Helena Davila ‘16 wanted a major that was as broad as her interests. She arrived at Loyola Marymount University as an English major, but quickly switched gears, realizing she craved more varied subject matter. “My interests were broad enough that I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself into something specific,” said Davila, “I wanted to study art history, and I was also interested in literature, and I was also interested in language.”
The interdisciplinary nature of the humanities program is what initially drew Davila in. Humanities majors take courses in English, history, art history, theology, philosophy, and language, using multiple disciplines to study people and cultures. As her coursework evolved, she loved the way her classes weaved together and informed each other – French language and culture, European history and art history, colonialism and its impacts on African and Asian arts.
“My art history classes informed my history classes and my literature classes, and so on. It’s super interesting,” she said.
Studying traditional African art in one course and a traditional Indian theater in another, she discovered surprising parallels in the ways art expresses and relates to spirituality and culture. “It’s interesting to see the parallels and differences in spiritual beliefs, cultural practices, and arts across cultures,” Davila said. Her senior capstone project looks at the influences of non-Western arts and cultures on Western art.
Outside of class, she has taken on extracurriculars that relate to her interests in arts and culture – as vice president of the LMU Art Club, and cellist in the school orchestra.
Davila expects to graduate in December 2016, a semester early, and hopes to get a job in retail management. She is not yet sure where in business she will find her place, but she is confident that the critical thinking skills she honed as a humanities major will serve her well. “That skill – looking at a bunch of different elements and how they relate together and why – applies to so many different things,” she said. “That’s probably the biggest thing that I got from my major,” she said.