Institutional Research and Assessment

Transfer Student Project: Ella's Story

Photo of Ella by one of Evergreen's on-site residential living areas.

Ella transferred to Evergreen in January 2007 as a junior. She previously attended Central Washington University, where she participated in a national student exchange with Hunter College in New York City . At Evergreen, Ella is studying Journalism and Media.

Download a Windows Media File with clips from an interview with Ella. (This is a WMA file and should play on your computer using Windows Media Player)

The integrated learning at Evergreen tends to fuse and evince the interconnectedness of a spectrum of subjects. Ella appreciated the wide breadth, and in pursuit of a journalism or media focus, she’s enrolled in a program combining history, pop culture, economics, and physics. “I am not really interested in [economics], but I think it’s good to learn and have a recognition of fields that you wouldn’t necessarily go into normally.”

A major part of Evergreen’s interdisciplinary programs hinges on the seminar, where students and faculty discuss, explore, and debate the subject matter. “I’m a shy person, so that was actually a really good invitation for me to open more. It was pressure, but it was a good amount of pressure.” Despite her initial hesitation to speak up and voice her own opinions, Ella felt that the seminar atmosphere was supportive and friendly, providing the occasion for participation, while not demanding it. “I think the fact that the professors would monitor [helped], and they would encourage the quieter students to talk if they had something to say… I was really comfortable with it—and you weren’t being forced to participate, but it was nice to have the opportunity.”

The integral learning environment and fusion of disciplines changed Ella’s perspective not only on learning, but on subject matters as well. “I thought [physics] was going to be all mathematics, so I was limiting myself to that beforehand.” While some colleges focus on specialization in traditional disciplines to meet the demands of an internationally competitive economy, Evergreen offers students a chance for specialization through interdisciplinarity—as Ella focuses on media and journalism, she builds a background in both political and natural sciences, paving a foundation of knowledge that inevitably spills over into a multitude of fields.