Can you merge your passion with your career path? Laney Dunn did just that.

Changing your major once can be overwhelming to think about. But, how about having a different major for every year you’ve been in school? Laney Dunn, a junior English major, has had this exact experience. From Political Science to Communications to English, she’s figured out a way to turn her passion into her career path.

Laney is an English major from Killingly, Connecticut who started her journey at UConn in the fall of 2021 as an honors student in the Special Program in Law. During her freshman year, Laney was a political science major and took courses within the special program in Law curriculum. In this program students are connected with the UConn School of Law and participating in the program ultimately leads to dual degrees: a BA/BS and Juris Doctor (JD).  After taking a few courses and attending events held for students in the program, Laney realized that it wasn’t for her: “I knew the money would be there, but it wouldn’t make me happy.”

So, for her sophomore year, Laney made the decision to switch to a major in Communications with a minor in Political Science. Her experience completing occasional projects at her mother’s marketing company ignited her passion for the marketing and communications industries. At the time, she was also the Public Relations chair and Secretary for her a capella group, Drop the Bass, and found enjoyment in creating posts and managing the group’s communications. While the courses she took were interesting and she loved the number of potential paths, Laney still wasn’t sure she had found her fit.

“I really get more satisfaction out of zooming in on something, getting really specific in my studies, and working towards becoming an expert in a certain topic.”

After some self-reflection, Laney realized what she knew all along: she wanted to be a high school English teacher. Originally, she had wanted to follow that career path when she graduated high school herself, but was encouraged to give Political Science and Law a try. Thinking about changing her major for a third time was overwhelming, but nothing would stop her from following her passion.

A voracious reader, Laney shared that she always has a book with her. After a night of completing her assigned class readings, she puts one book down and picks up another. A past camp counseling job introduced Laney to working with children which prompted her to think about teaching, and becoming a high school teacher was the natural fit by combining her love of reading with working with children. While high school students are older than the children she worked with as a camp counselor, Laney shared that she loves diving into more technical aspects of English and analyzing small details.

Her time so far at UConn has helped her to develop important skills such as leadership and communication that will be integral to being a future educator. After fulfilling the roles of PR Chair and Secretary, Laney was elected as President for Drop the Bass for the 2023-24 academic year and described her experience as very meaningful. One thing that she learned from being an organization leader was:

“When you gain all those new responsibilities, it can be easy to forget the people that you have the responsibility for… Don’t forget to put a focus on the members, rather than the tasks that need to get done.”

Now at the end of her junior year, Laney is working towards her B.A. in English with a minor in Communications and plans on applying for the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG) at UConn in the fall of her senior year. The TCPCG extends over three consecutive semesters (Summer, Fall and Spring) and students leave with their Connecticut Teacher Certification and a Master of Arts degree in just 10 months!

Exploring and changing your major can seem scary, but in Laney’s experience it helped her discover a career she was passionate about. If you’re thinking about changing your major or just want to see what career paths you might be interested in, make a career coaching appointment at the Center for Career Development!

By Lily Guberman
Lily Guberman Marketing Assistant