In four years at Washington College, Maureen Sentman ‘10 experienced all the benefits of a liberal arts education. A Political Science major and English minor, Maureen honed her skills in video editing, participated in a summer field school for archaeology, interned at the College’s Center for Environment & Society, and traveled to the Lake District of England to study Romantic poets at Kiplin Hall—among other things.
“That’s the great thing about this school—you have so much freedom to pursue what you want. When you put blinders up and only focus on one thing, you can’t learn as much as you want to. Universities don’t teach you that,” Maureen said.
As a freshman, she produced a documentary about sprawl on the Eastern Shore, an issue important to Maureen and her family.
“I hated video at first. It’s so tedious! You spend at least three minutes to get a three-second clip, and you might have hours of footage! But it’s worth it, because the final product is so accessible,” she said.
Maureen’s documentary went viral online and was picked up by regional nonprofits. It also helped her land an internship with the CES.
“I made videos advertising the College’s George Goes Green campaign. I tried to include more personal perspectives, to put it in context and make it more relevant to students instead of just saying ‘recycle,’” she said.
Maureen’s involvement with environmental issues continued when she participated in the summer archaeology field school.
“I was fascinated with the history and society of the Eastern Shore. We traveled everywhere, and I became really interested in the science of it,” she said.
Despite her passion for sustainability and conservation, Maureen declared a Political Science major with an English minor.
“I’m a book kid at heart. I was happier in my English and Poli Sci classes because I could tell more of the story—but in both concentrations, I focused on environmental issues,” she said.
After studying Romantic writers on the Kiplin Hall trip, Maureen realized she could still study the environment within the framework of the English department.
“It helped me become a stronger writer because I was a more engaged writer,” she said.
Having the freedom to incorporate all her interests into her studies helped Maureen broaden her understanding of those interests and passions.
“I could focus on it all in comparative politics—I ended every semester with a paper on natural resources, and focused my senior thesis on conservation issues in Latin America. I like the international approach, because when you look at things from a removed perspective, you learn more about your local surroundings,” she said.
Though her academic career focused on the environment, Maureen isn’t sure what direction her future will take.
“Originally I wanted to get into environmental law, but I interned with the family courts in my hometown and it opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t think would exist here,” she said.
Maureen plans to intern with family services again before enrolling in law school in 2011.
“I want to explore every area I can. Washington College taught me that you never know what you’re going to become really interested in, and you should never close yourself off to any experience. I’m entering the career world with that same perspective,” she said.