Alison Burns in front of a high school

Broadcast journalist Alison Burns will be taking on the position of interim program director of the Media, Self and Society Scholars program while Director Kalyani Chadha is on leave.

Journalist Alison Burns Appointed Interim Director of Media, Self and Society Scholars

Broadcast journalist Alison Burns has been appointed interim director of College Park Scholars’ Media, Self and Society program. She takes over from Kalyani Chadha, who will be on leave during the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 academic years. Burns’ appointment was made by the University of Maryland (UMD) Philip Merrill College of Journalism, which sponsors the Media, Self and Society Scholars program.

Students looks at wall of sticky notes

Scholars' 2018–19 theme of "Migrations" mirrored the university-wide "Year of Immigration" initiative and showed students the breadth of issues related to this topic. Here, a Scholars student looks at the comments left by other students in response to a film screening of "Salam Neighbor."

8 Lessons Learned From Migrations Stories

College Park Scholars has been coordinating an annual theme for four years—starting with “Trash: The Problem of Waste in Our Lives and Our World” in the fall of 2015. The annual theme gives our students, who tend to spend most of their Scholars classroom time within their individual programs, an opportunity to interact across programs.

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.