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chemistry AND culture

Anna Waller
Chemistry, Spanish and Latin American studies major 

Growing up with a dad who was a senior research chemist at 3M, it's no surprise that Anna Waller has been intrigued by math and science since grade school. A high school honors chemistry class and an encouraging high school teacher convinced her that science was something that came to her naturally as well as something she truly enjoyed. At the same time, she also was loving her high school Spanish classes. As she considered colleges, she knew she wanted to go someplace that had strong science programs but also opportunities for her to continue her Spanish and study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. 

UW-Eau Claire had all she was looking for … and more. Once on campus, she "fell in love" with chemistry and made that her major. Anna —a Blugold Honors student —also continued her Spanish language studies, and decided to add Spanish as a second major. A Latin American studies class broadened her thinking even more about her love of the Spanish language. She realized it was the Latin American culture that intrigued her the most about Spanish studies. The more she learned Spanish, the more she understood that to understand a language, you have to understand the culture. So much of human interaction isn't just language;it's the culture and the people as well, she says. So after studying abroad in Chile, Anna also added Latin American studies to the list of bachelor's degrees she was pursuing. Pursuing triple majors —chemistry, Spanish and Latin American studies —is challenging but doable thanks to a dedicated and organized faculty adviser who helped her map her journey in a way that will help her achieve her goals without delaying her time to graduation. 

Anna hopes to use her multiple passions —and degrees —to build a career working in the chemical industry while also being involved in Latin American relations. She says many of the skills she gains through each of her academic programs are valuable in all her fields For example, she says, chemistry teaches her problem-solving, logical reasoning and critical thinking, all skills that will help her succeed in any career. Given the growing Latino population in the U.S., as well as our increasingly interconnected world, having language skills and an understanding of the Latin American culture will be valued by any future employer. By pursuing triple degrees, Anna Waller is using her multiple passions for chemistry AND culture to build her future … and that's pretty powerful!