Name: Giovanna Echivarre-Morelli
Major(s), Minor(s), Program(s): Performing Arts and Social Justice (Music), Dual-Degree Education, STEM Education minor
Previous Major (s), Minor(s), Program(s): Data Science, Music minor
What attracted you to your initial major(s) and minor(s)?:
When applying to USF, I wanted to go into a scientific field and learn how to code. I thought there would not be many women of color in the program, so I wanted a challenge and to prove to myself and others that people like me can belong. However, music has always been a part of my life. Though I did not see myself majoring in it, I wanted to still nurture my curiosity for it. Music intertwines through who I am and what brings me joy. I thought this major and this minor were a perfect fit for me.
What inspired you to change programs?:
My first semester was tough. I knew I was competent enough to code, but it wasn’t bringing me joy. When taking music classes I felt at home: I was excelling, curious, and felt -good- about new classes, even when they were challenging. I was putting more of a priority towards my minor than my major.
My second semester I also decided to enroll, on a whim, to a course called Introduction to Teaching. In this quaint, once a week course, I was learning pedagogy, self-care, and I was surrounded by like-minded people. I was excelling; I was having fun; I realized I could see myself as a teacher.
With the help of talking to new advisors (I walked right into the school of Education and set up a meeting with an advisor) and also talking to my professors, I was feeling more and more confident about switching my major. At this point I wasn’t to attached to a Data Science degree, even though I took half the Math courses required for it.
Of course the biggest thing holding me back was myself. I had doubts: Would my parents still support me? Would I graduate on time? Would my professional salary when I graduate provide a living wage?
I decided I knew what I was doing. And I had support from my friends, family, and staff at USF. Overall, I know it was my own decision to change majors and career paths, but I am so thankful from the support from my community.
What do you like best about your current major(s) and minor(s)?:
I like that I feel confident about my career path. I know I am getting the best help, and great advice from my professors, advisors, and peers.
I love PASJ because it has made a more engaged and humble person.
I love Dual-Degree because I can directly apply what I learn in PASJ to become a better teacher.
I love that my STEM minor allows me to take math and science classes so I can continue to discover and explore.
What is most challenging about your current major(s) and minor(s)?:
Time management is a big challenge. As I am double-majoring, I am usually stacked at 18 units every semester! However, I think I’m learning the hang of it.
Being in PASJ I want to be in every musical, every play, every ensemble. There’s not enough hours in the day, and many ensembles are 2 credits, of which I have no empty ones to offer.
What sort of internship and career opportunities have you explored?:
I have worked as a para-professional at a local private school. I had the chance last year to work with a special-needs student and lean about special-ed learning in the field.
I was also able to observe a local kindergarten class.
There are also so many opportunities to work in theater and music in the bay area, especially in SF, but I have yet to find enough time to commit to those internships.
What sort of extracurricular activities have your participated in?:
I have been involved in USF’s classical choir ensemble (UCCE) for 3 semesters. Creating a good relationship with the director helped me realize that singing was important to me.
I have performed with The College Players for 2 semesters, which is the student-led theater group on campus. There’s a lot of history behind this group and the community it fosters is inclusive and wonderful.
I have been involved with Chamber Ensembles for a semester which allowed me to focus on my instrumental musicianship skills. I plan on continuing this semester as in the class, we have different virtuositic groups that feature 3-6 people performing classical pieces.
I am joining USF Voices this semester to try something new.
I am joining the Liturgical Choir to pray and re-examine my Catholic faith.
All of these groups have introduced me to awesome people that support me and are a part of my daily life.
What resources helped you with your exploration journey?:
Going into CASA I think once, I was able to talk to an advisor and figure out the nitty-gritty of changing majors and what the process could be like.
Frequent CAPS visits allowed my to trust my therapist and tell them about my worries and new plans were.
And the “What-if” option on the Degree Evaluation allowed me to personally look at what classes I needed to take.
What advice do you have for students exploring majors?
You don’t have to be sure of yourself. It’s okay to change your mind multiple times. It’s a part of the college experience. It’s also okay to have an adult help you with your decision Don’t be afraid to reach out for support. People will be there for you.
Do what you feel passion about, not what you think will bring you the most success. If you succeed about what you are passionate about, you will be much happier as a student at USF.