Senior Spotlight: Ali Odermann ’21

Over the next few weeks, CUGS will be celebrating members of the class of 2021 who have left a mark on Trinity College and those around them. We’ll be posting interviews with selected seniors as our Senior Spotlight series.

Meet Ali Odermann ’23, a senior Urban Studies Major from Lenexa, Kansas!

How would you describe your time as an Urban Studies major at Trinity?

“My time as an Urban Studies major has really given me the opportunity to explore multiple avenues of learning and education. One of the reasons I chose Urban Studies was because it was such a multidisciplinary area of study. I have taken classes in the Women, Gender and Sexuality department, the Hispanic Studies department, and the International Studies department; the list goes on; however, I always found it interesting that in all of these classes I could find parallels to Urban Studies.”

What type of research projects were you involved in with CUGS?

“My first research experience was working with the Liberal Arts Action Lab. I had the opportunity to work on the Parental Engagement team which focused on best practices to engage immigrant parents in the educational lives of their children. It was a really great chance to get to know the city of Hartford and the people that have chosen to live here.

Maybe not considered research, but in my sophomore year, I was fortunate enough to go to Zanzibar with Professor Garth Myers. We looked at how development on the island affected the environment, the economy, and the day-to-day lives of the people that resided there. It was honestly the greatest experience I had at Trinity.”

Which classes, instructors, or experiences particularly stand out for you and why?

“While it’s hard to pick a favorite, I would say the “Global Cities” class with Professor Myers. It was so interesting to look at cities across the globe and compare the ways in which economic, social, and political development took place. It felt like the culmination of all the classes I have taken while at Trinity.

I would have to say my favorite professor is Garth Myers. He has been my advisor since my first year at Trinity. Whether we are talking about the University of Kansas’ basketball team or talking about my upcoming thesis, it is always so nice to just be able and stop in and chat.”

What are your hopes and aspirations, post-graduation?

“My eventual goal is to attend law school or graduate school, but my more immediate goal is to find a job in the social justice field. I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that I get to stay in Hartford. I have really fallen in love with the city and the surrounding community, and I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon.”

What advice would you give future Urban Studies majors, based on your experiences in the department?

“The biggest piece of advice I could give any Urban Studies major is to talk to your professors, talk to your peers, talk to anyone that is involved in the department. One thing I have noticed about Urban Studies is how diverse a place CUGS actually is. Whether that be talking to Professor Gamble about cycling in Quito or discussing African urban development with Professor Myers, there is so much knowledge to be gained that they are so eager to talk with students about.”