For junior Kaleigh Calisto, the selection of a major changed numerous times, beginning with photojournalism. But during her freshman year at IU, her American sign language course inspired her.
She was not able to study the language as a major, so she looked into the Individualized Major Program to create her own major: early intervention of deaf children.
Meanwhile, junior Jordan Goldklang entered the IU community as a music student but tended to amaze people between classes with his magic card tricks. People constantly told him he should major in magic, which put the idea in the back of his mind. By his sophomore year, Goldklang decided to initiate the idea seriously, and pursue a magic major through the IMP.
The IMP gives students the opportunity to create their own major to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences. Assistant Director Paul Aarstad said students with a 2.5 grade-point average and “initiative and passion for their major” are accepted into the program.
To create their majors, students are required to find a faculty sponsor to help them organize their curriculum, as well as partake in an admission interview.
Professor Michael Jackson, Calisto’s speech and hearing professor, is her faculty sponsor.
“When I decided to do it, he seemed like the natural person to pick,” Calisto said. “He’s deaf as well; therefore, I thought he was a good person to ask because he is on the other side of it.”
The process for Goldklang happened to easily fall into place for finding his faculty sponsors. His first sponsor is Professor Jeff Nelson, Goldklang’s French professor, who also happens to be a magician. A man who inspired Goldklang, his second faculty sponsor, is Rob Goldstone, who spoke to Goldklang’s robotics programming class.
“They both sort of appeared,” Goldklang said.
After finding faculty sponsors, students in IMP must create and complete tutorials that encompass their respective major and for the Bachelor of Arts. Students in the IMP can take advantage of any IU courses.
Calisto found this to be a benefit of the program because she “found classes that fit for (her), and (she) could also participate in independent study.” As an early intervention of deaf children major, Calisto takes classes within the School of Education, among others. She was able to intern at the St. Rita School for the Deaf, as well as create an independent study with her faculty sponsor.
Aside from taking cognitive psychology, cognitive science and theater classes, Goldklang was able to make his tutorial for a performance class, which is public speaking class focusing on magic. Designing his own tutorial, he is able to associate his work with the psychology department, magic and performance.
The IMP brought opportunities and benefits for Calisto and Goldklang.
“It’s definitely an open door opportunity for internships. ... You can also go to other places with your major and take advantage of everything available at IU and in the community,” Calisto said.
Opportunity also fell upon Goldklang when he was invited to speak about his major at the Gathering for Gardner convention for magic.
“Having the title (magic major) sparks interest in people, and it takes me places,” Goldklang said.
The numerous advantages generate heightened interest in the IMP, but Calisto highlighted the program’s driving force.
“Fascination pushed me to do it,” she said.