Meet our Liberal Studies graduates - Alarah Gillum

Alarah Gillum is the May 2021 Outstanding Graduate of the Liberal Studies program and majored in International Peace.
Meet our Liberal Studies graduates - Alarah Gillum

Alarah Gillum

Individualized Major: International Peace

Minor in Political Science, Minor in Spanish, Certificate in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Transformation, concentration in Social Work

Double-majored in Latin American/Latino Studies, minor in Social Change

Graduation year: 2021

Next Steps: Masters Degree in Social Work (MSSW) at the University of Louisville

How did your Individualized Major through the Liberal Studies Program prepare you for your next steps after graduation?

The flexibility of the Individualized Major allowed me to pursue several departments I would not have been able to find had I chosen to follow a traditional major route. Because of this, when I found a new passion I had the freedom to take a class that would foster this. For example, I was able to fit in three social work classes in my last two semesters that will prepare me for beginning my Master's in Social Work this fall. I also had the privilege to study abroad twice and use all of my credits toward my Individualized Major.

Most memorable class you took as an undergrad? Why?

Definitely LALS 313: Panamanian Culture. This was a course that was offered on the Latin American and Latino Studies annual trip to Panama and absolutely the most incredible class. Through this class I got to have dance lessons two dancers from "Dancing with the Stars: Panama," travel to an indigenous Emberá village, tour the presidential palace and meet the President of Panama, visit the Panama Canal, travel all around the country on class assignments, and get to practice my Spanish with local college students.

What is the most thrilling or adventurous thing you've ever done?

During my study abroad with Semester at Sea (which was adventurous and thrilling in itself), I rappelled down a waterfall in Mauritius.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you're committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

My involvement with Sojourn College, a campus ministry affiliated with Sojourn Midtown, has made an incredible impact on who I am and my beliefs. I have grown deeply in my relationship and knowledge of the Lord and am so thankful for those who have poured into me and encouraged me throughout my college years. My faith in Jesus Christ and His salvific work on the cross leads me to commit to following the example He set with His life on earth and work to serve those around me daily.

What is your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is absolutely Little Caesar's Pizza. It's my favourite. 

Advice for current Individualized Majors?

I've got several small snippets in mind. (1)Take advantage of the freedom you have with your major! You have the choice to create your own unique path, and you have the opportunity to change it when it no longer interests you. (2)Pursue a foreign language and travel travel travel. (3) Get to know professors who teach subjects you're passionate about and have had similar experiences to what your goals are.