Major Monday: Communications and French

“What can I do with a communications major?”  That’s a question we’ve been hearing quite a bit in the guidance office recently.  It turns out that our French teacher, Mrs. DiVincenzo, has some experience in that area!  Hopefully her answers will help anyone thinking about the majoring in communications, or – of course – in French!

1)  What was your college major and where did you go to school?
I graduated from UMass Amherst with a double major in Communications and French & Francophone Studies (and a minor in Modern European Studies)

2)  Was this your original major?  If not, what was your original major and why did you decide to change?
I went into UMass with the comm major because, although I always wanted to be a teacher… I wanted to go into advertising and make LOTS of money!  After doing an internship the summer before my junior year (sales related) I decided that I did not like lying to people.  As I was a few classes away from finishing the comm major (and I enjoyed the classes) I decided to keep at it and add the French major and study abroad for a semester.

3)  What made you choose your major?
I always enjoyed teaching/coaching and French was one of my favorite classes in school.  And it blends well with my passion for traveling!

4)  What were your favorite classes in college?
Mass communication classes (studying the effects of advertising, etc)… I took a few anthropology classes that were also very interesting (the study of culture, etc)… there were a few theater classes that were a lot of fun and helped with public speaking type of situations.

5)  What advice do you have for students interested in the same major?
Comm classes are very interesting, but the comm major in general is not super useful when trying to get a job.  Most job offerings will be entry level (many which don’t even require a degree)
For the French major, there’s essentially 2 options: teaching and translating (which are difficult to come by and are often part time).
Thanks for your input, Mrs. DiVincenzo!  If you’re worried about job prospects with a certain major (but it’s something you love studying), combine it with another of your passions.  Internships are great learning experiences.  We so often talk about them possibly leading to future jobs, but they will also give you an idea of it’s what you really want to do for the rest of your life!

Major Monday: History

For this week’s Major Monday post we turn to Mr. Porell, a member of our Social Studies department!  Here he answers some questions for us about his path to becoming a history teacher at LC.

1)  What was your college major and where did you go to school?

I went to UMass Lowell for my bachelor’s degree in History.  I earned a master’s degree in Comparative History from Brandeis University.  My thesis was “An Examination of Oral History:  Holocaust Survivor Testimony and its Status in Holocaust History.”

2)  Was this your original major?

Yes, it was.

3)  What made you choose your major?

I chose History as a major because, at the risk of sounded clichéd, it is my passion. Since a very young age, I’ve read, studied and explored all things history. I transitioned from a previous career, in which I was quite miserable, so the the decision to pursue an advanced degree, and subsequently, a career in which I love, was easy.

I earned my degree while working full time. I worked third shift (11:00 p.m. -7:00 a.m) and then went to school full time each day. I’d leave work at 7:10, get to school before 8:00, take classes until 2:00, then get my kids from school. We’d go home, all do our homework, and when my wife got home around 5:00, I’d go to bed until 9:45, and do the whole thing all over again. My point? If you really want to do something, you have it in you to do it! For me it was a Bachelors and Masters, start to finish, in five years.

4)  What were your favorite classes in college?

My favorite classes in college were upper level classes that really challenged me. Some were very difficult: Early U.S. Political Culture, Historical Methods, Problems of Modern Ireland, Arthurian Literature.

5)  What advice do you have for students interested in majoring in History?

See #3, paragraph two: don’t get into a career you hate.    But seriously, if you are going to major in History, know right away- literally freshman year- what you plan to do with the degree. Are you going to teach? At what level? Public or private? Should you get a Masters in Education or History?

Are you going to do research/museum/preservation work?
Do you want to be a professor (PhD)? That’s a commitment that involves fluency in at least one more language, unless you are thinking about U.S. History (a very crowded field by the way). A humanities PhD with dissertation takes anywhere from six to eight years after your undergrad.
Also, be prepared to be asked this question from everyone who cares about you: “What are you going to do  with a History degree?”


Thanks for contributing to our Major Monday feature, Mr. Porell!


Major Monday – Math

Welcome back!  We hope you’ve all had a nice, restful vacation week!  We return to school by talking with Ms. Dailey for this week’s Major Monday post.  Ms. Dailey is a math teacher at LC.  This semester she’s teaching Honors Pre-Calculus and Honors and CP Algebra II/Trig.  She took some time away from these fun classes to tell us about her college days!

1)  What was your college major and where did you go to school?

I went to college at MCLA and was a math major and in the educator licensure program.

2)  Was math your original major, or did you switch from something else?

Yes, I was a math major from the beginning.

3)  What made you choose your major?

I knew I wanted to be a teacher of some sort and math was always something that interested me and made sense to me.

4)  What were your favorite classes in college?

I really enjoyed Number Theory, Physics, and the history classes I took, but my favorite part was student teaching.

5)  What advice do you have for students looking to major in math?

Stick with it.  If being a math major is something you really want to do, you have to stick with it.  It gets hard at times and there are definitely classes that you’ll struggle through, but when you finish and you can say “yeah I was a math major in college” it is a pretty awesome accomplishment!


Thank you, Ms. Dailey!  We agree – it is an awesome accomplishment!