University Honors Program (UHP)
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Honors Student Spotlight

We are fortunate to have a wealth of high-achieving students in the University Honors Program. Explore the tabs on this page to see just a sample of some of the amazing students in our program!


Tell us about yourself, Megan. What do you want to be? What are your post-graduate plans?

In Fall 2020, I will be in my third year at UW-Whitewater. I am pursuing a dual degree in Psychology and Spanish Education. I have a passion for both psychology and the Spanish language and culture, so I have decided to pursue both of my interests. 

How do you prepare yourself for your career through the experiences you have here at Whitewater?

Presently, my goal is to be a high school Spanish teacher after I graduate. In order to prepare for this experience, I took advantage of UW-Whitewater’s wonderful study abroad program and studied abroad in Valencia, Spain. In addition, I am a Supplemental Instructor and tutor for Spanish classes. I love the Spanish language and the various cultures. I want to help build the passion in other students, as I help them learn the language. 

Some students are overwhelmed with the responsibility and commitment to become an Honors student. Have you struggled with that too?

I understand the concern that the Honors Program could be overwhelming, but I promise it is not. There is wonderful support given by faculty and students of the Honors Program that will help you reach your goals. There are many ways to achieve the credit requirement from the Honors Program, so I ensure every student will find the best path for themselves. Overall, the Honors program is very accommodating. I was always excited to be an Honors student at UWW because I knew it would be a place I would thrive. Through Honors, we do occasionally have more responsibilities than others; however, I believe that it is always manageable and always worth it! 

Could you talk about your experiences in your study abroad in Spain? How does being an Honors student help you with your living situations during this pandemic?

My two months in Spain were wonderful. It was a time of being immersed in language and culture and a time of self-growth. I loved meeting new people from all over the world and expanding my horizons. It is one thing to learn in a classroom; it is another to experience it. 

In Spring 2019, I participated in the Honors Travel Study to the UK and Ireland. I am very grateful for that experience because it helped me prepare for my semester abroad in Valencia, Spain. The Travel Study course was designed in such a way that it was a wonderful learning experience not only because of the culture and the historical places of the UK and Ireland, but I also learned how to navigate international travel. I was comfortable for the two months I spent in Spain. Unfortunately, my semester was cut short by COVID-19, so when I needed to book an emergency flight home and navigate four international airports, I was ready for the task.

Impart some wisdom. What’s one life lesson you’ve learned as an Honors student?

A life lesson I learned as an Honors student is to take every opportunity presented to you. UW-Whitewater and the Honors Program have many opportunities for students that range from academic to social, and I have benefitted from both. I joined the Honors Learning Community my freshman year and met my best friends. I created an H-Option project in World of the Arts and was able to present it to an audience at the Honors Convention. I participated in the Honors Travel Study course that opened my mind through both classroom work and the travel experience. My participation in the Honors Program has demonstrated that every opportunity is a chance for betterment. 

If you could give a few words to students who are skeptical about joining the UHP, what would you say? Why should students join the Undergraduate Honors Program?

Students should join the Honors Program to enrich their experience at UW-Whitewater. It enhances students’ education by providing and encouraging different methods of learning than would be possible without the Honors Program. Also, the Honors Program is a wonderful social and support network!  

Tell us about yourself, Jackie. What do you want to be? How are you preparing yourself for your career through the experiences you have in Whitewater? If you could identify yourself as an animal, what would you be?

I am double majoring in marketing with an emphasis in sports & experiential marketing, and communication with an emphasis in public relations. I wish I could tell you my career goals! My majors allow for a very broad number of jobs, so I look forward to being able to explore different avenues. I have taken advantage of internships and student organizations while at Whitewater, and I have also taken on leadership roles and participated in certain classes and events that have given me intangible skills that will help me no matter where I end up careerwise! I am someone who prioritizes my academics, and it is ultimately my goal to leave my mark on whichever communities I find myself in! My animal would be something that is independent yet understands the value of social connections; something that enjoys freedom and has a good instinct. Let’s go with a wolf!

Congratulations on receiving the Exemplary Sophomore Award, Jackie! What does it mean for you to be an exemplary student, specifically an Honors student?

I love the Honors program and the opportunities it provides. I am someone who likes to get very involved with my commitments and organizations. So being an exemplary student, to me, means going that extra mile for and with a school-related group. I have gotten involved with many Honors classes, with the Honors student organization, with the travel opportunities presented, and with the program in general, heavily. I have taken in the benefits and have tried to benefit the program, as well. I have held my commitments to the program and my grades to a high standard.

Some students are overwhelmed with the responsibility and commitment to become an Honors student. Have you struggled with that too?

I have rarely struggled with the commitment to being an Honors student at Whitewater. This is highly due to the fact that the Honors program at Whitewater offers an unmatched support system of professors, advisors and students. Sometime it is hard to balance my leadership role within the program with other campus commitments, but I continue to find ways to do so! It is important to note that different Honors students take on different levels of responsibilities!

Your work as Honors Student Association President is remarkable! What exactly are the duties you fulfill?

As the President of the Honors Student Association, I have had the chance to take on a very self-motivated role that allows for the individual to really do as much or as little as they would like for the program. I believe I have gone above and beyond. As president, I coordinate and lead our general and e-board meetings. I create presentations and agendas for both as well. I also brainstorm and assist with putting on our various events and fundraisers. Most importantly, I assist in developing the vision of the organization. The current e-board and I have continued to push that the organization is truly a social place for Honors students to meet each other and to share their advice and successes. Specifically during my first term as president, I set up our organization at the campus-wide involvement fair for the first time in at least a decade, and partially because of this, we more than doubled active participation at our general meetings and events. I also coordinated two new fundraisers for the organization, and created a new leadership position with the help of the rest of the e-board. I also attended campus leadership meetings and advertised for as well as voiced the opinions of our organization stronger than they had been voiced before.

Impart some wisdom. What’s one life lesson you’ve learned as an Honors student?

Surrounding yourself with individuals who have a similar passion and drive for success will only make you work harder.

Lastly, why should students join the Undergraduate Honors Program and/or the Honors Student Association?

Let me tell you! This program will be one of the best parts of your time at Whitewater. There are so many benefits, such as graduating with Honors and being able to stand out to employers down the road. There are also a plethora of research and travel opportunities. Professors also love Honors students the most, whether they admit it or not! But the best part of the Honors Program at Whitewater is the community you’ll be involved with. Whether you participate in one of the first-year student learning communities, or our student organization HSA, or just in some of the classes, you will find your people. I look forward to the life-long friends and the networking connections I have made solely thanks to the UWW Undergraduate Honors Program!

​​​Tell us about yourself, Bailey. If you could identify yourself as an animal, what would you be?

I am Bailey Sturycz! I am currently double majoring in International Business and Information Technology at Whitewater. My animal is definitely a dog! I like to think myself fiercely loyal to those closest to me, and also very happy and friendly.

What do you want to be? What are your post-graduate plans? How did you prepare yourself for your career through the experiences you had in Whitewater?

As for my post-graduate plans, they are definitely a work-in-progress. Ideally, I’d like to receive a full-time job with the same company I am currently doing my internship with. And I would not have gotten as far toward my career as I have without the experiences I’ve had at UW-Whitewater. To start with, one of my best friends is someone I met my freshman year in my Honors LC Honors Advantage, and she is the one who led me to apply to this company almost a year ago. I’ve also gained invaluable knowledge and skills not just from my classes at UWW, but my professors, my peers, the Honors Program, and tons of other campus resources. I don’t think any other university would have prepared me for my future as well as UW-Whitewater has.

Congratulations on receiving the Exemplary Senior Award, Bailey! What does it mean for you to be an exemplary student, specifically an honors student?

I am beyond honored to receive the Exemplary Senior Award. For me, this means that I’ve been able to give back to the Honors Program, which has given me so much over the past three years, including friendships, experience, connections, and so much fun along the way. I take great pride in being an Honors student, and striving to work harder and smarter than I did even the year before. To me, the Honors Program means constantly pushing my own expectations of myself, and working to grow not only as a student but as a person as well. My college experience would not have been as great as it has been if it weren’t for this incredible program.

Some students are overwhelmed with the responsibility and commitment to become an honors student. Have you struggled with that too? Wh​at are some struggles you’ve experienced as an Honors student? 

I definitely have struggled a bit with the responsibility and commitment of being an Honors Student, but for me it was a new challenge. College is a brand new experience for almost everyone, and with that experience comes the practice of balancing class, commitments, socializing, among anything else you have going on in your life. So yes, adding Honors Student to that list of responsibilities is no doubt a challenge, but the Honors Program provides you with so many resources to help you work through it and find that balance. Some of the struggles I’ve personally experienced is managing my heavy course load with my commitments to Honors events such as the Program meetings and being on the executive board of Honors Student Association. There were times when I felt like I’d always be stressed and struggling to balance these aspects of my college life. But in time I was able to create such a strong network with the Program, and my friends and fellow Honors Students and the Program directors and interns all were a part of helping me learn to balance my priorities. I have zero regrets in being part of the Honors Programs, and I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Your work as Honors Student Association secretary is remarkable! Could you tell us what programs/projects you’ve organized? What exactly are the duties you fulfill?

So as the Secretary of the Honors Student Association, my main duties include any and all communication from the executive board to our members. Our executive board is also very flexible, and at one time or another we have all helped each other with our duties. One of my ideas for the program was creating surveys for different program and event ideas we had, so that we could get a better idea of what kinds of events our members actually wanted to be a part of. I’ve helped in some way, shape, or form in all of the programs and events we’ve held. This past February was my favorite event that I’ve helped with; we’d decided to sell chocolate covered strawberries in the UC for Valentine’s Day, and the day before the event I spent about 3-4 hours in my kitchen melting chocolate and hand-dipping about 200 strawberries. The best part was that during the sale we completely sold out, and it was our most profitable fundraiser since I joined HSA three years ago.

Impart some wisdom. What’s one life lesson you’ve learned as an Honors student?

One life lesson that I’ve learned as an Honors Student is to not be afraid to ask for help. I know this is a common piece of advice, but hear me out. All through high school and the start of college I’d been afraid to ask for help. I’d always been one of the smarter kids in my graduating class, so other students often came to me for help. This made it hard for me to feel like I could ask for help, because I thought I was expected to know everything. The people in the Honors Program showed me that 1) there is no way one person can ever be expected to know everything, and I’ve met people way smarter than myself, and 2) that it’s completely okay to not know what you’re doing sometimes, and there are people you can reach out to either for help or even just some reassurance and encouragement. Not only did this Program teach me this lesson, but they have also been the ones that are there for me for help and encouragement and reassurance. I cannot stress enough that I would not be who I am or where I am without being a part of this Program.

If you could give a few words to students who are skeptical about joining the UHP/HSA, what will you say? Why should students join the Undergraduate Honors Program and/or the Honors Student Association?

I know it may seem like more work that it needs to be, and I’ll be honest I was skeptical at first myself. I reluctantly signed up for an Honors Learning Community, and honestly I would not have changed that for the world. I’ve made some of the closest friends I’ve ever had from this LC, I’ve gained invaluable connections through the Program, I’ve gained valuable leadership experience, and so much more. This program helped me to grow as a student and even as a person, I’ve changed so much for the better. Every interaction I’ve had with the Honors Program has been positive, and it’s also a great place to turn to when other areas of my college life were not so positive. I cannot imagine a better support system and a more rewarding program than UW-Whitewater’s Honors Program.

High-achieving honors student Nayeli Govantes Alcantar has been awarded the 2018 Outstanding Freshman Award by First Year Experience. Congratulations, Nayeli! We are so proud of you! 
Camille Deller, an honors student and a leader in many student orgs, will be enrolling in a graduate program in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston in Fall 2018. Congratulations, Camille! 

Haley Wiederhold, recipient of a 2017 Honors Study Abroad Award, is studying abroad this year at Phllipps Universtität in Marburg, Germany. Her coursework includes psychology, sociology, and German. She says that a highlight of each day is "seeing the Marburg Castle while eating fresh bakery items or Döner!" Haley, please bring back some Döner recipes!
Robert Noah Padgett, May 2017 graduate with a B.S. in Mathematics and Psychology, was a standout in both the Honors Program and the Undergraduate Research Program. He will be pursuin a PhD in Educational Psychology, wth a specialization in Quantitative Methods, at Baylor University. Congratulations to Noah! 
Congratulations to Melanie Sorman, a junior in the UHP and the winner of 2016's highly competitive national Goldwater Scholarship. Also a recipient of the $1000 Honors Study Abroad/Travel Study Award, Melanie, a geology major, will be participating in a semester abroad as part of the Wisconsin in Scotland Program in Fall 2016.
Andrew Phillips, May 2015 graduate with a B.S. degree in Chemistry, a Goldwater Scholarship recipient, and Honors Student Association officer, has undertaken his MD-PhD studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Congratulations to Andrew! One of our amazing alumni!