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Sociology/Anthropology Spotlight

Rebecca Morgan: Embracing the Wider World

“I am a much more confident and well-rounded person than I was when I came to Transylvania, because the curriculum forces you to take on many roles and experience many different areas of study.”

Rebecca Morgan ’13 was working diligently toward a biology major at Transylvania—until she took Cultural Anthropology her sophomore year. That changed everything.

Since then she has spent two May terms abroad—in China one year, in Italy and Spain the next—and a summer in Greece.  Morgan found the five-week stay in Greece particularly rewarding. “We were there long enough that I got to know locals and really learned something about the place I was visiting.”

Morgan credits anthropology professors Barbara LoMonaco and Chris Begley with making her aware of the value of studying abroad. Their stories of fieldwork in other countries convinced her that she’d like to live abroad after she graduates and immerse herself in other cultures.  

While on campus, Morgan dedicates much of her volunteer time to TUTORS (Transylvania University Teaching and Outreach to Refugee Students). As part of the FACE Time after school program at Cassidy Elementary and Morton Middle School in Lexington, she helps refugee students with their homework and encourages them to practice their English.  “Volunteering with this program has made me aware that a significant refugee population is present in Lexington, and there are many opportunities to get involved and help them adjust to their new life in this country.”

Morgan chose Transylvania in part because she knew its location in Lexington would open up a larger world than she had known in her small town. She never imagined just how much of the world it would allow her to see.

Although it’s not always easy to travel to other countries and work with individuals from other cultures, Morgan feels that the breadth of her studies on the Transylvania campus prepares her for those challenging moments. The liberal arts curriculum forces you to “step out of your comfort zone and experience things that you might not want to. In doing fieldwork, you are often put in situations that you would prefer not to be in, but that's part of finding the information you set out to find.”

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