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Liberal Arts Living: Margaret Portmann ’19

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Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The beauty of a liberal arts college is that students are not only able to try their hand in different disciplines, but they are encouraged to do so. Junior English major and marketing minor Margaret Portmann embodies the essence of Westminster’s liberal arts curriculum by letting her different interests complement one another.

Name it, and Margaret is probably involved in some way. She is a residence assistant, English desk operator, percussionist in the jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, captain in the marching band, an active member of Sigma Tau Delta, Mortar Board and sometimes a helping hand in the theater department. She even finds time to expand her musical passion by playing at independent gigs with different bands. 

“Because drums are my life blood, it only made sense that I continue [playing],” she said.  “If I’m not studying English or doing marketing, I have to have some sort of creative output, and I think that music is similar to how your head has to work whenever you write papers.”

As if her involvement with music and her major aren’t enough to keep her engaged on campus, Margaret is currently taking advantage of another campus opportunity outside of her discipline. She interns for Dr. Russell Martin, professor of history and editor in the chief of the Canadian-American Slavic Studies Journal, where she helps edit authors’ articles to go into the journal.

In addition to her many opportunities to grow at Westmister, Margaret says that the Westminster’s intimate community has enabled her to make connections with her professors so that she may receive the hands-on experience she needs to progress professionally.

“The intimacy is good from the professors, and I think that you can find ways to challenge yourself, and the professors are really good about accommodating that,” Margaret said. “You truly do get out what you put in, and Westminster gives you a good chance to do that.”

Living by the Nelson Mandela quote, “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” Margaret looks forward to expanding her English research through her capstone thesis even though she knows it will be anything but easy.

“Every time I have an assignment I think, ‘How am I going to finish 60 pages worth of papers,’ but then you do it and you realize that you really did,” she said.  “I’m proud of myself for that, and I just want to continue to push myself.”

Written by Megan Simpson