English literature major Shangé Purnell was chosen for the honor of carrying the Arts & Sciences college banner at this weekend’s graduation. Study abroad played an important part her Husky Experience and helped develop her exciting future goals.
Shangé plans to earn a doctorate in English literature and teach at the college level. Through this work, she wants to help increase diversity in published literary works. She says, “the highbrow elite have set what is highbrow literature – Shakespeare and other mostly white European authors. We’re starting to get more diversity, but it’s still very narrow, it’s still a Eurocentric perspective. I realize that being a U.S. citizen I have been conditioned to have a Eurocentric view, but I’d like to give view to the people of color in this world.”
Beyond serving as an officer in the Black Student Union and as a member of the Students for Diversity Coalition, Shangé also sought new perspectives and leadership experience through international learning. Her experiences studying abroad in the United Kingdom and Ghana with UW faculty-led programs were important in developing her goals and provided new insight into diversity issues. Particularly while in Ghana, where she tutored school-aged children, Shangé tried to see world through fresh eyes. “We tried to look at it from not just a Western perspective,” she says.
Scholarships from UW Global Opportunities supported Shangé’s study abroad experiences. She received the GO! Scholarship for her trip to the United Kingdom, and the Fritz Scholarship for the next summer’s program in Ghana.