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The only limit is the way that you think about it

| Madelynn Gorg

Lauren Johnson

Lauren Hovde is an English Critical Studies major with a certificate in LGBTQ Studies. While only a third year student, she is on the path, and eager, to graduate early.

Before she was planning her graduation from high school, she was applying to colleges and, like many at this crossroads, was without a real idea of what she wanted to do. Lauren explains how she took a critical reading class her senior year when she was having trouble in her personal life. Luckily, she found someone to lean on in her teacher. Lauren says, “This teacher was someone that knew me on a personal level and we developed a personal relationship. She introduced a lot of texts in the course that raised issues that I hadn't considered before.” Such texts included Native American literature and books that challenged Lauren to confront her own privilege. “That was a big thing for me. I had never thought about white privilege before.”

Lauren talks about discovering her potential at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire: “I thought unless you were a teacher you couldn't be an English major and be successful. Once I got into the English program, there were a lot of professors who helped me realize it's a lot more than people make it out to be.” Along with her internship, Lauren took a class to supplement it, taught by Dr. Jenny Shaddock. This class in particular helped show Lauren all the doors that were open to her, as she describes, “There are so many different opportunities and the only limit is the way that you think about it.” Lauren raves about how Dr. Shaddock helped students develop soft skills that pair easily with more practical skills, like graphic design and photoshop, to make them well-rounded students prepared for the future. On this, she says, “If I work hard and develop these skills, it opens so many more opportunities for me.”

This is the second semester Lauren has worked as an intern for the UW Cooperative Extension Office with Catherine Emmanuelle. Their early projects consisted of a poster series, a newsletter, and managing a budget. In doing so, Lauren worked extensively in Excel, which she had never previously had the chance to operate.

“This semester I started writing policy...I never thought I’d do that.” Lauren continues, “I've been doing a lot of research synthesis, which isn't always something you do in courses that focus more on literature and what you get from a particular text.” Before she had even considered applying for internships, Lauren met Catherine through a class her sophomore year. Catherine is a member of the city council, and the class was focused on activism, so she spoke as a guest to Lauren’s class. “I liked her personality and the way she relates to people. We developed a great relationship and I wanted to work for somebody that I knew I could believe in and who I knew would respect me and give me a challenge, but also be willing to negotiate with me.”

Through her internship, Lauren says she has learned to develop herself and fit into a professional environment. She says, “It's not always what's on your resume that's important, but how you talk about it. If you don't have the skills to talk about the experiences you've had, they almost don't mean anything.” Lauren encourages others, stating, “I think a lot of times college students, English majors in specific, don’t give themselves enough credit for the things that they have accomplished. It's so easy to look at the things that we’ve done and say, ‘Anyone can do that,’ but no. Not everyone can. If you can market yourself to other people and you believe in that, it goes so far.”