Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies
Abigail L. Fierst, of Valparaiso, is one of the most recent class of Purdue University North Central alumni, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies in December.
She plans to use her degree to work with teens or young adults in a field of Social Work. She’s gotten a head start by working as intern for the Risk Management Program at the Porter Country Juvenile Detention Center. She describes this as an “intensive 18-week treatment to help teens become aware of their behaviors, attempt to instill social skills and recognize problematic moral and ethical issues. The main idea of the program is to get the teens to understand that they are having problems and our goal is to help them work through for an acceptable solution.”
When Fierst came to PNC she was already a licensed therapeutic massage therapist and while she’s been a student she continued to give back to the community by donating her skills as a therapist for community activities.
As a PNC student Fierst earned the honor of being selected by The Council for Opportunities in Education in Washington D.C. and affiliated TRIO programs to attend the University of Liverpool in England. The intent of the class was for the students to learn more about the history of Liverpool and experience globally diverse cultures.
“I was lucky to receive a scholarship along with 20 other first-generation students to study abroad for 3 weeks,” she explained. “I was lucky to be chosen out of thousands of students across the US and traveling abroad changed my life.”
“I traveled to London in the United Kingdom (UK), Antwerp, Belgium, and Amsterdam. It was a great cultural experience. I learned about everyday life and the worldview of locals in Liverpool. Experiencing the world through study abroad has taught me understanding and compassion and that cannot be taught in class or found in books. I highly recommend all people to go overseas at some point in their lives, whether they are students or not.”
Another proud achievement is the fact that she placed third in the annual campus public speaking contest – the Hyde Park Forum. And Fierst’s grades earned her several mentions on the PNC semester honors lists.
“When I look back, my favorite PNC experiences have been establishing great friends and learning from wonderful and accessible professors. The small class setting and teachers who care made my time a PNC so memorable. I have learned a lot,” she said. “I am proud to have achieved my goal of a Bachelor’s degree.”
She does intend to attend graduate school in the near future and pursue a career in social work.
Fierst offers this advice to potential college student, “If you are contemplating college, have courage in yourself, take the leap, and learn as much as you can, while you can.”