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Thrive at the


Thrive at the intersections of scientific probing and artistic flair. Of intellectual curiosity and serious fun. Of an idyllic campus and an urban setting.

At Union College, ideas and experiences converge in fascinating ways. A psychology student researches social media. A neuroscience major learns Chinese on a term abroad in Shanghai. And a mechanical engineer launches a start-up.


beyond majors

Neuroscience and film studies? Chinese and environmental policy? Theater and economics? Let the cross-pollination begin.

Get ready to think beyond mere majors. Union’s academic ecosystem pushes you to study everything that captures your interest. Exploring the overlap between subjects such as chemistry and history makes Union students stronger problem-solvers and creative thinkers.

Keilah Creedon ’14

Renaissance Woman

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Keilah Creedon

Keilah Creedon ’14

Renaissance woman

During her time at Union College, Keilah Creedon majored in both math and history, learned Swahili, researched contemporary slavery, played in a chamber music group and studied abroad. She also joined with French professor Charles Batson to perform a baroque dance where the movements create geometric patterns on the floor.

“I often use math and logic to pick up dance steps. Those parts of my brain seem to work together,” she says. “It makes for a very rich day when I move between math and history and dance. That’s what’s so great about Union.”

Her sophomore-year study abroad in Tanzania sparked an interest in Africa, and she won a Fulbright scholarship to teach in Kenya after graduation.

“My long-term plan is to return to East Africa and work in international education and dance therapy, ideally for a non-governmental organization on issues of contemporary slavery,” she says. “Union has transformed my dream for the future.”

Keilah Creedon

Victor Murphy ’15

Educational entrepreneur

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Victor Murphy

Victor Murphy ’15

Educational entrepreneur

Making connections is Victor Murphy’s specialty. His history and Africana studies major crosses into political science, economics and other fields. And his work with the African and Latino Alliance of Students (ALAS) links students with America’s rich cultural history.

“I didn’t really know my own history as an African-American,” he says. “In high school, Black History Month would roll around, and we’d study Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. But there is so much more to our story.”

Victor explored the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement in-depth through courses at Union. As president of ALAS, he planned all-campus events to teach fellow students about African-American and Latino traditions and history. And his senior thesis examines how Africana studies should be taught in public schools worldwide.

“My ultimate goal is to open a charter school in my hometown of Boston that teaches students essential history not typically found in today’s textbooks,” he says. “I’ve already met with the principal of a local middle school who said he will help me map out a business plan. I want to get started early building connections.”

Victor Murphy

What’s your mix?

You’re interested in so many things—why pick just one? Union students have been mixing it up since 1795! Start with a customized combo of majors and minors. Add in campus clubs and service activities. Then round things out with study abroad and internships.

Shanice Wilson '15 and Professor Amanuel meet for coffee

Who will inspire you?

Here’s the story:

A serious coffee drinker joins a physics professor’s research team. She uses a thermogravimetric analyzer to study the physics of coffee roasting. As a result, she may be smarter than Starbucks.

Shanice Wilson ’15: When I met Professor Amanuel, I thought he was so down-to-earth and interesting. I asked him, “Could I jump into any research project you’re doing?” He told me he was starting the coffee project. And I said, “Are you kidding? I love coffee. Let’s go.”

Professor Amanuel: We know that coffee beans contain water, but how much? Shanice measured the weight of the beans as they were roasted. She found that only about 15 percent of beans change in weight during roasting. That leaves an important question: how do you account for loss of energy during the roasting?

Shanice: We just wanted to know, “What does Starbucks do?” They roast the beans. But what do the coffee beans go through? What’s the chemistry and physics behind it?

Professor Amanuel: We presented our results at the American Chemical Society, and the chairperson got up and said, “That is cool. I’m going to go to my lab and repeat it.” This success is all because of my students and their enthusiasm for doing the work. Actually I have problems getting them out of the lab!

Shanice: I remember you having to say, ”Let’s go to lunch.” We get so involved and so invested that we lose track of time.

Union professors will champion your success. Our professors will know what drives you, how to challenge you in the classroom and where you want to go in life. See what other student/professor duos have accomplished in the classroom and beyond.

So what intrigues you?

Union provides grants, impressive labs and arts facilities, and personal guidance to help students launch their research dreams. During the annual Steinmetz Symposium, more than 400 students show off their work on subjects from the fragility of coral reefs to French horror films.

More about

Vibrant research in all fields and forms is woven into the Union curriculum. We’re tops among our peer schools when it comes to access, inspiration and opportunity. What are you driven to discover?

Xavier Capaldi ’16


Through his research on embryonic chicken hearts, physics major Xavier Capaldi has cracked thousands of eggs to harvest their yolks.

He’s studying how the heart transforms from a straight tube into a C shape and then into an S shape. He performs microscopic surgery by hand to locate the tiny hearts, then uses an atomic force microscope to measure their stiffness.

His research could someday be used to diagnose congenital heart defects in humans before they occur.

“Embryonic chicken hearts do look amazingly similar to embryonic human hearts,” he says. “It’s incredible to think that, at one time, I looked like a chicken.”

Xavier Capaldi in the lab

Marjorie Chee ’14

Vehicle Designer/Team Captain

Marjorie Chee led Union to top honors in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ human-powered vehicle challenge.

The mechanical engineering major and her team built Chester’s Chariot (named after President Chester Arthur, Union Class of 1848) and competed against schools from around the world. Union finished second in endurance and ninth overall.

“I did a lot of research before the team got started,” Marjorie says. “For example, I worked out calculations on how to optimize the gears so we could have a range of speeds. Our many safety features, along with our engineering analyses, give us confidence we could be highly competitive.”

Hundreds of members of the Union community got a close-up look at Chester’s Chariot during Steinmetz Symposium, the college’s annual research day.

Marjorie Chee

Kim Grinhaus ’15

Culture critic

When political science and psychology major Kim Grinhaus watches HBO’s “Girls,” she’s a critical scholar—not a couch potato.

The show is controversial for its honest portrayal of nudity and the struggles of young women trying to make it in New York City. Kim analyzed the controversy, reviewed statistics about pay gap and women in leadership, and created connections between the show and modern-day feminism.

“I wanted my research to be modern and relevant to me,” she says. “I’m a 20-year-old college student in a traditional college setting, so I'm starting to notice these double standards and expectations for women.”

Kim Grinhaus

Minerva Houses

Live, Learn & Lead Minerva Houses

Crafting thank you cards at the Minerva House

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Live, Learn & Lead

Union invented Minerva Houses to connect academic, social and cultural life. With activities ranging from Iron Chef competitions to poetry slams—and a homey vibe that makes you instantly comfortable—our Minervas have become models for colleges nationwide. Learn more about Minervas


In a Minerva House Living Room


Minerva Houses are your welcoming home base. Every student is a member of one of the seven Minervas. Some students live in the houses, while others come for the 500+ events or to just hang out with friends.


Students cook with a memeber of the community


These houses are named after Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, for a reason! You’ll meet well-known speakers, authors, artists and filmmakers and take some of your first-year classes here. And you’ll learn about the local community by teaching a cooking class or hosting a fundraiser.


Students standing in front of a Minerva calendar of events chalkboard


With a generous budget for each house’s academic and social programs, this is your chance to put your vision into action. Ballroom dance seminars, a Russian Red Party culture night, Hindi lessons and resumé workshops are already scheduled. So what do you want to organize?

Love it

Students posing for a group selfie

Love it

Make time for events that are pure fun, like poetry slams and jam sessions. There’s an “Iron Chef” cook-off, French Club crepe night, Japanimation film series, Great Gatsby gala, Cinco de Mayo fiesta and more.

Always think bigger

What makes Union grads stand apart?

Deep knowledge, keen self-awareness and independent thinking. The college’s combination of eye-opening global experiences, skill-building internships, and one-on-one academic and career advising makes Union alumni ready for rewarding lives.

Life After Union

Union alumni have become Nobel Prize and National Book Award winners, Olympic medalists, Hollywood movers and shakers, engineering and medical pioneers, and a U.S. president. They’ve also launched successful careers with companies ranging from Apple to Walt Disney Co. Check out how some recent grads and current students are leaving their mark.

Catherine Ziac ’14

Wall Street Professional

With the assistance of Union’s career center, “Cat” Ziac landed a junior year Morgan Stanley internship. Then she leveraged that into a job in New York City with Nomura Securities, an international bank. What gets her excited about finance?

“It is so intellectually stimulating. It sounds cyclical because the national jobs reports come out the first Friday of the month and every Tuesday there’s a Treasury Bill auction,” she says. “But there’s so much theory and unknown about products and how forces will affect the economy. Yesterday doesn’t dictate today. I like that.”

At Union, Cat majored in economics, wrote a blog, helped start a bakery, planned a pierogi festival, took drawing classes and analyzed Union admissions statistics as a research project. Like generations before her, her Union education made her adaptable, entrepreneurial and prepared for any challenge.

Where our grads work

  • CBS News
  • Deloitte Consulting
  • General Electric
  • Haiti Medical Education Project
  • IBM
  • Lego Systems
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center
  • Museum of Fine Art Boston
  • Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz
  • Siemens Corporation
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Teach for America
  • United Nations
  • Wall Street Journal
  • And more

Aleena Paul ’12 and Ajay Major ’12

Med students and publishers

Medical students Aleena Paul and Ajay Major founded in-Training, the first online magazine written for and by med students around the world. The pre-med duo caught the journalism bug working on Union’s student newspaper.

“After Union, we thought about establishing a student newspaper at Albany Med School,” Aleena says. “But we met a physician journalist at a conference in Atlanta who encouraged us to think bigger.”

Through Union’s Leadership in Medicine program, Aleena and Ajay earned MBAs enroute to their medical degrees. And with majors such as biology, sociology, chemistry and Spanish under their belts, they are equipped to face the changing world of healthcare.

Other graduate and professional schools

  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Georgetown University
  • Imperial College London
  • John Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Northwestern University
  • Parsons The New School for Design
  • Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • University of Michigan Law School

Cody Bellair ’16

Self-starting engineer

When Cody Bellair established a moving and storage company after his first year at Union, he got a crash course in creating a business plan, obtaining insurance, renting trucks, and mastering marketing and logistics.

Next up he had the gumption to apply for an internship outside of his mechanical engineering major. His job with Environment One, an international manufacturer, is in IT. After a career center counselor spoke with the hiring manager, the company hired Cody on the spot—and later extended his internship.

All of which brings Cody closer to his ultimate goal: working at Apple headquarters. It will be intensely competitive, but his Union experiences make him unafraid to try.

“I’ve become more confident at Union,” Cody says. “I think I could contribute something of value. At any rate, I’m up for the challenge.”

Where our students intern

  • Black Entertainment Television
  • The Clinton Foundation
  • The Colbert Report
  • FloDesign Wind Turbine Inc.
  • Goldman Sachs—Hong Kong
  • Los Angeles School on Wheels
  • NASA
  • National Museum of Dance
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Penguin Group
  • Reebok International
  • U.S. Senate
  • Yale Bioethics Institute
  • And more

Take the next step:

Visit Union

Learn more about tours and Open Houses