A Major in Real Life

Great Works Symposium Summer 2012Drexel is the ideal University for students with ambitious career goals before they start college. Between the co-op program and our prestigious research opportunities, students are encouraged to start pursuing a career and developing a competitive resume.

For especially dedicated students, who already know the specifics of the career they want to pursue, Drexel has a means to providing the perfect education to achieve their goals — the Custom Designed Major.

Student Kyla Lafond, who is about to enter her junior year, initially came to Drexel as a Biology major hoping to minor in Chemistry. While she liked Drexel’s biology program, she discovered it wasn’t exactly a perfect fit. “I really liked working with people and in healthcare,” says Kyla. But there was still something missing from her educational experience.

After hearing about an upcoming Great Works Symposium — interdisciplinary courses that focus on subjects with a great societal impact, offered each quarter — Kyla was inspired to start a Custom Designed Major. The course was this summer’s current symposium, “Perspectives on Disability.” Kyla’s new major became Disability Services.

Kyla has grown up around disability. Her older brother was born with Vodder Syndrome and a radial club hand, a condition that left him with four fingers on one of his hands. He overcame the obstacles of living with a disability and ultimately gained a passionate focus and drive that’s brought him to medical school. Kyla also babysits children with disabilities and worked as a Ski Instructor at Adaptive Sports, a center that provides a means for people with disabilities to experience different sports safely.

“I don’t know how I didn’t think of this sooner,” Kyla says of her new major, “It’s what I’ve been doing my whole life already!”

The Great Works Symposium will also take Kyla to this summer’s Paralympics in London, a committee for which she dreams of working one day. The trip is a Travel-Integrated Course spun off from the Great Works Symposium. While there she will even get to meet a Physical Therapist working for the games. She hopes to have a co-op where she can work with a Physical or Occupational Therapist.

Kyla is also very interested in international health, and may choose to study abroad. “It’s amazing to see how different cultures handle disability and offer support,” says Kyla.

The Custom Design major is also perfect for Kyla because there are many different areas within Disability services in which she’s interested. Designing her own major allows her to explore area relevant to her goal. She’s interested in everything from Biomedical Engineering to Arts Therapy.

“I see myself wanting to work with new technology,” says Kyla, “Whether that’s new prosthetics or a creative alternative arts therapy.” This fall, she will even take a dance course on Laban Movement Analysis, a therapy that focuses on body movement and shape.

“I guess because I grew up with this I didn’t initially think of it as a career,” says Kyla. But she says Drexel is responsible for helping her find her path. “Drexel is perfect — from the Custom Design major and course variety to the tri quarter system and the proximity to so many great hospitals.”