Juliana Wittmann knows a thing or two about being a well-rounded college student. This co-ed from Marlboro, New Jersey, balances being the president of Alpha Phi (Zeta Omicron chapter) with a political science and Spanish major and a social policy minor.
College Lifestyles™ sat down with Wittmann to learn more about her career ambitions, studies and how being the president of a sorority has impacted her college experience.
College Lifestyles™: Describe your major and minors and why you are interested in this particular field.
Juliana Wittmann: I have been interested in both my majors for a very long time. In high school, my favorite classes always focused on politics, and I loved learning about how different governments served their people. As for Spanish, my mom is Cuban, so I have grown up with Spanish language and culture all my life, so I wanted to study it as much as possible in college.
My social policy minor combines political science, economics and sociology courses, which I love because there is a lot of variety in the subject matter. It is also extremely interesting to have three different backgrounds of thought when I look at how government programs and legislation serve American people. I love these courses in particular because I hope to use them in the future to make sure government policy is serving American people in the best and most effective ways possible.
CL: What are your career ambitions?
JW: After I graduate next fall, I hope to enroll in a sociology PhD program, and ultimately become a college professor in that field.
CL: How do you hope your Hopkins experience will help you reach your career goals?
JW: My courses at Hopkins are what made me realize I wanted to pursue a PhD in the first place. I [enjoy] learning so much that I [want] to continue that process even after I graduate.
CL: How has your involvement in Greek life shaped your college experience?
JW: Being a member of Alpha Phi has really enriched my JHU experience, even before I became president. I have loved getting to know so many different, accomplished women that I might have never met had I not been an Alpha Phi. My involvement in Greek life has opened up [a lot] of doors for me, whether it’s suggestions on where to apply for internships or amazing friendships.
CL: What types of skills have you acquired in your presidential position at Alpha Phi JHU?
JW: The most valuable skills I have learned as president thus far involve communicating effectively with other people, especially those who seek advice on an issue or conflict. I’ve learned very quickly that being an attentive, thoughtful listener is often more valuable to someone than immediately giving out a lot of advice. Therefore, as president I always try to make myself available to every sister whenever she needs me, so that I can hear from them easily.
CL: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
JW: During most of my free time, I try to go to the gym. As a former collegiate athlete, staying in shape and living a healthy lifestyle is extremely important to me. I feel so much more relaxed and even confident after I take a little time to focus on myself and not on my academics or Alpha Phi.
CL: What are you plans for the summer of 2015?
JW: I plan on assisting one of my professors with her sociology research this summer in Baltimore. I will also be taking classes so that I can graduate a semester early.
CL: What advice would you offer to other classy co-eds who want to pursue a leadership position at their schools?
JW: I always try to open myself up to any and every opportunity that comes my way. Sometimes the smallest seeming opportunities can be the most influential. When I became a member of Alpha Phi, I had no intention of holding a leadership position, let alone becoming the president. When I was a new member, an older sister encouraged me to become a member of her committee; after just a few meetings and events I realized I had found an activity I really enjoyed being a part of.
That experience drove me to become the vice president of membership recruitment, and after being in that position for a year, I knew I wanted to be president. None of that ever would have happened had I not been open to that first committee opportunity. So whenever something even the slightest bit interesting comes across your desk, I think you should always go for it.
Follow Wittmann’s advice to and try out new things that you are interested—who knows, you may end up CL’s next president interview!
Check out a few more of our features campus presidents!
Images courtesy of Juliana Wittmann.