Katie Barker, a senior psychology major from Rothschild, Wisconsin, is the winner of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 2016 McGraw Award for Student Excellence.
"Her dedication to her academics and her scholarship set her apart, but also her dedication to service and doing the things she loves. She has demonstrated a desire to give back in the form of mentorship," said David Havas, chair of the Student Awards Committee.
Barker's outstanding talents shine through in her academic and extracurricular activities, he said.
When Barker isn't in the classroom, she can be found serving as a mentor with the Research Apprenticeship Program -- a role that is often reserved for faculty members only, participating as a mentee in the Alumni Mentor Program, or playing intramural volleyball. Barker has participated heavily in Undergraduate Research Day and serves as a general member on the College of Letters and Sciences Dean's Advisory Council.
"I would say Undergraduate Research has been the most beneficial activity I have participated in. I think it taught me a lot of skills as far as working with people. Being able to describe your research is important, too. It gave me a lot of analytical skills. It makes you well rounded," said Barker. "I've learned organizational skills -- being able to balance work and school and all these other activities. I've learned a lot about communicating with people and understanding them. Communication is not one-sided."
Outside of the academic and professional experience that Barker has gained from her time at UW-Whitewater, she also learned about being a Warhawk.
"To be a Warhawk I think you have to be really proud of your school. If I had to do it all over again I would still choose UW-Whitewater. We have great professors and we have a lot here to be proud of."
Written by Alyssa Langer
Photo by Craig Schreiner
The McGraw Award is UW-Whitewater's top student award. Arthur McGraw, former dean of the School of Graduate Studies, created the award in 1985 to honor outstanding student achievement. The award is presented annually, with the recipient receiving a $400 honorarium.
To be eligible, a student must have completed 60 credits from UW-Whitewater with a minimum GPA of 3.5 in their major and be actively involved in university and community organizations. A 10-member selection committee reviews the applicants. McGraw suggested the award should recognize "an outstanding, well-rounded UW-Whitewater graduate ready for the world of professional work and one who potentially appears ready to contribute in a positive way to society."