Name: Hayley Burke

Graduation Year: 2015

Hometown: Chino Hills, CA

Major: Sociology

Student Activities: Writing Center Tutor, Teaching and Learning Institute Consultant, Admissions Tour Guide, and Customs Committee.

As a sophomore, Hayley Burke ’15 participated in the Women in Walled Communities 360° course cluster that combined English, education, and sociology classes around the core idea of women in the institutions of school and prison. This cluster of classes, along with her Emily Balch Seminar, acted as a springboard for her to pursue a social work degree and consider working with the incarcerated population as a possible future career.

“It was huge for confidence building,” says Hayley. “We talked about tough issues like gender and privilege, so feeling confident to be able to discuss these subjects was something I gained from the 360°. Just being in a community with 15 other women who felt passionately about this topic was a great support system.”

Stepping Up: At the end of the 360°, I completed a project obtaining book donations to drop off at a prison. I emailed my professors saying that it felt disconnected and what if we donated the books, but also lead a book group. They said, ‘Great! I love it! Let’s try and make this work!’ They helped me get the program off the ground.

The Book Group: As part of my Praxis 3, every week I go into Riverside Correctional Facility, which is a women’s prison, and myself, two professors, and a couple other students conduct a reading group with the women. We read books around subjects like family, education, gender, power, and other hard topics and the women embrace it. We are able to find this great common ground.

Possible Future Career: In terms of an internship that’s supposed to allow you to see what you want to do in the future, it’s definitely succeeded. It’s been a beautiful experience and now I’m thinking about incarcerated women and the future as I pursue my social work degree.

Combined Social Work Degree: I was interested in going into social work, so I asked my Dean if there was any precedent of students doing a combined degree program with the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Now, a year later, I’ve actually been green lighted to do this combined program. In five years total I’ll have my A.B. in sociology and my M.S.W.

Looking Towards the Future: It’s exciting because this is what I want to do with my future so being able to do them at Bryn Mawr, which is a place that I really love, but also save time and money is incredibly helpful.

Deciding on a Major: I came into college thinking that I wanted to major in psychology. I couldn’t fit the introduction course into my first semester, so I thought I would try Urban Sociology. I fell in love with the discipline.

Memorable Moments: It was early on in the semester, but I remember confirming what amazing women I attend college with in those moments on the floor in our dorm hallway, sitting around a pizza talking about anything and everything. I was in a place where I felt the people around me were dynamic, supportive, and wonderful. That was what I wanted out of my college experience.