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Watching silos fall

Watching silos fall

Michelle Tedford '94 June 27, 2023

Silo in a fieldchose to be a journalism major because I couldn’t make up my mind. 

At 17, I wanted to be everything — rocket scientist, mechanic, author, biologist, librarian. The only way I could learn about it all was to pick a major that would challenge me to ask all the questions to which I wanted answers — plus the questions I suspected others might have.

So I entered UD as a journalism major. At the time, few universities were set up for truly interdisciplinary learning for all students. Sure, it was fine to take disparate classes that piqued my interests, but in the end they needed to count for something toward my degree. For example, the women in literature and history course I took from professor Una Cadegan — during which I failed, for the second time, to finish reading Little Women — was excellent and did a wonderful job of crossing disciplines. In the end, I had to decide how it would count: English, history or women’s studies? 

When it came to science, professor Chuck Ritter kindly coaxed me into choosing a geology minor, but it took persuading, rearranging and lots of paperwork from my department chair to make it count. (See Page 18 for a remembrance of my former professor.)

In essence, I spent my UD days dangling between silos and hanging on for dear life. Not so for today’s students. I’m jealous for the ease with which they swing between what they love, who they are and what they want to be. There are so many opportunities for them to connect with faculty from many disciplines — and to augment their learning outside of the classroom. 

As I interviewed rising senior Meigan Karolak for this issue (see special insert), I appreciated how she is combining business operations, languages and sustainability to align her passions with her future. Her service in the Asian American Association is building leadership skills while her internship experience, funded by an alumnus, will help her be successful at whatever path she chooses. 

In this campaign, the University is focusing on philanthropy, engagement and participation to continue to innovate opportunities for students. I look back on my era as a Flyer student and know that the excellence in the faculty and staff was supporting me. I look today at the hands-on learning experiences available for students as they apply their classroom instruction. I look to the future and anticipate how many more Flyers will have access to UD’s distinctive, mission-driven education. 

Three cheers for the downfall of silos. The We Soar campaign is about refusing to accept limits and instead embracing possibilities. In today’s students, alumni can recognize their experiences. But there’s so much more here, and so much more to come. Instead of picking and choosing, future Flyers can indeed have it all.


Photograph by David Maunsell on Unsplash.

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