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UC Berkeley


Maleah Fekete - Aesthetics and Idealized Self

Maleah is a spring 2017 graduate who has been accepted to the Sociology Ph.D. program at Harvard University. The title of her thesis is “Leisure Motivations: Romance Reading in 1984 and Today”. Her list of awards include the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) and the Institute of International Studies Junior Scholarship. She participated in the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP) with Professor Winne Wong and conducted independent research with Professor Niklaus Lagier. For Maleah:

“Choosing to major in ISF has been one of the best decision of my undergraduate experience. Above all, the flexibility of the major has allowed – and supported – me to explore all of my interests. Originally entering college as an intended business major, I took a Rhetoric R1B class my first semester and was completely captivated by the theories and texts the class discussed; I decided business wasnt for me. However, as I discovered over the course of that first semester, all of my classes were amazing! Having no idea what to do with my newly found interests but being certain that I wanted a career in the academic world, I went to L&S to investigate and so was advised to go to ISF. Although totally unsure of what direction my studies or career would go, I became the earliest student to declare ISF and have since been supported in taking classes ranging from German Cabaret to Introduction to Neurobiology, Sustainable Architecture to Rhetoric of Aesthetics. By taking such a motley of classes, I was able to narrow my interests; being forced to write a thesis, I gained practical skills. Participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and my ISF thesis seminar, I reaffirmed my commitment to research. I learned how to do rigorous research, and gained research experience for my graduate school applications. ISF fostered a creativity and broad education that has been essential to me in my path towards graduate school. However, even if I had chosen a path outside of academia, the major provides an incredible opportunity to develop critical skills for many different life-courses. It encourages innovation in a way that respected and valued by both traditional and nontraditional careers.”

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