Sophia Burton with two other members of Migration Matters.

International Studies Scholars alum Sophia Burton (right), who began college with no plans for her major or career, opted to follow her passions... all the way to Berlin. Here, she poses with colleagues from the nonprofit she co-founded, Bernadette Klausberger (left) and Kelly Miller. PHOTO: Sophia Burton

Scholars Alum Turns Passion Into Career Path

When Sophia Burton first entered college, she had little idea what major she wanted to declare, much less what career she wanted to pursue.

“I never planned it out this way,” says Burton, who graduated from the University of Maryland (UMD) in 2007 and currently works on migration issues in Germany. “I’m not saying one shouldn’t have a plan, but for me it was never like, ‘I know I want to be an engineer or a lawyer.’”

Her lack of a plan, however, was made up for by a passion that even those with clear-cut career aspirations sometimes lack.

Robert Koulish on a panel from fall 2019

Justice and Legal Thought Scholars Director Robert Koulish (far right) spoke on immigration at three panels this spring, challenging students to consider the issue from new viewpoints. Here, he is pictured with fellow panelists from an event from fall 2018. PHOTO: Office of International Affairs

3 Theme Questions With... Robert Koulish

This year, for our 2018–19 annual theme, "Migrations: Populations and Practices on the Move," we have been asking our Scholars faculty and staff to share how they are connecting the theme to their respective programs. The first entry in this series, "3 Questions With..." was with Tim Knight, director of the Environment, Technology and Economy Scholars program.

Andy Shallal and Psche Williams-Forson on stage

Andy Shallal (left), the owner of Busboys and Poets and an Iraqi-American, spoke with University of Maryland American Studies Professor Psyche Williams-Forson on the power of food in bringing people together. Food has been a recurring theme in many migration tales.

Food Can Bring People Together, No Matter Your Culture, Says Busboys and Poets Owner

College Park Scholars kicked off the spring semester with a February dialogue event for students to share their own personal stories around our annual theme, “Migrations.” Many of the participants, as first- or second-generation Americans, spoke of their connections to their parents’ or grandparents’ cultures through food. They also referenced the emotional impacts their families’ respective migration stories had on their own lives.