Aliya Sarris '23

Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Spanish Majors

Three majors: Political science. Women’s and gender studies. Spanish. And a minor in international affairs. Aliya Sarris ‘23 is as passionate about one as she is the others.

Of her political science studies Sarris says, “I’ve been able to not only explore a variety of issues, but also develop the tools to critically analyze any problem that I will face in the future.”

Women’s and gender studies has allowed her to “learn about the experiences and identities that make us all human — no matter how complex or flawed they may be. It has been such a beautiful, eye-opening experience.”

And the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures is, Sarris says, “one that teaches students that valuing interculturality and striving to become a lifelong language learner are strengths that will open so many doors, both professionally and personally.”

It was in an advanced Spanish class during her freshmen year that Sarris met Holly Cashman, professor of Spanish and a core faculty member in women’s and gender studies. “She has been a teacher, mentor, advisor and friend in the past three years,” Sarris says, noting that she was a research apprentice for Cashman for the Seacoast NH LGBTQ+ Oral History Project during the summer of 2020.

Sarris chose to come to UNH because of the financial assistance she received. She credits that aid with helping fulfill her dream of studying abroad.

“Living and going to school in a different country is such a unique experience that strengthened my language and intercultural skills,” she says. “I would not have been able to go abroad without the financial support that UNH gave to me.”

In addition to studying abroad, Sarris participated in the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research’s Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program and in the B Impact Clinic, which has students working with area businesses to assess their social and environmental impact. She also had a Sustainability Fellowship, and spent a semester attending the Washington Center in Washington, D.C.

“The College of Liberal Arts has allowed me to pursue so many of my interests, all of which have attributed to the diverse skill set that I have gained through both my academic and extra-curricular endeavors,” Sarris says.