UW-Whitewater senior wins national civic honor

April 29, 2013

Stephanie AbbottPolitical science professor Larry Anderson remembers the time, two years ago, when he started working with University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student Stephanie Abbott on her undergraduate research projects.

"She never hesitated to show her opinion, no matter what people thought," said Anderson. "She read about 10,000 articles on her topic, impressing the entire department with her dedication."

Abbott, a political science major from Rice Lake who will graduate in May, is one of the many accomplished Warhawks with bright futures. She is finishing her college career with a prestigious national award -- the Newman Civic Fellow award -- given to only 181 students in the country.

The Newman Civic Fellows honor inspiring college student leaders who have sought to find solutions for challenges facing communities across the country. Through their service, research and advocacy, these students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. Campus Compact, a national coalition devoted to campus-based civic engagement, presents the award annually.

"I am extremely thankful for every opportunity UW-Whitewater has ever given me," said Abbott. "There are so many students on this campus that are deserving of awards like this, so I'm very grateful to be considered."

Dean of Students Mary Beth Mackin nominated Abbott for this honor because of her involvement in Whitewater Student Government, serving in the senate for three years, and Whitewater Common Council, where she is in the middle of her second term representing the 2nd District.

"Abbott is a student who has consistently demonstrated the ability to balance leadership, service and academic excellence," said Mackin. "She clearly has high aspirations and a bright future in both politics and public service in our country, and her commitment thus far has impacted our campus and community in a host of positive ways."

Abbott was named speaker of the student senate after two terms, and won the Outstanding Junior award for the College of Letters and Sciences.

Abbott's undergraduate research projects have received positive recognition as well. She presented "Media bias in elections" at a national conference in Colorado, and "State budgets in times of economic crisis" at the state Capitol in Madison.

After graduating, Abbott plans to complete her Whitewater Common Council term, and then enroll in graduate school, where she intends to earn a law degree and master's degree in public policy.

"Everyone should watch out for her in the future," said Anderson. "The state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives are not very far away from where she currently is and where she is going in her career path."

No matter how far she climbs the political ladder, Abbott says she'll always be a Warhawk.

"It's not only about winning awards and receiving honors, but also about finding other callings and trying different things," said Abbott. "UW-Whitewater has so many opportunities just waiting for students. Everyone has the chance to experience something different and that's really special."


Sara Kuhl

Jeff Angileri