Meet Alexandra Goodfred, Humanities and Social Sciences Student of the Month
Hometown: Durham, NC
Majors: Anthropology and English
- Special Topics in Anthropology: Witchcraft and Terror
- Rhetoric and Digital Media
- French Literature from Romanticism to the Contemporary Period
- Intern, Lauren Taylor Shute Editorial (book publisher), Raleigh, NC, January 2016-present
- President, Anthropology Club, Fall 2016
- Staff writer and correspondent, Technician Student Newspaper, 2014-15
- Study abroad at Oxford, United Kingdom, Summer 2015
- Ethnographic Methods Field School, Thailand, Summer 2014
- Publicity Chair, Opportunities in Scientific Research (NC State student group)
- University Scholars Program
- Honorable Mention, Feature Writing, NC College Media Association Conference, February 2016
Why did you select Humanities and Social Sciences?
I always had an interest in anthropology – people, cultures, societies – as opposed to areas like science or math. So I knew this college should be my home. My love of reading and analyzing led me to double major in English, and my enjoyment of French was heightened by the fact that my grandmother was from Louisiana and spoke Cajun French. I like that this college has offered the freedom to take courses as I choose; my peers here in science or pre-medical fields often have to follow a certain sequence of classes and there is less flexibility.
What have been your favorite courses and what individuals have stood out for you?
I thoroughly enjoyed Major British Writers with Dr. Brian Blackley, where we covered Shakespeare, Chaucer and Donne, and Peoples and Cultures of Africa with Dr. Sasha Newell. That class used ethnography to debunk a lot of inaccurate ideas North Atlantic cultures have about sub-Saharan peoples. My academic advisor, Dr. Alison Greene, has helped me in her role as faculty advisor for the Anthropology Club, and has been a great sounding board for personal questions and concerns.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
The greatest challenge has definitely been balancing everything. There is reading, studying, involvement on and off campus, spending time with friends and family, socializing, and of course, sleeping. It takes a while to learn how to keep all those pieces in check.
What advice would you give incoming students?
Get involved, but remember to take a break, slow down and meet people. Also, take advantage of study abroad if you can. I was fortunate to have two summer international experiences – archaeological fieldwork in Thailand (where students excavate and analyze skeletal materials), and courses in Shakespeare and History at Oxford. For both trips, I had to learn to adapt to new situations and become more self-sufficient. This was particularly true in Thailand, where I was not familiar with the language. Study abroad forces you out of your comfort zone, but provides valuable new perspectives.