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12/21/2015

Milestone Reached as First Winthrop Student Graduates With New Individualized Studies Major

Quick Facts

 Ebony Wilkinson, a New York City native and the daughter of West Indian parents, graduated in December as the first Winthrop student to take advantage of the university’s new individualized studies major.
 After completing an internship at the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute in New York City, Wilkinson was offered a job there to work with young girls.

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Ebony Wilkinson
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Ebony Wilkinson made a crucial decision during her senior year at Winthrop University that has changed the trajectory for her life’s work.

After talking with her advisor, Wilkinson opted to change her major from exercise science to individualized studies with an emphasis on women’s issues.

Wilkinson, a New York City native and the daughter of West Indian parents, will graduate this month as the first Winthrop student to take advantage of the bachelor's degree in individualized studies. She spoke highly of the degree because it empowered her to design a major based on her passions and interests.

There is no program like this interdisciplinary degree at other universities in the region, according to Maria Clara Paulino, director of the Individualized Studies program.

Wilkinson put together a major based on women’s studies, psychology, exercise science and public health. She then applied successfully for an internship at the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute in New York City where she spent three semesters working with social media, recruitment and fundraising.

The institute, named for the late U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug of New York, has worked with young women and girls since 2005, to inspire, mentor and train them to become leaders in creating positive social and economic change. This semester, Wilkinson participated in several events at the United Nations that brought in girls from all over the world.

Now, the institute has offered her a full-time job as a program associate to work with adolescent girls. “This degree has helped open up doors for me,” Wilkinson said, “And has made me a more dynamic applicant.”

She anticipates attending graduate school in the next few years so she can further study non-profit management and how it can be applied to women’s issues.

Wilkinson came to Winthrop from a small boarding school in northern Georgia called Tallulah Falls School and fell in love with the inviting atmosphere. “Winthrop is a very welcoming place, and I felt like I became part of a big Eagle family,” she said, adding that there were only 23 students in her graduating high school class.

She described her time at Winthrop as “exciting, diverse and very dynamic.”

In her early years at Winthrop, Wilkinson said she was shy but has come out of her shell during her college years. “I’ve been given a chance to open up and blossom,” she said, adding that she’s proud to have a job in The Big Apple in what is a very competitive job environment.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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