Combining Passions With a Double Major

Erin Lyons

Erin Lyons, RWU Class of 2016

Majors:  Communication & Media Studies + Dance/Performance

When double majoring in different academic areas, finding two that complement one another is easier than you might think. Take Erin Lyons ’16, for example. The Lynbrook, N.Y., resident has been combining her passions for dance and travel, thanks to her double major, in a way she never would have imagined before coming to Roger Williams University.

Lyons, who has always been very passionate about dance, also knew she wanted to explore more than just one major in college. Fortunately, an RWU education offers a unique blend of traditional liberal arts with professional training. Students get to study what they love, while getting project-based learning and professional preparation opportunities in and out of the classroom. For Lyons, that blend was dance/performance studies and global communications majors.

“Double majoring has been very beneficial,” Lyons said. “I think it’s really important to not have all of your focuses going to one subject and really broadening your horizons, because you never know where your interests may lie.”

Taking advantage of all the opportunities available at RWU is another key way to broaden your horizons. Lyons studied abroad for a semester in London with RWU’s theatre program, which stoked her yearning to travel even more after graduation. Along with being an avid traveller, Lyons works as an operations manager and teacher at a dance studio, as well as a freelance dancer and choreographer.

And when she isn’t dancing, she’s been moonlighting with her other passion – as a travel blogger and social media storyteller. This was how Lyons’ blog Traveling Atlas was born. Originally started as a fun way for her and her boyfriend to share vacation stories with friends, it has now turned into a comprehensive blog that documents every aspect of their travels to thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter.

Erin Lyons visiting UtahA fundamental element of the blog is the “how-to” travel guides, one of which documents their recent trip to Cuba. In it, they tell their audience everything they need to know when traveling to the country and key places to visit. And although it’s not part of her daytime job, Lyons never goes too long without showcasing her dance moves on these expeditions.

All of the technical skills that go into creating her blog were built at RWU, where she learned InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. But it’s more than just the technical skills that have aided in her successful travelogue. She says that the communication skills and knowing how to write to and engage a digital audience play a major part. Communications is more than just speaking, Lyons says ­– it’s storytelling through visual and digital media, as well as through dance. And it’s why her post-college career is “flourishing beautifully” and allowing her majors to come full-circle.

“My goal has always been to dance and travel, whether that’s by touring for a dance company, teaching in different places or just showing my work in different cities and countries,” Lyons said. “Whatever travel, big or small, I want my professional career to interweave dance and travel.”

And the blog is just one step towards Lyons’ ultimate goal of intersecting her two degrees – a goal made entirely possible by discovering her path and passion at RWU.