Megan Ludgate '16 Prepares her Fulbright Application

What are you studying at Simmons?

I am studying economics and mathematics with a minor in sustainability. I also have an interest in photography and computer science and I'm part of the Honors Program.

What drew you to your major?

I entered Simmons undecided. My assigned faculty advisor was an economics professor. When I mentioned I enjoyed AP economics in high school, she encouraged me to take an intro to economics class. I’ve always enjoyed math, and I’ve always enjoyed telling stories. Economics combines the two -- it uses mathematical models to tell stories about the economy.

What's your favorite part of your program?

The personal connections. Simmons is full of them. Faculty, staff, alumnae/i, community members, peers; I have personal connections with all of them. It's not what you learn, but who you learn from.

My position as Economics Liaison president last year allowed me to get to know professors and alumnae/i on a deeper level. It's these connections that will become increasingly important as I graduate and leave Simmons.

What's your favorite class you've taken so far?

I’ve had many amazing professors and classes, but the class that had the biggest impact on me was my first-year Honors Seminar class on Civil Rights Organizing. It was co-taught by Catherine Paden and Jo Trigilio, both amazing professors -- and women -- with so much knowledge and insight. I felt honored everyday in class just to have the opportunity to learn from them.

What's your favorite part of the Honors Program?

The opportunity to take classes outside of my area of study. Through the honors program I have taken classes on the Second Wave Feminist Movement, Public Speaking and Climate Change. Without the honors program, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity or encouragement to push my studies in these directions.

What advice would you give to a student considering the Honors Program?

Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone. That's where you'll grow the most. The honors program will push you and make you think about the world in new ways. If you embrace the challenge, it will be incredibly rewarding.

What Fulbright Fellowship are you applying for?

While taking Transitioning to Graduate School and Beyond -- an honors course -- I stumbled upon the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. It’s an opportunity to travel abroad and share stories through digital storytelling on a National Geographic blog.

With Professor Treacy's encouragement, I spent the semester learning about myself and how my own interests and values fit into the new goal of receiving this fellowship. Although I've always dreamed about an opportunity like this fellowship, I would have never thought myself qualified for one without the honors program. I am now preparing myself and my portfolio for an application deadline in October.

I even started a photo a day blog to help prepare myself for the Fellowship.

What's your Simmons moment?

As part of the 2016 Class Council, I worked closely with the staff at Bartol Hall organizing Winter Wonderland, a traditional event planned by the first-year class. After the event, as we were cleaning up to Pandora streaming “Aventura Radio” over the speakers, and the staff and the few students present broke out into a spontaneous dance circle. Although it didn’t last long, our small dance party was one of the most memorable moments of my time Simmons. I appreciated being able to make a unique connection with the staff of such a frequented place on campus. My favorite thing about Simmons is the people here -- including staff, students and faculty.

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