Emily Sena '15

Following Her Interests

"I chose Luther because I wanted to explore and pursue my interests at a reasonable cost," Emily says.  At Luther, she studied piano and sang in several choirs. She also spent a J-term in Israel and the Palestinian territories and then spent the following spring semester in Jordan.

For three years, Emily was a research assistant for professor Pedro dos Santos in the Political Science Department. The faculty she interacted with at Luther were incredibly supportive of anything she wanted to pursue, she says. Through this support, she had the opportunity to conduct an independent study in the Arabic language.

Her Advice? Focus on Possibilities

“I believe there is too much emphasis placed on finding a ‘perfect’ school. College is marketed in a very dreamy way, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the admissions process and the first semester,” Emily says. While she does believe that some environments and programs are better suited for some people than others, she also believes that college is what you make it. Her biggest advice is to “relax and enjoy your first semester (or year), take time to figure out what you like and don’t like, and what options are available for you during your sophomore year and onward,” she says. “Focus on the possibilities rather than the ‘what-ifs.’”

Her Journey after Graduation

Emily’s study abroad experience in Jordan and the research she assisted with have been invaluable in her post-grad life. She is also grateful that the Career Center pointed her toward a Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) seminar during her senior year because it influenced her decision to move to Washington, D.C., after graduation. “Once I got out to D.C., the network of Luther alumni was invaluable,” she says. In D.C., Emily interned with PLEN and a large government services contractor, Engility. PLEN, which stands for the Public Leadership Education Network, is a nonprofit organization based in D.C. It offers a series of professional development and networking seminars aimed at encouraging more women to enter into under-represented fields. After her work in D.C., Emily moved to Amman, Jordan, to work under The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contract with a Jordanian company. She is a reporting specialist,  drafting and submitting the company’s quarterly and annual progress.