In 2008, Samantha Niemann and her family traveled to Cedar City from Lancaster, California, in search of a home closer to her father’s oil rig. It was then as a young teenager that Niemann fell in love with the red rock mountains of southern Utah. Unfortunately, her father was injured and the family did not make the move to Cedar City that year. Devastated, Niemann set her heart on attending Southern Utah University and worked hard in high school and made that dream happen.
Niemann began her education at SUU as a business education major and then switched to accounting in her first year. Unsatisfied with accounting, Niemann realized that she needed to have a career that engaged her artistic ability and creativity.
Told all her life that a career in the arts needed business supplementation, Niemann kept her eyes open for an opportunity to integrate these two fields. Her academic advisor, Stephen Wagner, mentioned the possibility of applying for the bachelors of interdisciplinary studies program, an opportunity Niemann seized.
The BIS program allows students to build their own curriculum and prepare for multiple careers by studying several subjects at once. It also gives students a higher chance of graduating on time when compared to those who change their major several times rather than studying all of their interests at once.
Niemann explained that in order to major in interdisciplinary studies, you have to fill out an application and include all of the majors you’ve tried already.
“There is an application process because they want to make sure you’re pursuing a BIS degree because you know what you want to do, not because you don’t know what you want to do,” said Niemann.
The program typically involves choosing two emphases and balancing credits between them, but students can choose to have more emphases if it will be beneficial for them in their future career. With the intention of having a career in administration and marketing for a museum, Niemann chose to split her time between marketing, communication, art and art administration.
“I've never really fit into things in a cookie-cutter kind of way,” said Niemann. “I have always been a little different. It felt like the BIS program was made just for me because it made my undergraduate education just as different and unique as I am.”
After graduating with her BIS degree in 2017, Niemann continued her education at SUU in the fall of 2017 as a master’s student. She is currently studying professional communication but plans to apply for the masters of interdisciplinary studies program for the spring 2018 semester.
Following her master's degree, Niemann’s goal is to find a job in a museum and is willing to go wherever that may take her.Learn more about the Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies.