Hopping Fences: Liberal study helps students find opportunities outside their fields

A theatre arts major and an elementary education and music major both earned prestigious awards this spring. One student will use his scholarship to study theatre at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The other will spend a year teaching English in Japan.

That in itself may not surprise you. Nebraska Wesleyan students have a long history of winning awards that create opportunities like these. What is unexpected: It’s the elementary education and music major who’s headed to the Globe Theatre, and the theatre arts major who will teach kids in Japan.

Junior Ross Mumford of Elmwood, Neb., is in London for three weeks this summer studying Shakespeare thanks to an award from the Fulbright Commission’s American Institute for Foreign Study.

And Matthew Hegstrom (’12) of Fremont, Neb., received an award from the JET Programme (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program), which will fund a yearlong stint teaching English to students in Japan.

The theatre arts major said he pursued this opportunity to teach abroad in order to improve his intercultural communication skills and learn about the entertainment industry in Japan.

Mumford and Hegstrom’s crossover in interests and accomplishments is another positive byproduct of a liberal arts education at Nebraska Wesleyan University. It’s more proof that when you encourage broad study, experimentation and exploration across disciplines, you can expect the unexpected.