Meet Graduate Student Ambassador Morgan Haller
"Whenever people ask me, 'Why Villanova?' I say incredible faculty and a sincere commitment to student support and success. Villanova is the place where dreams come true. It's where hard work pays off, and you can become a better version of yourself through constant growth."
Describe your interest in your academic program and what you hope to gain from it.
The faculty within Villanova's history department was a big pull for me. All are distinguished historians within their respective historical communities and phenomenal professors— I'm in my last year and have enjoyed every course I've taken! Along with gaining a thorough understanding of understanding the intricacies of studying history, I hope to further delve into my United States concentration, as well as explore women, gender and underrepresented peoples within that historical context. I endeavor to emerge from my program as a well-rounded historian ready to embark on the next stage of my studies: a PhD.
What is your favorite course you’ve taken so far? If you are in your first year, what course are you most looking forward to in your program? Why?
It's so hard for me to pick a favorite class when all of them have been exciting in their own way. I'd have to say as of right now it's a tie! My course on Greco-Roman plagues with Dr. Gettel was something I enjoyed immensely, especially because it falls outside my concentration. However, my current course, American Society in the Colonial Era to 1750 with Dr. Mansfield, touches on such a wide array of fascinating topics— from facing East in Native American history to gender and authority within the Salem Witch trials!
What are a few things you would like to share with prospective students regarding the Villanova student experience?
The Villanova community has been a very welcome place for me. I have not only found support from my peers and my department, but also from the Graduate Program as a whole. People here— from staff to faculty and fellow students within your program— want you to be successful! I also think it is very important to take charge and get involved on campus. If you make an effort, you will definitely find your place here.
How do you maintain a good school/life balance?
Planning ahead, even if you need to take an hour to get your next few weeks in order with readings and papers. Also, recognizing that it's ok to put your coursework down and just relax sometimes. Try not to give up things that make you relax— hobbies like reading or exercising are crucial for your mental health! One tip I learned that helps immensely is to just try and do a little bit every day, whether that is a paper you're writing, or a book you need to finish within a week.
If you’re living around Villanova, what are one to two “must do” experiences you would suggest to students new to Villanova and the surrounding area including Philadelphia? (Restaurants to eat, be...)
Go thrifting! There are a ton of great spots close by campus, and in the city too! My go to spot is just around the corner in Ardmore called Clothes Mentor, but if you're ever in the city go and explore South Street! The Raxx Vintage Thrift has some really unique pieces, and cool knick-knacks to pour through. I collect old pictures, and they never disappoint! If you're into plants, Pretty Green Terrariums is just up the street and has a ton to choose from, including a "build your own" terrarium section!
Describe what it means to be a graduate student at Villanova. In other words, why Villanova?
As soon as I stepped onto campus for a tour it just felt right. There was this atmosphere that wasn't present and couldn't be replicated at any of the other schools I was considering. Now that I'm here, I can confidently say that everyone from my professors to the staff, to my fellow students is amazing. It truly feels like I'm a part of something special— it's an awesome graduate community to be in!