Gwyneth can’t get enough of her favorite things—education and travel. Learning and exploring various subjects and cultures has been her passion for as long as she can remember, and she has done extraordinary things to pursue both.
Talley waived traditional high school education to pursue her goals with the University of Nebraska High School. Before graduating in 2008, she devoured courses such as Multicultural Literature, Career Planning and American Government.
"UNHS really prepared me for entering university with these unique courses. The courses taught me critical thinking, and I engaged in a lot of writing exercises that later helped me during my undergraduate career."
Upon graduation, Talley attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where she successfully completed studies in five majors and three minors. Her majors included:
- Global Studies
- Medieval-Renaissance Studies
Her minors included:
- Language Studies
- Global Security Studies
When asked why she decided to take such an intense academic load, Talley has two answers.
“Many times I answer that it was because I had so many interests,” she said. “But part of the reason for choosing so many majors and minors was because people kept telling me I couldn’t do it. I set out to prove them wrong and had a blast learning so much in the process."
Not only did her high school and college studies increase her knowledge, they also introduced her to the world of travel. In 2005 she “caught her global travel bug” when she toured seven different countries in Western Europe with the Nebraska Ambassadors of Music.
In 2010 she studied in Morocco, which was her first introduction to a radically different culture. She says the trip had a profound impact on her as a student, person and future scholar. In 2012, she continued her language study in Germany and went back to Morocco for Arabic study and preliminary research.
Most recently, Gwyneth traveled to Libya for the Social Sciences in Libya Conference in late September. The conference was one way Libyans are trying to cooperatively improve their social sciences programs and research with help from their U.S. colleagues.
“Traveling during undergraduate was the linchpin to my success,” Gwyneth said. “I put my knowledge and languages to use in other countries and really learned with a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ perspective.
The travel allows me to speak from experience and comment about what I have observed. That kind of knowledge is priceless and lifelong."
Also in September, Gwyneth started the combined Master’s/Ph.D. program in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of California–Los Angeles. Through this program she will continue studying Arabic and conducting fieldwork in North Africa during the summers. Inspired by her time in Morocco, her research focuses on the participation of women in traditional and contemporary equestrian sports in North Africa and how it relates to national identity. This research combines her love of anthropology, travel and horseback riding, which is her favorite hobby.
Throughout her post-secondary education, Gwyneth has been thankful for the skills she gained through UNHS.
“UNHS gave me the freedom to develop the drive and motivation to move on to college,” Gwyneth said. “Time management and working individually were some skills I acquired while at UNHS, which really helped prepare me for college courses whether in the classroom or online."
One of her biggest suggestions to current or potential UNHS students is to not procrastinate—know when you’re most productive and use that time wisely.
However, she also says to explore.
"Make sure you balance your life with social activities and interests. Your interests help cushion the stress of school and, in my case, they played heavily into my graduate research and interests. Those individual interests can lead to many awesome and different experiences and acquaintances.
After all, variety is the spice of life!"