I have always spread the message that the UW-Whitewater Honors Program is more than just academics-in the correct hands, it is a complete positive augmentation of the entire college experience. Looking back on my years here, I am profoundly struck by all the ways that the Honors Program has shaped the person that I am today. As a member of the Honors Learning Community my freshman year, I have shared my journey with a group of students—truly some of my greatest friends-and cannot begin to fathom what I would do without their kindness and support. And, of course, Honors has given me the chance to turn fun ideas into real, relatable experiences. For example, since coming to Whitewater, I have presented at two National Collegiate Honors Council conferences, one in Washington, D.C., and the other in Phoenix, and helped prepare and lead an experiential learning trip to New Orleans. The people in the Honors Program encourage and foster a sense of adventure and learning outside of the classroom. They encourage you to grow and try to help you succeed with your own projects—even if sometimes those projects fail.
On top of my commitment to Honors, I have also had the privilege to take part in the Undergraduate Research Program. Working with Dr. Gruber on accounting research, I did an international analysis of seasonal effects on financial ratios. Although accounting is not my forte, I really enjoyed being able to apply the concepts that I was learning in my coursework and being able to work independently. For me, I sometimes felt that, while the business courses were necessary, the classes did not always flow together; but, my undergraduate research combined aspects of accounting, finance, statistics, and management. This gave me a way to further engage myself in classroom material and has been a boon to subsequent projects and research.
Two of the most important programs are coalesced here on the UW-Whitewater campus: the Honors Program and the Undergraduate Research Program. By giving students a chance to exert their independence with knowledge, resources, and support, these programs have allowed our students to excel and go far beyond the confines of the classroom. Today, we take the time to honor this new space that will make more amazing opportunities into real, tangible experiences by bringing together the best and brightest of our community.