The following article includes excerpts from Emory Magazine. Profiles by Roger Slavins. Photography by Kay Hinton and Sarah Woods.
Renowned for their love of exploration, Emory Students often dive into a diverse and divergent range of subjects—a spirit ardently supported by the university. It’s not uncommon for them to embrace dual majors that might seem worlds apart. Think biology matched with art history and business partnered with dance. Such combinations often go far beyond conventional intersections and career paths, reflecting journeys driven by passion, purpose and personal growth. In the profiles to come, meet five extraordinary Emory students who each balance a unique blend of interests that have ignited their academic pursuits in unexpected ways.
Nyah Bruce 24BBA
Double Major | Creative Writing & Business
Nyah Bruce had her mind set on studying business at Emory. But soon after coming to the university, she saw many of her classmates working on double majors. Bruce had a little flexibility in her schedule, so she decided to explore her options and get as much out of her academic experience as possible. She tried Spanish. Then sociology. And then the third time was the charm as she took an introductory fiction writing class from visiting creative writing fellow Cassie Gonzales.
“I had written a little in high school, so I expected to enjoy the class,” Bruce says. “But I loved it so much, I found myself rushing to complete the assignments outside of class.” She declared her double major in creative writing that semester. Since then she has taken two writing classes from professor and author Tiphanie Yanique. “Anything she teaches, I wanted to take it,” Bruce says. She’s also had classes with author Tayari Jones and poet Nick Sturm, two additional members of Emory’s renowned creative writing faculty.
My business knowledge helps me add structure to my writing, and my improving writing skills help me become a better business communicator.
Simultaneously, Bruce has been indulging a completely different side of her brain and personality at Goizueta Business School. “I love my business classes in marketing and organizational management, too, but they are very different, very analytical,” she says. Bruce is finding out that her double majors complement each other very well. “My business knowledge helps me add structure to my writing, and my improving writing skills help me become a better business communicator,” she says. “Also, the students in both fields of study offer very different perspectives and I’ve grown from being around such a diverse group of people. In the writing world, in particular, I’ve learned a lot about empathy and its importance in storytelling. Conversely, in business, the analytical skills I’ve developed help me be a better creative problem solver.”
Both majors will suit her well as she plans to graduate next spring and head to New York City, where she’s already landed a consulting job with McKinsey. “Long-term, I see my career being focused in marketing, where I can really pull from both my creative writing and business background,” Bruce says. “And maybe someday I’ll write that novel or book of short stories.”
Bibby Agbabiaka 24BBA
Double Major | Dance & Business
Bibby Agbabiaka well knows that many don’t consider dance as practical a pursuit as, say, business. However, it’s a passion that he cannot deny. “While it’s true that it’s hard to make a stable living in dance, it is not impossible,” Agbabiaka says. He’s been interested in the performing arts, mainly as a theater kid and actor, since he was a child growing up in Nigeria. “I really thought I was going to major in theater at Emory,” he says. “After all, I had only been dancing for a few years before I came here.”
But because the arts at Emory are so interconnected, he wound up taking a few dance classes and immediately knew this is what he wanted to study instead. “The dance program is so amazing and the faculty have been so supportive,” Agbabiaka says. In addition to his classes, he joined the TNT (TrickaNomeTry) hip-hop dance crew where his talents soared—as did his leadership skills.
I started to understand how the skills I was learning in both my dance and business classes weren’t as far apart. Both require great communication and teamwork skills.
Yet in the back of his mind, he felt like he needed something else to solidify his career path. He declared a double major in business, with a focus on marketing, so that he could augment his appeal to dance companies and arts organizations. After he started adding business classes, Agbabiaka felt at first like his mind was pulling him in two different directions. “But the more classes I took, I started to understand how the skills I was learning in both my dance and businesses classes weren’t as far apart as I initially believed,” he says. “Both require great communication and teamwork skills. I learned not only how to let my voice be heard, but also to hear other people’s voices.”
Now a senior, he feels like the two areas of study have come together in exciting ways. “I have a better sense of my own identity, and it’s not tearing me apart anymore. I feel like my whole self,” Agbabiaka says. “The dance courses at Emory have helped me to fully explore and surpass the furthest bounds of my creativity. They encourage me to create and innovate. My business courses, on the other hand, have taught me how to apply structure and planning in my everyday life. They also help me to better collaborate with others on big or small projects.” Agbabiaka hopes to find an internship this academic year. When he graduates this spring, he will follow his dream to become a professional dancer.
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