Finding a subject matter she was passionate about was a turning point for Rachel Shields
It was while completing a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience that Rachel Shields (BSc ’11, MA ’12) uncovered her passion for sociology. Suffice it to say that since that point she’s been a strong advocate for an interdisciplinary approach to education and research.
“My first sociology class made me rethink all of my educational and career goals,” says Rachel, who originally intended on practicing medicine. Although she did complete an undergraduate degree in neuroscience, she included a heavy concentration of sociology courses. Rachel maintains that the variety of perspectives has been an asset.
“People from different disciplines tackle problems differently,” says Rachel simply. “Ideas can be explored through science, art and human interactions, and connections are often made in non-linear ways.”
With her sights set on research and academia, Rachel enrolled in the U of L’s Master of Arts program with a major in sociology. She recently defended her thesis and has been accepted into the multidisciplinary PhD program at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, Florida. In addition to preparing her for further academic studies, her multidisciplinary background made Rachel uniquely qualified to receive the FSU Fellows Society Adelaide Wilson Fellowship valued at $30,000 per year for five years.
“The fellowship promotes interdisciplinary engagement and discussion,” says Rachel, who is excited about the opportunities to work collaboratively with researchers from across disciplines. “My time at the U of L has taught me the value of different perspectives and given me the tools and the confidence I need to effectively communicate my ideas to people from different backgrounds.”
"My time at the U of L has taught me the value of different perspectives and given me the tools and the confidence I need to effectively communicate my ideas to people from different backgrounds.”
BSc ‘11, MA ’12