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A closer look at three individualized majors


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Parker Jameson Weidner is a sophomore majoring in the art of metal music. Before discovering IU’s Individualized Major Program, Weidner wasn’t sure he wanted to attend college at all.

“I honestly did not want to study anything, and college seemed ridiculous to me,” he said. “Then I read up on the IMP, and when I learned I could major in practically anything I wanted to study, I knew I could seriously pursue my passion for metal music.” 

He takes classes in the music department, as well as classes on the Scandinavian and Baltic states in an effort to understand the culture of the places that a lot influential metal comes from.

His sponsors are Andrew Hopson from the theater department and Andrew Hollinden from the Jacobs School of Music. He said he hopes to add Mark Deuze from the telecommunications department as a sponsor soon.

“Your work with them can be as personal as you need it to be,” he said of his sponsors. “If you’re stuck with studies or don’t know what direction to go in, they’re there to help you along.”

Sydney Hoover is a senior majoring in primate behavior and ecology. She decided on this major after having a lifelong fascination with monkeys and apes and their similarities to humans.

“My mom used to call me Sydney Hoover, M.D. – monkey doctor – as a child so I had to pursue her dreams and become Sydney Hoover, M.D.,” she said.

To get a degree in this field, Hoover takes classes in the anthropology, biology, psychology and animal behavior departments. Her sponsor in the program is Kevin Hunt, a professor in the anthropology department, and he has helped her decide which classes to take and what steps she needs to take toward her final project. Hoover is also contemplating doing field studies in South America.

Amber Wolverton is a junior majoring in forensic pathology, a profession that her mother introduced her to when she was in the sixth grade.

“She described it as the performance of autopsies by doctors on the deceased in order to determine how they died,” Wolverton said. “To me, it sounded so different and graphic and morbid, and I loved it.”

She takes classes in chemistry, biology, anatomy and criminology, and has also taken courses on death and human disease. Her sponsor is Cathrine Reck of the chemistry department, who she said has been instrumental in helping her shape her program.

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Primate behavior and ecology Buy Photos
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The art of metal music Buy Photos

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