Following Passions While Pursuing Careers

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Drury University marks the third year of its Your Drury Fusion program in 2022. The unique program allows students to customize their learning experience by crafting a degree program at the intersection of their passions and their future career. And while the scope of a Your Drury Fusion degree is broader than that of a traditional degree, it takes the same amount of time and involves the same number of credits as a traditional degree. 

“What we envisioned was an academic program where a student would be able to have real experiences both developing professional skills and competencies and then combining that with exploring theoretical issues and their academic passions,” said Drury Provost Beth Harville. “What we initially wanted was a student being able to have a really strong academic major while they also earn credentials that support that major and help them be better prepared to enter either a career or graduate or professional school.”

A senior now, Kaitriana Powell-Smith started the Your Drury Fusion program at its inception in 2019 when she was a sophomore. “The program was a great way to individualize my education and make it more me and unique,” she said. Powell-Smith said the program allows her to pursue multiple passions like being a leader in the theater department while still majoring in biochemistry. “One of the great things about Drury, even outside the Fusion program, is that I’ve had so many opportunities to engage in both the arts and the sciences, and that’s pretty unique,” said Powell-Smith. This broadening of focus is hard to come by in a more traditional university setting where students pick a major and that becomes the main focus of their academic life. Ultimately, Powell-Smith will finish with a biochemistry major, a community health minor and a professional and visual communication certificate.

Harville mentioned that the program also includes hands-on, real-world experiences for students and that the pandemic really drove home the importance of this facet of the program. “What we found, particularly as we’ve gone through this pandemic, is that these educational experiences have been far more important to students than we had originally anticipated.”

Harville said the pandemic really highlighted some skill sets future leaders should possess in order to grapple with the complex problems facing the world. “What we’ve really seen is that leaders need to be able to engage with complex problems by looking through a multitude of lenses,” she said, citing the example of the pandemic and how it is necessary to view it not only through the lens of science and health but also those of economics and social justice. “It takes someone who really has the capacity to take all those important things into account and that’s what we’re doing with Your Drury Fusion. We want you to take a strong academic focus, but we know that’s not enough. What we’ve found is that as our students move through the program they are being educated really broadly and they’re thinking more deeply about problems and issues that they need to address.” 

With an eye to the future Powell-Smith said that she’s certain the experience of the Your Drury Fusion program will make her stand out when applying to graduate school or meeting potential employers. “It is such a unique program and I’ve gained so many skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I’ve gained communications skills, creativity, problem-solving skills and made so many relationships that will last beyond college. I don’t know what other school would allow me to continue to pursue my love for the arts at the same level as my passion for science.”

Drury University will host a showcase for the Your Drury Fusion program April 28, 2022. The showcase will be open to the public. 

900 North Benton Avenue

Springfield, MO 65802

417.873.7879

www.drury.edu/admission