Bilge Felek ’21, School of Social Work

Bilge Felek reflects on her time at UConn

Head shot of Bilge Felek

Bilge Felek (Contributed photo)

What was your major and why did you choose it?
I started as a Psychology major, but I also discovered a deep interest in Anthropology after taking a gen-ed summer course. I continued to take Anthropology courses out of interest until my advisor let me know that I had nearly enough to complete my minor! I really enjoyed exploring the overlaps between cultures and individuals, but I was always interested in clinical psychology, so I applied to the Bachelor of Social Work program. I continued my studies in Psychology and Anthropology even after starting my BSW, and I will graduate with dual degrees in Social Work and Psychology with a minor in Anthropology. It has been difficult to complete all of the requirements, but I do think all of these subjects have greatly built upon and enhanced one another.

What are your plans after graduation?
For this upcoming year, I will be pursuing my Master’s in Social Work at Columbia University with a specialization in Clinical International Social Welfare. In the future, I am highly interested in working with immigrant and refugee populations in both clinical and policy level interventions.

How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?
My Social Work curriculum has been very focused on human rights-oriented practice, and many of my Anthropology courses have been structured in a way that emphasizes cultural narratives. I believe that receiving this narrative early on in my education has helped me to really understand the importance of the practice.

Any advice for incoming first-year students?
Make the most of the gen-ed requirements! I know most students question the need to take gen-eds, but with all of the courses UConn can offer, it can be a really great way to discover new interests. I had no plans to minor in Anthropology when starting my undergraduate studies, but my interest was spurred during a gen-ed class when I found the material captivating. If you still have one or two content areas to fill, try to find one that you’re truly interested in rather than the one that seems easiest or most convenient.

What’s one thing that will always make you think of UConn?
This might be an odd one, but I do often associate dairy barns with UConn! I lived near Horsebarn Hill my freshman year, and one of my favorite things to do would be to visit the cows. I even spent my 18th birthday on campus seeing the cows with some friends!