Why did you choose Wesleyan?
I wanted to attend a private Christian college and my first choice in a degree program was a Zoology program. After visiting twice – once for Future Panther Day and once for Scholars’ Day, I was hooked. I loved the staff and faculty I met and felt that I was genuinely cared for. I could tell it was going to be a place I would call home.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will take a gap year to work as a lab technician in the Entomology Department at University of Kentucky, where I’ll be getting more experience in the field. After a year, I will move on to do my Ph.D. in entomology. The University of California Riverside is my top choice.
How did KWC prepare you for the next steps?
I plan to go into academia. I would like to be a college professor with my own lab that will host Ph.D. students. I have been a supplemental instructor here under professors who allowed me to teach and direct, which has been a very valuable experience. I have had experience working in labs here, which has been a big help to me.
Who has mentored you during your time here?
Dr. Jeremy Gibson has had the largest impact on my life here. I have been a supplemental instructor for him for multiple classes, and he has allowed me to have big role in the classroom. He has helped me figure out the details for my future, and he has helped me make sure I have done everything I can to prepare. He’s been a huge encouragement and has been so helpful during my health struggles. Because of the experiences in his lab and education from him, I was able to hold an internship position at the University of Kentucky (in the Entomology Department), which opened a lot of doors in my field of study.
I made a connection with Dr. Gibson his very first day at KWC. He taught my General Biology II class, and I approached him about helping with research. The lab does research into the substrate born communication of Schizocosa ocreata, a wolf spider species that is native to our area. We have done research into how bird calls affect feeding behaviors and research into mating behaviors.
Dr. Janella Moy helped me realize my passion for entomology when she asked me to discuss something unusual that I had literacy in. She has been a wonderful mentor and source of encouragement.
Dr. Scot Payne has provided me with exciting experiences in the classroom. I have taken some elective classes with him, and I got to learn fun scientific content that has changed my perspective on life. He also encouraged me to start an American Sign Language (ASL) Club on campus, and it has been a pleasure to run.
Dr. Rachel Pritchard made my experiences with microbiology a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. She was another huge support during my health issues. In her classes, I learned skills that I will use the rest of my life. She is an incredible teacher, and I think I will go on to model my future teaching strategies after her.
What else have you done outside of the classroom?
I have had leadership roles in several organizations, and I have helped found two of them! I was vice president of the Art Club my first year here. The Art Club provides space for students (both artistic and not) to get together to make things that they love while having a great time doing so. The group encourages creativity. I also helped found the Honors Club and was a co-president. The mission of the Honors Club is to provide a social space in which honors students can gather with other academically minded people. In the ASL Club, I have taught ASL at a conversational level. As someone who is low-tone deaf and continually losing my hearing, it has been heartwarming to see how many students care about bridging gaps between the hearing and deaf communities.
It will be hard to leave all the people here after graduation. I have made fantastic friends who feel like family. The staff here know me; food service, janitorial, and the staff who directly affect student life including the registrar, cashier, student life staff, and the disability support staff. All these people check in on me regularly, and they are continually supportive. It’s been hard to talk to them about leaving KWC. They have poured so much love into my day-to-day life and that may be difficult to find at another institution. They have made my time here comfortable and enjoyable. I hope I have had even half as much of an impact on them as they have had on me.