Senior Profile: Nehali Patel

Senior ProfileSenior Nehali Patel is double majoring in English and Anthropology.

Why did you decide to become an English major?

I originally enrolled at UMD as a Biology major, but I quickly realized that I could not run from my destiny! Ever since I was a kid, I loved literature and writing, and I excelled in the subject throughout school. After a rough first year studying Biology, I decided to take the leap of faith and change my major to study something I really cared about. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

What clubs, campus groups, internships, outside of class projects have you been involved with?

I’ve been participating in the English Undergraduate Teaching Assistant program for 5 semesters now, which has been my pride and joy during my time at UMD. I’m also involved in Sigma Tau Delta, having served as the Vice President last semester, and President during our current crazy semester.

What has been your favorite class in English and why?

I have to give this title to Engl478O: The Body of Frankenstein with Dr. Orrin Wang. This class was part of our campus-wide celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s chilling work. We read pieces that inspired the text, and looked at its legacy in film and literature adaptations. I especially loved Young Frankenstein. But most importantly, I met my boyfriend in this class!

What is something you read during class that impacted your worldview?  

I read Dog-Heart by Diana McCaulay while TAing for Caribbean Literature with Dr. Merle Collins. This book shaped how I approach issues of race and class as it intersects with charity and human rights advocacy, especially in terms of education.

What skills (professional, creative or other) do you think you’ve gotten from the major?

I think I’ve gained the ability to articulate myself well both orally and in writing, which has helped me become a more confident person.

What is your dream job or career?

My dream job is working as an educator in programs that help minorities overcome the challenges of higher education. I want to do my part to help lift up and encourage people as they navigate college and career options.

What are you passionate about (or even curious about)?

I’m curious about my culture! I’m starting to learn more about Indian cultural traditions, Hinduism, and Indian history before British colonialism.

To you, what has been the most valuable part of the English degree?

The most valuable part of the English major is the faculty. We have brilliant, forward-thinking instructors who are passionate about their jobs, and I’ve found them all to be so helpful in my development as a student.