The Human Odyssey Student Experience

Taylor Baronich, Truman Scholarship finalist:

I have said to many students/faculty/friends that the Human Odyssey courses were the best classes I have chosen to take at Auburn. It is in the Human Odyssey courses that I finally learned the definition of an "open mind". As I recently stated in my Truman Scholarship application, "This class explained WHY history happened and analyzed the theories and issues (both controversial and common) that shaped the world to its form today. It constantly challenged students' perspectives, forcing students to find creative solutions to complex and universal problems." At a critical early stage of my college career, the Human Odyssey program gave me a tremendous amount of exposure not only to integral literature of world history but also the eye-opening perspectives of other classmates. Human Odyssey literally brought history to life!

Human Odyssey could not be so effective without the fascinating and committed professors who lead the discussion-based classes. I can not possibly forget my professors – in my first semester, I had Dr. Donnelly from Chemistry and Dr. Dagley from Counseling Psychology, while in my second semester I had Dr. Mackowski from Mechanical Engineering and Dr. Starr from Sociology. By merging the hard and soft sciences, professors as well as students constantly learned from each other and brought a whole new, possibly ignored dynamic to a problem or solution. While all were incredibly helpful to my learning experience, I have kept a lesson from Dr. John Dagley with me since that first semester. He said, "Question everything. Never just accept something because someone else says it is true. Only believe it when you have exhausted your perspectives and proven to yourself it is true." He has actually become a mentor for me and we keep in contact to this day!

I was very excited to be chosen as a finalist for the Truman Scholarship and be given a chance to present and defend myself and my policy proposal. The Truman Scholarship seeks out students who are "change agents" in their community and desire a career in public service. I will very soon find out the final result!

I am currently in New York City interning with the United States Mission to the United Nations in the Protocol Section. It has been an honor to be a part of such a hard-working, cooperative organization and see first-hand the challenges and solutions regarding international relations and world-wide efforts.

Last Updated: May 2, 2012