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Sneak peek better prepared UW-Eau Claire – Barron County student for college

| Gary Johnson

Photo caption: Erin Schmitz will receive her associate of arts and sciences degree after completing her studies this month after only 1½ years at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County.

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories profiling Bugolds graduating this academic year.

Erin Schmitz got a sneak peek at college life while still a Cumberland High School student by earning credits at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire – Barron County.

“It showed me how different college classes are from high school classes, so I could be more prepared,” Schmitz says. “It was also important for me, and my family that the school paid for those credits. Earning those credits in high school helped me finish my associate degree faster.”

Schmitz will receive her associate of arts and sciences degree after completing her studies this month after only 1½ years at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County. She plans to walk during the school’s May commencement ceremony. Schmitz plans to continue her education in fall 2024, likely in the medical field.

Schmitz was unsure about her career path when she enrolled at the Rice Lake two-year school about 15 miles from her hometown, so she chose arts and sciences to explore different interests. She recommends UW-Eau Claire – Barron County as an ideal choice to begin a higher education journey, praising the school’s “amazing faculty and staff.”

“They care about your success and if you need any help, they are always there to answer any questions you may have,” Schmitz says. “Each teacher I have encountered is different and they do their best to make the learning experience enjoyable and helpful if I don’t understand.”

One of those faculty members, Christy Potvin, a lecturer in English who taught Schmitz in two writing courses, calls her student brilliant, compassionate and hardworking.” Potvin says Schmitz takes pride in everything she does inside and outside the classroom.

“Erin is never afraid to befriend new classmates or ask questions in her courses,” Potvin says. “She listens intently during class, participates in class discussions and engages with her classmates in impactful ways. Erin is a dedicated and eager student who thrives on attaining as much knowledge as possible to increase her understanding and impact the world around her in new ways.”

Potvin predicts that Schmitz will do “amazing things in the world” thanks to her mindset of perseverance, grace and determination.

“Her welcoming and inquisitive personality will lead her to great discoveries, great accomplishments and great friendships,” Potvin says. “Erin’s compassion, friendliness and intellect are her strongest assets, and I have seen those develop tenfold since her time here on campus. I can only assume that her future academic and personal endeavors will continue to fuel her greatest passions and interests and help her become a strong leader among her peers and within her community.”

UW-Eau Claire – Barron County instructor Dr. Lauren Wentz says Schmitz was enthusiastic and hardworking in her science lab work and wasn’t afraid to venture out of her comfort zone to try something new.

“Erin is a fun, engaged student, and I hope she goes on to bigger things in the years ahead,”  says Wentz, associate professor of biology. “I'm sure she'll succeed in whatever she chooses to do.”