Peder Hopkins '17

Peder Hopkins '17

Major: History

Why did you choose to study history?

I chose to study history because I am interested in the historical conditions that brought about the society we live in today. Within history, there are many areas of interest that can be studied. I feel history is becoming more interdisciplinary, and can accommodate a vast array of academic fields. History helped direct my curiosity to a variety of subjects that I can research, analyze, and write about.

How do you feel Luther's history major stands out from other colleges?

Luther's history major is distinctive because it is at the core of the liberal arts education. The courses aim to develop and refine students abilities to think critically about history, and apply this thinking to contribute to a specific discussion about a certain historical field as the capstone project. After graduating, any history major from Luther will have the analytical and intellectual skills to understand historical issues that present themselves in the real world.

Has the program challenged you?

Luther's curriculum certainly challenged me over the years, and changed my way of thinking. The history courses are fascinating, and focus on developing critical reading and writing skills. Developing historical interpretation skills is essential to becoming a successful historian, and Luther's history curriculum is designed to do this.

Why did you choose a liberal arts education?

I chose to pursue a liberal arts education because I believe that it is essential to be a well-rounded, informed, and active participant in today's society. The thorough, in-depth, yet diverse curriculum Luther offers is one of the most valuable forms of education that college students can receive. Professors often lead small, discussion-based classes that expose students to diverse opinions. In doing so, students develop an open mind that is flexible enough to understand varying perspectives. Not only will students graduate with expertise in their own field, but they will also develop the skills necessary to reason through complex issues.

Have you studied abroad? If so, briefly describe this experience.

I studied abroad during my junior year as part of Luther's year-long program in Nottingham, UK. I was able to take courses with Luther professors that traveled with us, as well as courses at the University of Nottingham. I had the opportunity to play for the University of Nottingham's ultimate team, travel to 14 different countries in Europe, see the Acropolis, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Saint Charles Bridge, and witness the midnight sun in Norway.

What do you typically do on weekends while on campus?

During weekends on campus, I typically like going to on-campus events. The CFL, CFA, and a number of other buildings on campus serve as venues to visiting guest speakers and musicians. I also like exploring the outdoors during the weekends. Luther owns property that covers a wide variety of landscapes that include prairies, woods, bike trails, and ski trails, and provides access to the Upper Iowa River.

How do you usually get involved in the Decorah community?

I love downtown Decorah, and am a particularly big fan of the Pulpit Rock Brewing Company. I also enjoy shopping at the Oneota Co-op, and the several coffee shops around town. The farmer's market, which has food from all around the Decorah community, is also a fun place to go on Saturday mornings.

I transferred to Luther after my first year, and immediately felt like the campus and community were active, engaging, and a healthy fit for any student.

—Peder Hopkins '17