Alissa McCaffrey

Alissa McCaffrey
History and Biology
Phoenix, NY

In my first year at SLU, I found the thought of declaring a major to be quite daunting because I did not like the idea of limiting myself to one field or discipline. With an interest in health careers and the medical field, I thought that I would have to forgo my love of history in order to pursue a degree in the sciences. What I discovered, however, is that rather than confining my studies to one area, a history major allows me to incorporate my diverse interests and utilize the knowledge that I have gained in other disciplines. For instance in my 299 seminar, The U.S. and Cuba, I was able to focus my research on the health care system in Cuba throughout the Revolutionary period and utilize sources written in both English and Spanish.

Having enjoyed my AP United States History class in high school, I anticipated that my major and culminating SYE would have a focus on American history. However, my experiences through the St. Lawrence study abroad program helped reveal, and promote, my desire to learn more about modern Europe. The semester I spent in Spain during the fall of my junior year was what inspired my current SYE research. In my independent study, with Dr. Elun Gabriel, I am investigating the roles of Spanish women during Spain’s Second Republic and Civil War in order to determine if, and how, this history has contributed to the construction of women’s roles in contemporary, post-Franco Spain.

Next year, I plan to attend graduate school for public health. Building off my background in both biology and history, I intend to pursue a master’s degree in health policy. I believe that my major in history has been invaluable to my development as a student, a writer, and a human being.