Student Spotlight: ABM Student, Emily Waddell

headshot of Emily Waddell

Meet Emily Waddell, current M.A. in English student who is also a part of the Accelerated Bachelor’s-Master’s degree program. Join us as we explore Waddell’s experiences within the program and discuss her future plans. 

What made you want to join the ABM program? 

I wanted to join the ABM program because I had interests beyond the undergraduate offerings, such as how technologies, messages, and institutions mediate our lives. I got a taste of high-level reading and discussion with my first graduate-level class during my junior year, and it became something I was most excited about. Enrolling in more of these challenging classes seemed only natural. I am glad the ABM program was there to help guide me to some sort of fruition. 

How did the ABM program prepare you for your position of interest?

In each class throughout ABM, I was able to work out my research interest in different ways, which led me to find my job. Because of my experience with research and analysis, I knew the right questions to ask and how to address them in the interview process. 

What are your next steps after completing the program and graduating?

Upon graduation, I will be moving to Charlotte to join Truist Financial as a User Experience (UX) Designer on their leadership development track. It is a 12-month rotational program that explores financial technology and its many facets. I am excited to bring my fascination with information architecture to this job, which I have refined throughout the program.  

What advice can you give to students who are currently in the ABM program or who are considering it?

I am a strong believer in interdisciplinary and transferable skills. This education demands you to think outside the box. Be intentional about the way you wield this curiosity. If you are not exactly sure what your next steps are, pursue a path that at least teaches you how to learn, be critical, and generate new ideas. 

What were some challenges you faced as a student in the ABM program and how did you overcome it?

It was slightly logistically challenging to get classes done. However, if you keep yourself accountable for communicating with the department, it can be done painlessly. I suggest you begin a line of dialogue with the faculty about your interests as they are eager to help you excel. That goes for your doubts and struggles, too. I suggest you think about what kind of career, skills, and network you want, and go after it. 

Why do you think it is important to have an ABM program? 

The ABM program allowed me to think without bounds and explore my interests fully. An accelerated program allows an eager student to fast-track graduate school without being behind in any career. It allows one to find what they want to do faster.

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