Meet Nicholas Harmon

Photo Credit: Nicholas Harmon
November 13, 2020

Majors: English, Global Studies, Women's and Gender Studies
Minors: Asian Studies, History, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Japanese, Queer Studies
Year in school: Junior
Hometown: Gretna, NE

Why did you select your majors and minors? Were there any experiences that convinced you to declare?
I came into college with no idea what I wanted to do or even who I was as a person, but as I grew as an individual, I also learned to articulate and refine my passions and I found that I could reflect them in my studies—thus resulting in my amalgamation of majors and minors. It is also important to note that I would not be able to have the academic career that I do if not for the unconditional support and guidance of my academic advisors, honors advisors, and wonderful professors who have all so graciously worked with me!

What is your favorite course you have taken from your programs and why?
The instructor will make or break a class for me, so all of my favorite courses have incredible professors (in addition to my love of the course content!).

LGBTQ Lit and Film with Dr. Owen (Engl/Wmns 312) is one of my favorites because the community created in that class was so unique as I was continuously and unrelentingly accepted and welcomed, had an unprecedented amount of fun, and also contributed to the production of some of the most engaging academic discussions and literary analyses.

Any Japanese course with Prof. Nishihara is instantly the highlight of my day because she is so sweet, patient, and understanding as well as an incredible teacher which is exactly what anyone would want out of a language professor.

Similarly, I love any history course with Prof. Coble (he does many of the Asian history courses) because I feel like I'm being told a story that's easily comprehended—every aspect of his classes from the expectations to the content are clear and understandable.

I took Gender in Contemporary Society (Soci 200) my very first semester with Dr. Werum and the unwavering respect for her students and the material she taught absolutely blew me away. This course laid a strong foundation on which much of my college career in both the WGS program and similar courses have been built.

Have you had an internship/job? If so, please describe it and explain how your majors helped you with it:
Last spring I interned with the Programs in English as a Second Language here at UNL and I absolutely loved it! I got to work with international students in the intermediate and advanced TRACK classes within the department to help them strengthen their cultural competency and to articulate and master different complexities of the English language. As an English and Global Studies major, I felt more than prepared to aid the students in this way, but I was also able to draw on my experiences as a queer person and the academic knowledge I’ve gained through my WGS major to introduce students (many of them for the first time) to the queer community in America!

This semester I’ve worked as a Peer Connections Mentor and instructed a first-year POWER seminar—for an hour every week, I’ll teach a class of first-year students how to be successful in and make the most of their college experience. Last semester, I was graciously given the opportunity to lead my Honors Human Rights class by giving a lecture on the history of Japanese internment camps in America spanning throughout the course of WWII and fielding questions and I feel that this definitely is what prepared me the most!

Did you/are you going to study abroad? If so, describe the experience:
I definitely want to study abroad in Japan and I had planned on spending the Spring 2021 semester in Osaka, but COVID has forced me to make alternate plans and push my study abroad trip to sometime in the near future.

What are you involved in on campus?
I am a member of the English Student Advisory Board (ESAB) and, additionally, I’m a mentor within ESAB’s first-year English/Film Studies peer mentoring program. As a mentor, I get to work with a group of three first-year students to help them navigate not only the English and/or Film Studies major(s) and their accompanying requirements, but also to help make their college experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

I am currently serving as the secretary for the UNL branch of Medical students United with Neighbors across America (MUNA) which is a new RSO that was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of the Spring 2020 semester. We work with the families of immigrants and refugees here in Lincoln to create boxes of food and other necessities that are specially tailored to their needs in addition to actually building relationships with those communities and learning about their cultures!

I am in the University Honors Program and I have had many amazing opportunities to not only better myself, but also to work with like-minded students who’ve helped me become more academically successful and forge a strong sense of community at UNL. I attribute this largely to living in Neihardt my freshman year, but the many different honors seminars and workshops I’ve been able to take part in have also exposed me to a wide variety of Honors students who’ve played a large role in my success at UNL.

I am currently serving on the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Gender and Sexual Identities with a great group of undergrad and graduate students, faculty, and staff who are devoted to the betterment of gender and/or sexually diverse individuals’ experiences within and throughout UNL!

What are your plans after graduation?
In all honesty, I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing after graduation. I definitely want to continue my study of the Japanese language until I reach proficiency (I am well aware of the magnitude of this undertaking) so working or volunteering somewhere that allows me to use my Japanese would be ideal. I am also very interested in working with and/or for queer (particularly gender diverse) individuals as well as working within and/or for different immigrant and refugee populations, whether that be in America or abroad. I don’t expect to find the perfect opportunity that encompasses all of my specific interests, but the good thing about achieving such a diverse education is that I’ll have a wide array of opportunities to choose from!