This year’s winter graduates are an accomplished bunch – they’ve created new student organizations, traveled the world on the music scene, undertaken important research and won important awards. Here is a look at some of the students who will be graduated from UW-Madison on December 19. Think of them as a small subset of the Winter 2021 promotion excellence.
His campus legacy includes a new student organization
Albert Elston, a personal finance major, has one goal: to keep more venture capital in the Midwest instead of sending it to the wealthy coastal economies. To this end, he co-founded ImpactVC, UW â Madison’s Venture Capital Club. The registered student organization exposes students to the areas of start-up investing and venture capital. It also facilitates networking opportunities with experienced investors and venture capitalists. Since its inception last fall, ImpactVC has connected with over 200 undergraduate and graduate students. âWhat I’m especially proud of is how we’ve been able to reach students from over 20 college majors,â said Elston. A Group scholar from Chicago, Elston has spent the past two years as a teaching assistant in the Personal Finance program and conducted research for the Entrepreneurship Science Lab at UW.
First a student, now a teacher
Yirong Wang always wanted to be a teacher. When she was young, she claimed to teach her stuffed animals, imitating her mother, a well-respected local kindergarten to grade 12 teacher in Hangzhou, China. Those childhood dreams are coming true now – at the college level. Wang, who is receiving his doctorate. in Nutritional Sciences, was hired by UW-Madison as an Associate Faculty Assistant. She already has a good student following her as a teacher of Nutritional Science 132: Nutrition Today, an introductory nutrition course for non-nutrition students. Her approach includes new elements such as âMindful Mondays,â where she spends 5-10 minutes talking about issues her students may be struggling with. She provides tips that help them reduce stress, take care of themselves, find their identity, and navigate the college experience. At the end of the semester, it allows students to choose between a final exam or a project of their choice. âMy teaching is always student-centered,â says Wang. âI want to motivate my students to learn more about the nutrition topics that are important to them. “
Football player takes ‘Scholar-Athlete’ label to new heights
Badger defensive end Matt henningsen played the demanding sport of football while excelling academically – first as an undergraduate student with a perfect 4.0 GPA and now as a graduate student completing a Masters in Electrical Engineering and IT. His exceptional skills did not go unnoticed. Henningsen, of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, was named one of 13 national researcher-athletes this fall by the National Football Foundation, an honor that comes with a graduate scholarship of $ 18,000. The 13 elite recipients became finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, awarded on December 7 and considered the first academic prize in college football – dubbed the âAcademic Heismanâ. Learn more about Henningsen’s achievements here and here.
She uses her background to inform her research
As a child, Ronni brent has seen many of his peers and family members suffer from malnutrition, unhealthy habits and various chronic illnesses. These formative experiences stimulate her interest in cancer epidemiology and her efforts to improve nutrition at the community level. On campus, she has received numerous honors for her leadership and academic achievement, including the Promega Award for Diversifying Our Researchers and an Outstanding Second Year Award from the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association. Brent is a McNair Fellow and one Community environmental scholar and participated in research led by Dr. Shaneda Warren Andersen studying the association between colorectal cancer risk and obesity in African Americans and those of low socioeconomic status. A Group scholar from Chicago, Brent graduated with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, with certificates in Global Health and Environmental Studies.
She has been a star in foreign language skills
Kristine nguyen received a Foreign Languages ââand Area Studies scholarship in her second year, an honor funded by the U.S. Department of Education to help students hone their foreign language skills. The scholarship enabled Nguyen to study Chinese abroad at National Taiwan University in Taipei. Nguyen, of Madison, Wisconsin, is a Erudite people double major in Chinese and International Studies, with Certificates in Business and East Asian Studies. She was an undergraduate research assistant intern at the State Department and won an award in a Chinese Midwestern speech competition.
He is passionate about food justice
Connor raboine grew up cherishing family meals and admiring her mother’s ability to put food on the table during the lean years. These memories permeate his advocacy for food justice, a passion he pursues with energy and creativity on campus. Raboine, of Burlington, Wisconsin, recently completed over a year as Co-Executive Director of Slow Food UW, a student-run nonprofit. Last spring, he co-founded the UW Food Justice Collective, bringing together the heads of eight academic food-related organizations. This fall, he co-led the first Swipe Out Hunger campaign, which raised over $ 8,000 to help ensure all students have access to healthy and nutritious meals. âFood is more than calories and nutrients,â says Raboine. âIt’s a way to break down barriers and connect people. Raboine has a bachelor’s degree in human development, family studies, and communication arts, with certificates in global health, sustainability, and food systems. Learn more about his efforts on campus here and here.
Non-traditional student hopes to inspire others
Kassandra Gossens has focused his undergraduate research on the experiences of non-traditional students who transfer to flagship universities to complete their undergraduate degrees. It is a subject that she knows well. After earning academic accolades and a leadership award at Madison College (and as an introductory lecturer), Gossens transferred to UW-Madison to study psychology. She is a McNair Fellow and hopes to pursue higher education. âAs a returning mature student, it’s important for me to pave the way for other non-traditional learners by turning my GED into a PhD,â she says. “It is never too late, and you are never too far away to get a quality education.” Gossens grew up in Portage, Wisconsin, and now resides in Madison.
Pandemic offered life lessons for the newbie speaker
When the pandemic struck last year, an international student Jai Khanna could not immediately return to his native India. As he negotiated tough times, Khanna was asked to serve on the COVID-19 Student Advisory Council, where his experiences provided invaluable insight to campus leaders as they charted the course for the campus. Senior Class Officers have now chosen him to deliver remarks on behalf of the Class of 2021 at Sunday’s start-to-winter ceremony. Khanna is in the process of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Learn more about his time on campus here.
The speaking artist is also a mental health advocate
As a major in human development and family studies, with a certificate in chicano / a and latino / a studies, Nashalee Rodriguez used what she learned in class to educate the community about mental health. In her leadership role as Risk Manager for Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc., she hosted a stress management and relaxation event open to students on campus. Through an internship, Rodriguez, of Milwaukee, assisted young teens in their socio-emotional development as a counselor at Camp Whitcomb / Mason, which is part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee. Rodriguez is a spoken word artist and is part of UW-Madison’s 11th Cohort Wave 1 scholarship program. After graduation, she plans to travel the world while growing her MKE Tapas Ricas cold cuts board business on Instagram.
‘Unofficial Madison Ambassador’ Excels in Music
Before becoming a badger, Jeffrey James Hickel has enjoyed a musical career that has taken him to 15 countries for hundreds of performances. The venues ranged from street performances to a huge stage with a band in Madrid, Spain. In 2019, Hickel returned to his hometown of Madison to pursue a Bachelor of Communication Arts through Ready for the badger, a bridging program for adults with prior credits who have been out of school for some time. Hickel continued his artistic pursuits while a student at UW. Performing on the Jeffrey James Show, he has won numerous Madison Area Music Association awards, including “Video of the year “ last year and “Alternative album of the year” this autumn. His video for ” Back home “, shot locally, “is as perfect as a night on Union Terrace,” said the Isthmus newspaper, which dubbed him “an unofficial Madison ambassador.”