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Aiming Higher

“I love this idea because it equips students with something unique, making them most attractive to employers and graduate schools. They will be our future leaders.”

Jake Santangelo

Making sense of the toughest problems facing society demands a firm grasp of the social sciences, says John Waller, the associate professor with an expertise in the history of medicine, who was recently hired by the College of Social Science to serve as the first director of a brand new undergraduate program called the Social Science Scholars.

The new program, brought to life by Social Science Dean Marietta Baba with the early help of alumni donors, is a concerted effort to attract and retain high-performing students whose experience will in turn transform the undergraduate experience by potentially inspiring similar programs within the college’s academic units.

The scholars will study the social sciences in great depth, work in close partnership with leading MSU faculty, consult with experts in the U.S. and overseas during study away and study abroad experiences, and they will apply their knowledge in internships across the country.

Barbara Gerson (’84, Social Science) and her husband, Mark, were among the first to support the new program with a generous financial contribution. 

“Students in this program will be able to interface with faculty in a way that would traditionally be considered a post-baccalaureate degree approach,” Barbara says. “I love this idea because it equips students with something unique, making them most attractive to employers and graduate schools. They will be our future leaders.”

Sharing that belief with the Gersons are other alumni, including Dean Baba, who have agreed to financially support the new program as well. More support is needed over time to ensure its continued growth and improvement.

For more information on contributing to the Social Science scholars program, including naming opportunities, please contact Senior Director of Development Nick McLaren at mclarenn@msu.edu or by calling (517) 884-2189.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING AN INTERN
Jacob (Jake) Santangelo, a senior studying political science from Holland, Michigan, appreciates the focus on internships which he says helped prepare him for his future career.

 “I know first-hand the importance of internships since I have worked four as a student, including one at the White House,” says Jake. “The work may present students with more challenges, but it will provide more opportunities for growth. In applying my knowledge from the College of Social Science as a student I am prepared to make a difference as a leader.”