, meaning the education is personal. Teachers and students really do get to know each other and can work together to best achieve academic success.

Path to my Major

I came into CSU already declared as an International Studies major. In high school, I knew I had an invested interest in different cultures and language, with a personal goal of learning Chinese, so I had researched my current major ahead of time.

Why do you study International Studies and Communication Studies?


I study International Studies and Communication Studies because no matter what profession you end up in, you will always have to know how to interact with other people. Learning to speak in such a way that people from different cultures or languages can connect and understand you is becoming more and more vital as the world becomes more globalized. Throughout my two years at CSU, I have been learning Chinese and Arabic, but also studying the power and potential of rhetoric, how conflict styles shape and influence conflict in professional and personal life, and the scientific evolution that makes us all so similar. I apply this knowledge every day in my life when discussing current political issues with international students, recruiting potential sorority members, or even volunteering at food banks.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


  • Chinese Language Club
  • Council of International Student Affairs (COISA)
  • English Language Conversation Partner at INTO
  • Arabic Language Club
  • Global Awareness and International Affairs (GAIA)
  • Kappa Delta Phi Epsilon Chapter
  • Food Bank for Larimer County
I am involved in these clubs because I can meet other people who share my interests, whether that be in international affairs and language or spreading confidence in women. Through these organizations, I also get more opportunities to become involved on campus by volunteering or putting on traditional CSU events. While professionally being involved does bolster resume and job prospects, I personally enjoy how much more connected I get to feel on campus by participating in them.

What was your favorite class and why?


I have loved all of my Chinese and Arabic classes. While perhaps the most intense and hardest I have taken, the teachers from both languages have undoubtedly influenced my time here at CSU. They each foster an environment where students are never afraid to ask questions, where students genuinely get to enjoy what they study; my teachers make me fall in love with the languages I chose even more. Through taking these courses, I also have an opportunity to interact more with international students and develop friendships with them which is invaluable to me.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


One of my favorite CSU memories is actually attending the CSU No Place 4 H8 rally held earlier this year. This was the first time I had seen our campus really come together to (even just symbolically) combat racism and prejudice.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love that the College of Liberal Arts is a program that develops critical thinking and promotes flexibility. I am learning skills that are applicable in many different work environments and discovering every day how the things I am studying relate to each other. From the importance of “guanxi” or relationships in my Chinese courses to different conflict styles in my communication courses, I am creating a skillset that has facets in areas I had never considered before but which contribute to my well-rounded education.

Megan Robertson

Major: English Education

Year: Sophomore

Why CSU

I felt an overwhelming sense of familiarity and comfort once I stepped onto campus. I always compare it to the story of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The school wasn't too big or too small - it was just right. It wasn't too far or too close to home - it was in the perfect spot. However, the Oval is the spot that I had my 'ah ha' moment that CSU was my school.

Path to my Major

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was six. I realized that high school was where I wanted to be when my freshman English teacher told me that it's when “you are forced to make some of the most important decisions of your life while you are also making some of the worst decisions because you are a teenager,” and explained he was there to help all of us when it came to the hard decisions.  I knew then that I wanted to be there to help kids when they need help, not just in school, but in life too.

Why do you study English Education? What skills have you learned?


I want to help the next generation not only in their academic achievements, but I also hope to make an impact on their personal lives as well. I have learned the art of public speaking, critical thinking, and creating an invitational environment where everyone holds equal value.

What clubs/organizations are you involved in?


I am involved in Special Olympics Colorado simply because of the community and love that is at the summer events. Even the athletes love and support each other on separate teams.

What's your favorite class and why?


Public Speaking because of my professor, Andy Gilmore. He made every class enjoyable and I always looked forward to going to his class.

What's your favorite CSU memory?


My first CSU pep rally. We used face paint and I had my hair put up in braids. I was in a new tutu that I had just made and the comradery of the freshmen walking into the brand-new stadium was incredible. I have never experienced that level of excitement or energy before.

What do you love about your major/College of Liberal Arts?


I love that we are all a little weird and quirky in the CLA. It makes our gatherings always fun and silly.
Megan Robertson in a tutu