A junior Spanish major with an international studies concentration from Middle Ridge, Wis.
Even though the scope of the University of Dallas seems pretty small — there’s a reason we’ve self-diagnosed ourselves with “the Bubble” — our areas of study reach far and wide away from our little sphere. From the newly formed Latin American studies concentration to our Rome program, UD offers glimpses into many different cultures and walks of life, and the students have proved their interest in them.
Junior Clare Slattery, as a Spanish major with an international studies concentration, an admissions office worker, a Spanish tutor, the Student Government Secretary, and attendee of the UD Rome program, keeps herself busy, widening her horizons.
“The great part about junior year is that I’m at the point where I’m able to be involved in all of the things I had hoped to be as a freshman,” Slattery said.
She attributes her extensive involvement with the UD community to her love of communication.“I’m really passionate about communicating with people,” Slattery said. “The amazing thing about my major is that, by specializing in a language like Spanish, I’m able to connect with around 23 other countries worth of people, and I have the ability to connect with them personally and learn their traditions and their stories.
“Obviously, being a tutor helps me improve my Spanish skills because I have to be on top of my grammar game in order to be able to teach others.
“Working with Admissions is all about communication skills, not just on a basic linguistic level but on a very personal level — you have to be able to make a person feel comfortable, get to know them, be a welcoming presence.”
Her work with Student Government (SG) has much more to do with her people skills than with her political interest.
“It’s funny, having been involved in SG since freshman year because a lot of people assume that I’m a politics major, but really, I do SG because I’m passionate about advocating for the people around me,” Slattery said. “I love it when people come to me with their concerns and I can tell them that I have very concrete things I can do to help them. I love speaking with the administration and being able to represent UD students and explain our unique needs and strengths. Really I just love people, whether they speak English or Spanish, so I try to find as many ways as I can to reach out and stay connected.”
The agricultural interest of Spanish-speaking countries lends itself perfectly to both Slattery’s work ethic and upbringing. As the daughter of a farmer in Wisconsin, Slattery spent her childhood eating food grown in her own backyard.
“My dad grew up in total suburbia and worked as a journalist, but he raised us all in a big old farmhouse in rural Wisconsin, and when I was five, he made the decision to switch to farming full time,” Slattery said. “My father really sees the beauty in small-scale, family farms — no pesticides, no huge machinery — it’s just him and the land. It’s not the most lucrative business, but there’s something really comforting and wholesome in knowing exactly where your food came from. Most of the food we eat on a given summer day was raised in our fields.”
Even though Slattery is the self-proclaimed “worst farmhand of the family,” and her future will definitely not be spent on a farm, she has a deep appreciation for the work ethic and philosophy behind it.
“My dad is 67 and still wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning, heads out to the field, and cultivates his crops,” Slattery said. “It’s pretty dope.”
Instead, Clare will likely be traveling internationally post-grad and experiencing the new cultures that she’s studied at UD.
“I worked at an orphanage in Peru for the summer, which got me really passionate about non-profit work and Latin America in general,” Slattery said. “There [is] such a diversity of cultures to be explored there, so I definitely plan on going back post-grad and working in the nonprofit sector. I’d love to get to Mexico at some point, but Cuba is also high on the bucket list for me. In general, I just love to travel, so you’ll likely find me somewhere internationally.”
Even though Clare has dreams of traveling far and wide — as UD’s curriculum aims to foster — she still maintains the communal love for the “beautiful beige-y Irving campus.” Between the caf’s nachos, the comradery built in Rome, the mind-opening classes and the wacky traditions that we carry out each year, something “really, really beautiful” is formed.
“[UD has] opened up my eyes to what truth and beauty really are at their core — no pun intended — and I get to do it all with the greatest people by my side,” Slattery said.