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An English Major’s World View

Nina Petry will spend her summer in New York as a financial services intern with Aberdeen Asset Management. The position might seem an unusual fit for an English major with an interest in contemporary literature.

“Aberdeen is a good finance company based in Scotland and they are very interested in the liberal arts model,” said Petry, a junior who is also working on a minor in finance.

Originally from Brazil, Petry is fluent in Portuguese, English and can “get by” in Spanish. She moved to the U.S. when she was 13 years old and attended high school in New York City. A college fair held at her high school was her first introduction to Ursinus. “I just had a gut feeling this was the college that I wanted to attend,” said Petry, who applied before stepping foot on campus. “I actually got my acceptance letter the same day I came to tour the campus. When I chose Ursinus, I knew I wanted to be in a small school. I loved New York City, and cities in general, but I wanted the full campus experience. There was a moment of clarity when I first heard of Ursinus. I immediately knew was the place for me, and I am not disappointed—after all, Ursinus has allowed me to be everything that I want to be.”

An avid reader, Petry wanted to pursue a degree in English. “In high school I was always interested in languages and liked to read,” said Petry, who enjoyed building a foundation in the classics. But during her three years as a student in the English department she has become more interested in contemporary literature.

“Nina is one of those students you wish you could clone!” said Associate Professor of English Rebecca Jaroff. “She is engaged, enthusiastic, smart as a whip, and loaded with common sense.  She seeks opportunities everywhere and has just about the sunniest disposition you could imagine. But don’t let that fool you, because Nina has a strong moral compass that guides her—she fights passionately for equal treatment and inclusion for everyone. Her contributions to Ursinus both in and out of the classroom help us to build a better, stronger community.”

Petry said she chose English because it is a good skills-based major. “It gives you a great tool box to work with,” said Petry. “You learn interpretation, reading and understanding, research and communication and writing – that’s huge.”

Patricia R. Schroeder, McClure Professor of English and Coordinator of American Studies, said Petry is always open to new experiences and new ideas. “She is always eager to share her views, but also frequently questions her peers to find out more about what they think and why they think it,” she said. “This fearless openness to experience and alternative perspective is one of the most charming things about her and—on top of her intellect, reading and writing skills, and work ethic—makes her one of the most engaged and engaging student I have worked with.”

Petry loves the small community feeling that is part of the Ursinus experience. She worked with friends to start the student group Feminists in Action. “It’s a group that creates a dialogue for all things regarding gender,” said Petry. The group will be holding a bake sale today to help educate the campus on differences in wages for men and women. “Nina is a very talented student,” said Paula Álvarez Tamés, the Study Abroad and International Student Advisor at Ursinus. “But more important, is that she is a great person able to spread her curiosity and passion for life.”