In Their Own Words

An increasing number of Pitt undergraduates—like Rebecca, Breanna, Rachel, Matthew, Karen, Ellen, and Kaley—are adding certificates, minors, and sometimes second and even third majors to their college résumés. Let them tell you why and what they’ve gained.

Ellen Connally

Theatre Arts and French

“My main occupation is being a student with a double major in theatre arts and French, a job post from which I anticipate graduating in April 2015. When I’m not speaking French or making art, I also work as a house manager for our theater spaces, both for University of Pittsburgh Stages shows and for shows by our rental companies.

“I don’t think I consciously made the decision to be a part of the humanities. I just kind of ... ended up here. Although my high school was very STEM oriented, it only made me more passionate about pursuing and succeeding in a non-STEM field. I entered the University wanting to study theater—my specific concentration still to be determined—and always referred to myself as “studying the arts.” Once my French minor became a major (studying abroad has amazing effects!), it hit me that I had never just studied the arts; I was studying the human experience, past, present, and future. I think that is what draws me to the humanities: the similarities and differences in how we as people experience, discover, and react to the world around us that we share.

“Studying theater and French pushes me to look at the world through many different lenses—socially, culturally, ethnically, politically—in a cross-disciplinary way that unlocks and stimulates my mind to go beyond the here and now to the there and ahead. In particular, the literary and practical exposure I have received in the arts has piqued and developed my interest in the growing field of applied theater, in which theater techniques are brought to nontraditional settings as a vehicle for communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution.

“The humanities push you to understand yourself as well as to begin to grasp the holistic reality of the world around you. In order to succeed in any realm, there is a certain amount of personal and worldly exploration that needs to be done; this is accomplished through literature, language, history, and the arts. We learn to dare, to think, to connect, and to create because that is what humans have been doing for all of time and what we must do to preserve and continue the growth of culture.”