So many majors, so little time to figure out the right one.

One massive shortcut is the annual Majors and Minors Fair. Sponsored by Academic Advising Initiatives, part of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the event on Oct. 11 brought representatives from more than 200 majors and minors to the Squires Commonwealth Ballroom to talk up everything from accounting to wildlife conservation.

We asked nine Hokies who repped their departments at the Majors and Minors Fair to tell us how they picked their major and what they want to do with it after they graduate. 

Lisa Small and Mia Wichmann at the Majors and Minors Fair
(From left) Lisa Small and Mia Wichmann. Photo by Melody Warnick for Virginia Tech.

Biological systems engineering

Lisa Small, senior from Williamsburg, and Mia Wichmann, junior from Wilmington, Delaware

How did you choose your major?

Small: My parents and my siblings are all civil engineers, but I really wanted a hands-on, research-based program that would put me outside of the classroom and doing more field work. I was always interested in doing engineering through an environmental lens, and biological systems engineering is great for students who are interested in addressing issues from climate change.

Wichmann: I did the C-Tech program for high school juniors and seniors who are interested in engineering, and that’s where I found out about this major. I really loved the whole biology focus. We have a small major so we're really able to connect with our professors.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

Wichmann: I did an internship last summer with a pharmaceutical company. I’m looking to go into that.

Small: I’ve already accepted a job offer from a company I did an internship for last summer. I’ll be doing stormwater engineering in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Renay Harris at the Majors and Minors Fair
Renay Harris

Cinema and theatre design

Renay Harris, senior from Lynchburg

How did you choose your major?

It started off as cinema. I've always loved films, but I knew that I wanted to be behind the scenes, and I wanted to make the costumes. Even when I was little I would design outfits and sew things together. I also do hair and makeup. I added the theatre design major because I realized that with cinema, a lot of times it's very realistic, and I wanted to make extravagant things — a big hat and poufy dresses that nobody could realistically walk in.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

The dream is to be in the film industry, doing hair and makeup and helping out with costumes. Next summer, I'm interning at the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg as one of their hair and makeup interns.

Thomas Newsome at the Majors and Minors Fair
Thomas Newsome


Thomas Newsome, senior from Fredericksburg

How did you choose your major?

Honestly, I chose geography because I've always loved maps. It's literally studying the world. The College of Natural Resources and Environment is a smaller college, and with this major you can build it to be whatever you're interested in. I’m doing a GIS minor, but geography has got to be one of the most flexible majors out there.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

I really want to work for the National Park Service and do things like interpretive work — just really working outdoors. As a GIS minor, making trail maps would be at the top of my list.

Annie Hunter and Maeleigh Moore at the Majors and Minors Fair
(From left) Maeleigh Moore and Annie Hunter


Maeleigh Moore, junior from South Riding, and Annie Hunter, senior from Warrenton

How did you choose your major? 

Hunter: Growing up, I liked creating things, and I always had a very entrepreneurial mindset, like doing yard sales and making my own products. Marketing combines those two paths. I get to be creative and a storyteller, but also have a practical business side. And people skills is the third piece, because I love being around people.

Moore: I picked marketing because I ended up blowing up on TikTok for birthday gifts that I made. I made a tutorial, and I got millions of views. My account grew from there to over 600,000 followers. Once COVID hit, I decided to monetize it by starting a prepackaged gift business. That's kind of how I went, “Wait, maybe I could actually do this as a career.” What I love about marketing is that you can combine creativity and analytics, and it also teaches you how to market yourself.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

Hunter: I'll be a brand analyst at Altria after I graduate.

Moore: Two career fields that I'm definitely looking toward are fashion marketing and sports marketing, which are kind of polar opposites. Maybe I'll end up in uniforms — that would be super cool.

Laura Solomon at the Majors and Minors Fair
Laura Solomon

Residential environments and design and property management

Laura Solomon, junior from Raleigh, North Carolina

How did you choose your major?

I had always loved interior design. So in high school, I researched interior design programs, and I liked that residential environments and design focused on residential design. Then my first semester I took a class in property management and I added that major. It really gives me both aspects of the housing industry.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

I did an internship with a kitchen and bath company after my freshman year. Last summer, I did an internship with a property management firm. My hope is to find a connection between the two, maybe something with real estate or home staging.

Lily Jo and Olivia Cox at the Majors and Minors Fair
(From left) Lily Jo and Olivia Cox


Lily Jo, sophomore from Vienna, and Olivia Cox, junior from Prince Frederick, Maryland

How did you choose your major?

Cox: I came in as a biology major, but my first semester I took Intro to Psych and fell in love with everything I was learning. So I switched into the major the spring semester of my freshman year. I also joined a psychology research lab that studies how parents can foster more positive development of social and emotional competencies as children grow. 

Jo: I originally wanted to pursue a music degree. Then I switched to thinking about business. But then my friend was talking about majoring in psychology and I was like, “That seems interesting.” I fell in love with it. I’ve really enjoyed taking the classes, and I'm also part of a research lab.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

Cox: I want to get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and continue researching how parenting styles or parental trauma affect child development. But I would also like to teach at a university or potentially have a therapy clinic.

Jo: As a minority, I really want to become a therapist to break stigmas around therapy and encourage people to receive the help that they need.

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