When most students are overwhelmed with one major and in some cases a minor, Haley Ates, a senior in Interdisciplinary Studies, has three different focuses within her one major.
Ates changed her major from Human Development and Family Studies to the newly established Interdisciplinary Studies program this past summer.
“I was on the child life track in Human Development and Family Studies, and it is a very narrow field,” said Ates. “The child life track in Human Development and Family Studies is one of the only ways you can work in a hospital and be a child life specialist.”
On top of being a student at Auburn University, Ates is also heavily involved in AU Singers and the Miss Alabama program, which is a part of the Miss America System. Within this system each girl is asked to promote a personal platform, and Ates’ platform is child-centered. She also works with Miss America’s national platform, which is the Children’s Miracle Network.
Because of Ates’ involvement in the Miss Alabama program and her platform focused on children, she knew that she wanted to be more than just an ordinary child life specialist.
“Interdisciplinary studies has allowed me to have different emphases,” said Ates. “My emphases are HDFS, Philanthropy and Civic Engagement.”
Ates will take 12 hours in HDFS on the child life track to allow her to work in a hospital. She will also take 12 hours in philanthropy to learn about working with non-profits. She is hoping this emphasis will guide her in being a coordinator for a non-profit organization. Her last emphasis of civic engagement will teach her to take a non-profit organization and incorporate it throughout a community.
The Auburn University Interdisciplinary Studies program is fairly new being that it is less than three years old, but students like Ates are using the program to have a well-rounded education when they leave Auburn University so that their dream job can be achieved.
Ates says her dream job would be to work for an organization like the Children’s Miracle Network.
“I would like to see myself working very hands on with children,” said Ates. “I really want to get involved with the families and help them cope with their child being in the hospital.”
According to Ates, one of the most challenging parts about being in this program is the requirement of finding a mentor. Each Interdisciplinary Studies student must find a faculty mentor in the student’s field of interest.
Nonetheless, Ates is excited about her major and its endless opportunities, and finding her mentor who can guide her throughout the rest of her Auburn career.
“Interdisciplinary Studies will allow me to pull different focuses together,” said Ates. “And it won’t narrow my opportunities down to just one particular major or career option.”