• Explore Their Path

    Use this blog to learn about students, faculty, staff, and alumni in your majors of interest. Find Your Major Tribe!

  • Explore Stories By Majors and Minors

Danielle Massis, Found Her Major Tribe in Accounting!

Watch Danielle Massis share why she decided to switch her major from Biology to Accounting and describe how she sat in a room with her new Accounting peers and realized, “these are my people!”

This interview with Danielle helped inspire the Explore Their Path blog and suggests how you might use this blog in your exploration process!


Video and interview by Karen Ver Trinidad. Music by Bensound.com.

Mick Washo, Urban Agriculture Minor and Food Recovery Network leader

Mick Washo with Food Recovery t-shirt and vegetablesName: Mick Washo

Major(s), Minor(s), Program(s): Major in International Studies (Global Politics and Societies), Minor in Latin American Studies, Minor in Urban Agriculture

Previous Major(s), Minor(s), Program(s): none

What attracted you to your initial major(s) and minor(s)?: For Urban Agriculture, I was really interested in developing these skills in an academic setting that I would otherwise never have an opportunity to learn. While many of my peers plan to go on to lead urban ag initiatives and work on farms, I do not plan to do that. Rather I value what I have learned through USF’s urban ag program because I will now be able to better build my own garden. It will make the lifelong hobby of gardening much more fulfilling and allow my garden to be more advanced.

What inspired you to change program(s)?: Novella Carpenter inspired me totally to join the program. She is one of the most amazing professors USF has. She knows so much about a field that seems to stump all my other professors.

What do you like best about your current major(s) and minor(s)?: Participating in the Urban Ag minor is a great way to add a focus to your extra classes at USF. What I like most about it is being able to spend time outside in the garden each week. I find this experience to be really grounding and refreshing. Additionally, learning how to cook with all the different food we produce is an amazing experience.

What is most challenging about your current major(s) and minor(s)?: It can at times be challenging to work with the earth, weather and city. A large challenge of urban agricultural in general is that people often times don’t want you there. Your access to the land is often informal or insecure. Sadly the USF program teaches us that well. Many other departments are constantly trying to take over different parts of the garden for their own projects.

What sort of internships and career opportunities have you explored?: I have lead the USF Food Recovery Network for the past 4 years. FRN takes food that would have been wasted from the school’s cafeteria and donates it around San Francisco. We work very closely with the garden and many urban ag students volunteer with us.

What sort of extracurricular opportunities have you participated in?: FRN has donated over 30 thousand pounds of food in the past four years.

What resources helped you with your exploration journey?: All of the resources offered by Novella are what got me here today. She constantly inspired and motivated me to learn more and dive deeper into the topic.

What advice do you have for students exploring majors?: I would advise any student to participate in at least one urban ag class. The first thing, these classes are in enjoyable. Next comes learning about managing a garden.

Paul Zeitz and Lindsay MacGarva Are Revitalizing Math Education

Paul Zeitz with Students at Proof SchoolRead how Paul Zeitz, USF Math professor, is making math fun, challenging and gender inclusive at the Proof school he founded for middle and high school kids.  The USF News article also highlights how  alumna Lindsay MacGarva ’11 MA ’13 uses the lessons she learned from her math major as a teacher at Convent & Stuart Hall High School in San Francisco.  Rather than doing the Dual Degree Teaching Program, Lindsay earned a separate Master’s in Education from USF after getting her bachelor’s degree. Both Paul and Lindsay are changing the world from here.  They demonstrate examples of how you can use  a Math degree to help others!

USF News article about Paul and Lindsay



Jazmine Kelleher, Identifying Her True Passions at USF

Jazmine Profile PhotoJazmine Kelleher

Major: Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Minors: Neuroscience and Architecture & Community Design

There is an undeniably increasing amount of pressure placed upon students to know what they want to do with their lives at the transition from high school to college. When college majors used to be a concern for actual college students, such decisions now amass the minds of younger and younger students. In my experience it is not uncommon to hear middle school aged children discussing application strategies for Stanford’s bio program or MIT’s computer science major. I was too one of this believers. A believer that I had to know what I wanted to not only study but do with the rest of my life. The problem was that from a young age I was enchanted with everything and learning was simply fun. So how could I choose one area of study to keep me satiated? Well the answer to that is that I couldn’t. About mid-year through high school I decided that I was going to be engineer. It was a goal I choose, became passionate about and then deeply entrenched it. Once I reached college applications senior year my passion had changed, and I decided it was right to put my love for science to the test and pursue biology— I was going to be a neurosurgeon. I once again became enthralled in the idea, I read books talked to my family members who were physicians and declared a path of a major in biology with a focus in molecular biology and a minor in neuroscience at USF. I was SET.

The fall of my freshman year of college rolled around and I began my heavily science based curriculum, but something wasn’t clicking… I enjoyed what I was studying, but frankly I was bored. I was reading biology textbooks, attending chemistry lectures, taking part in group study sessions, but the fire was weak, the flame of biological passion had died. So I researched what I could do with it, maybe the idea of being a neurosurgeon was getting stale…. So, game change I was going to be a patent lawyer. I had some science, I had some law, this would keep me going, I convinced myself.

However, as first semester came to a close, my interest for biology wasn’t there, my mind wondered from my lectures, I couldn’t focus on school like I always had before, and that’s when I realized maybe it wasn’t a prospective career goal that needed to be altered but my major. But no! I had committed to biology, I told myself. I can’t quit. That winter break I did some deep soul searching and began talking to all the people in my life who knew me the best and instead of piecing together a career from the top-down, it was time I focused on what would keep me satiated in the classroom, and the answer to that was a lot. So, the answer was then to study many different academic realms.

I began with identifying the “bones” of my ambition and fire, and it always came back to fact that I have a go-getter, entrepreneurial spirit. So the base to my educational smorgasbord became my current major, Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Then I had to choose what else would maintain my interest. A big piece in that puzzle was science, so I kept my neuroscience minor. But there was a lingering piece, my level of visual creativity, and that came in with my love of architecture. Thus, today I am an Entrepreneurship & Innovation major with a double minor in Architectural and Community Design and Neuroscience… itself a mouthful to tell people, and it’s exactly what I need.

So, my advice to any incoming student is pluralistic: trust who you are, believe in anything, and don’t be afraid to change your mind. In trusting who you are it’s so critical to not abolish any self-integrity, especially when dealing with something as critical as education; don’t settle for what you think others will be proud of you for studying or for what you think is the right way to go. I always knew I needed a lot to keep me going, I was disinterested on a singular circuit, so I needed to employ many different outlets for my brain to explore. Second, believe in anything. My projected course of study sounds convoluted and busy; it is and it keeps me on my toes, but it’s nothing I cannot accomplish. And third, with the increasing amount of pressure that surrounds our current society, don’t ever feel like you have to stick to something you aren’t passionate about because of what others will think of you. Don’t work from the top-down approach if you can’t maintain passion in the end goal, you’ll just hurt yourself more in the long run.

So, I thought I was going to be an engineer, a neurosurgeon and then a patent lawyer? Well now I know that I like real estate and properties, I am interested in the brain, and I want to work for myself. It’s time to stop chasing a singular goal and see where the avenues of ambition take you when you are tunnel visioned about something so isolating. Thanks to USF’s small, inclusive community I was provided the opportunity to explore what worked for me and what didn’t. My classes are interactive, my advisors are personable and the opportunities are endless. Suddenly changing the world from here doesn’t seem to improbable, but instead quite feasible.