Not Your Typical Major

Jill Howard '19 talks about designing her own major

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Bookmark and Share
Jill Howard, UNH student, in Boston

If traditional majors don’t fulfill what you want, Jill Howard ’19 has some advice: Create your own. That's what she did.

“If you’re passionate about a cross-discipline major or something that traditional majors don’t fulfill, it’s worth it to design your own,” says Howard, who  designed her major in social innovation and enterprise. 

Howard's love for social innovation started back in high school; she was taking business courses and realized that she enjoyed the subject. Community service has also always been an important part of her life, so her major "utilizes business as a force for good and is the perfect combination of my two interests,” she says.

To be able to combine business and community service into her major was essential. For example, Howard explains how the company TOMS is involved with social innovation. TOMS is a one-for-one company that donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased. This type of work was exactly what she wanted to be involved with. During her senior year of high school, she conducted a year-long project researching the field of innovation and creating a business plan for a social enterprise that she created herself.

Taking charge of your future path is important for college students, and designing your own major is one big step in the right direction.

Initially, Howard wanted to major in marketing and management, but when she met the director of the Social Innovation and Enterprise Center, Fiona Wilson, she decided to go down the path of designing her own. She says she wanted to have complete control over her academics and to shape her college experience. 

Howard encourages other students not to be afraid to be different and not to subject themselves to a traditional major if it's not the right fit. Designing your own major takes a vast amount of creativity and proves that you have a vision for yourself. Taking charge of your future path is important for college students, and designing your own major is one big step in the right direction, she says.

The Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise provides students with opportunities to become more involved around campus. One opportunity that Howard has taken advantage of is Semester in the City. She wanted a taste of the 9 to 5 life before graduation, and since Semester in the City is a partnership with the Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise, it was perfect match. 

Howard spent the fall semester interning with the economic growth team at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce working on programs related to economic and racial equity initiatives. Her goal? To leave Boston with a stronger personal and professional network as well as enhanced knowledge and skills related to economic growth, community development and the social sector.  

Howard was recently profiled by Poets&Quants for Undergrads in their story about business schools that specialize in social innovation, "B-Schools That Help You Make Money AND Make a Difference."

Photographer: 
Jeremy Gasowski | Communications and Public Affairs | jeremy.gasowski@unh.edu | 603-862-4465