Sumona Gupta is one of this year’s Dean’s Award of Merit winners. A senior from Tuscaloosa, Sumona is majoring in socio-legal studies through New College and minoring in English.
What has been your favorite experience?
My favorite experience has been working with fellow students to organize events on campus or for the greater Tuscaloosa community. With clubs like the WGRC Student Leadership Council, we’ve organized fundraisers for local women’s shelters and worked with local high schoolers. Last semester, I helped my classmates organized a panel discussion on immigration law in Alabama. It wasn’t required for the class, but because we were all so interested in the topic, we decided to hold the event for others who would like to learn more. Because I’m from Tuscaloosa, it has been great to work with all members of the community, on campus and off.
What made you choose UA?
I grew up near UA, so it was always going to be one of my top choices for college. One of the things that drew me most was New College, the interdisciplinary degree program I’m in now. It allowed me the freedom to create my own major and integrate independent studies with my classes. I also got a lot of individualized support and advice from my advisor. A lot of people don’t know that UA has one of the longest-running interdisciplinary programs in the South ‚ and New College is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year!
What advice would you give to incoming students?
This has been a rough semester, but once it’s safe to interact with other people again, I’d recommend looking for extracurricular activities and clubs to join. UA is such a large university that you will definitely find something outside of classes to get involved in. If you can, try to reach out and work with groups outside of campus as well.