Student Spotlight: Madelyn O’Leary

As a Delaware in D.C. program participant, Maddie spent the fall 2018 semester in Washington, D.C. attending classes at American University and completing an internship with a small company, Bold in Business.

Being undeclared when you enter college has its advantages because you are able to explore other majors and see what you would like. Especially if you are leaning towards one major, but have something you genuinely enjoy you could decide to minor in that after taking a class that you were excited about. Overall, just having the opportunity to explore other majors and take classes on a variety of things shows you early on what you do and do not like instead of finding out later on down the road. With this it gives you time to decide what you want to do with your life, but some people are lucky enough and go in knowing exactly what they want, not us University studies students though!

An academic area of interest that I have chosen is the business field and am leaning towards international business. This field interests me because growing up I always loved to help others and the business world helps you do that on a larger scale. With the area of interest that I have I could take my hobby for helping others internationally and that really excites me. Above all, I love to travel and if I could do that for work and meet people from all over that would be a dream of mine.

Participating in the Delaware in D.C. program this past semester definitely had its ups and downs, but above all I got to explore my favorite city! As for how it was beneficial, I had an internship first semester of college, not a lot of college kids are able to say that. Also, my internship was with an entrepreneur who developed the business, Bold in Business that was based on empowering women in the business world. Although, it was mostly marketing work that I was doing I was able to realize early on that was not what I was looking to do, but luckily like I said I was able to find this out early on and rule it out!

The most difficult thing about transitioning from high school to college is definitely that you no longer have someone holding your hand as you go along, because it is time to be on your own. At first this may seem overwhelming and scary and trust me, it is, but just like everything else in life you will quickly learn to adjust. You also will begin to meet people right off the bat whether it be your roommate, at orientation, in class, or clubs and they are all in the same position as you or will help guide you. So, although in the beginning it may seem like you are entirely on your own, it is important to remember that every freshman no matter what school is going through the same thing.

Student Spotlight: Isabel Hartenstein

Isabel is an honors student and a member of the marching band. She chose to enter UD as undeclared because she wanted to explore her options before committing to a major. She told us that being a University Studies student during her first year “gave her peace of mind” because she didn’t feel rushed or isolated in the major-selection process.

After taking some core science classes, meeting with her academic advisor, and going to the Career Services Center, Isabel decided to declare a Pre-Vet major with a Wildlife Ecology & Conservation minor. Her advice to other students is, “Don’t be afraid to explore your options. College is a huge adjustment, so make sure to take care of yourself and give yourself time to figure everything out.”


Student Spotlight: Isabella Hsiao

Isabella is a sophomore UST student and peer liaison. She thinks the main benefit of entering college as an undeclared student is having the opportunity to explore your options by taking classes that interest you while fulfilling breadth requirements. Although she is still considering majors, becoming a member of the Evolution Dance Team and Zumba Club helped Isabella decide to declare a dance minor.


Student Spotlight: Caitlin Werner

Sophomore Caitlin Werner told us that one of the main reasons she decided to attend UD is because “they offer a great undeclared student program. Working with her UST advisor, Sharon Grayson, Caitlin has been able to explore various interests while taking classes that meet general requirements. She intends to pursue a minor in Spanish and study abroad in the future.

Caitlin’s advice for other students is to join a club or sport when you arrive on campus, because it provides a good way to connect with others. She participates in the Blue Hen Leadership Program and is a member of the RSO, Women in Business.

Student Spotlight: Anthony Ozuna-Pena

Anthony entered UD as a University Studies student so he could “figure out who [he is] as an individual” and explore his academic options. Although he felt a lot of pressure as a freshman to figure out where he “fit” on campus, being undeclared gave him the opportunity to meet people from all of the different colleges and gather information about his possible choices. He has since decided to pursue a major in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

Anthony told us that his UST advisor, Adrian McCleary, “has been a fantastic role model. From the beginning stages, before even moving into my dorm, I felt that there was someone who truly wanted to see me succeed. As abstract or strange as my requests or concerns have been, he has had answers and resources for me to utilize. Having him in my circle has boosted my academia confidence.” Anthony also sought advice and support from organizations such as HOLA, We’re First, and the Student Support Services Program (SSSP). “I can always count on them to give some insight, advice or words of inspiration to keep me chugging through the semester.”