As the University counts down to Commencement, UConn Today is featuring some of this year’s outstanding graduating students, nominated by their academic school or college or another University program in which they participated. For additional profiles of students in the Class of 2012, click here.
As a double major in maritime studies and American studies, with minors in both maritime archeology and Native American studies, it’s a wonder that Arianne Magro has a free moment to enjoy her surroundings, but she does. Magro, a resident of Ledyard, Conn., chose to attend UConn/Avery Point for two reasons. One is that it offered a four-year program in maritime studies, and the other is that the campus is perched on the edge of Long Island Sound.
From the time she was a child, Magro’s favorite activities have included swimming, boating, and fishing with her family. With her interest in all things nautical, maritime studies was a natural choice for her. That the campus was close enough so she could communicate from home was even better.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t going to the beach or to Bluff Point [in nearby Groton],” she says, “and both my majors are flexible enough so I can study all the things that really interest me. I’ve even developed an interest in anthropology through working with Professor Bruchac [assistant professor of anthropology, Marge Bruchac], especially in Native American culture, and that’s something I didn’t expect.”
Just prior to her junior year, Magro was awarded a Kitchings Family Scholarship in recognition of her academic achievement and her maritime studies major. The scholarships provide significant financial aid and are given to outstanding students who are spending all four of their undergraduate years at Avery Point. Magro will graduate in May with a GPA over 3.6.
Her advisor, Mary Bercaw Edwards, associate professor of English, says, “I’m not surprised that she’s done so well. Arianne is an amazing student with wide-ranging interests. I’m continually impressed with how hard she works and how much she enjoys her classes.”
Magro says one of the reasons she added American Studies as a major is that it gives her a chance to study both Native American and Colonial lore. Last summer she did a field project in archaeology with the Pequot Museum that’s part of the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation. Her senior project involves studying the Charles P. Morgan, the ship that’s berthed at Mystic Seaport. Her portion of the project involves examining changing perceptions of whaling, from the 19th century when the Morgan was on the high seas as a whaling vessel. “Both of these experiences have been educational,” she says, “and a lot of fun, too.”
Having multiple interests is both beneficial and daunting. Magro is considering graduate studies in anthropology, but she’d also like to begin working, perhaps in one of the region’s historical or maritime museums. And then there’s the possibility of teaching.
As an undergraduate, she has worked as a tutor in the Academic Center at Avery Point, assisting students needing help with calculus, math, and other subjects. “I just love being able to pass on knowledge, to explain things, and to see the light go on when someone grasps a concept,” she says.
“I’m not sure exactly what’s ahead for me,” she adds, “but my advice is to find something that interests you, and go for it. I think you should study the things you love and you’ll find a career that fits.”