MARTIN, Tenn. – Abril Sosa, a senior from Atoka, is turning her passions into two degrees at the University of Tennessee at Martin. “I started out as just a communications major and later realized that on top of my love and joy of designing, I also really enjoyed working with and for children, so I added a second major,” she said.
Sosa, who plans to graduate in December, will leave UT Martin with both a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a Bachelor of Science in family and consumer sciences. She developed her passion for children after seeing how nurses cared for her premature nephew. “I already had an interest (in) kids because I was in the hospital for so long with (my nephew), which it just gave me this feeling of like ‘I want to actually work here and be able to work with children,’” she said.
These feelings resurfaced when she took the introduction to family and consumer sciences course at UT Martin. However, a few courses like this one were not enough for her. “I … didn’t want to just dip my toes in there by just minoring in (family and consumer sciences), so I decided to go ahead and add it as a second major,” she said.
Sosa’s original major, communications, allows her to display a different passion through a concentration in media design. “I like creating. I like being in front of the computer and putting my ideas on there. It’s another way to communicate that you don’t need actual … face-to-face interaction, but you can communicate to a larger audience through something that you make,” she said.
Sosa, who plans pursue a master’s degree after graduating from UT Martin, combined her skills to complete a 10-week internship this summer with the Youth Villages Dogwood Campus in Arlington.
“During my weeks there, I helped plan and implement activities for the youths, lead group therapies, and plan and lead life skills (sessions) surrounding proper hygiene, healthy relationships and anger management,” she said.
Sosa says it’s important for students to get out of their comfort zones, which has led her to be more involved on campus and take on roles such as vice president of the newly established Latin and Hispanic Student Association. “We don’t really have a lot of Hispanic students on campus, and so I felt that if we have something that could draw other students here, maybe more students would want to come and feel (at) home,” she said.
The organization is starting a new diversity conversation among students by hosting plays, movie screenings and socials, among other events. “I think it would be nice to help everybody understand everybody’s perspective on things. Sometimes we’re kind of blind to other cultures because we’re not directly involved with them, and we just go by whatever we hear from somebody, whether it’s true or not,” said Sosa, who lived in Michoacán, Mexico, until she was nine. “I feel like actually having more diversity on campus would help in developing that different perspective and … learning the actual facts.”