Shadia Escorcia-Cure has been a trailblazer in her field. The microbiology and chemistry student credits the UW-Eau Claire Honors Program for pushing her to consider new opportunities outside of her comfort zone.
Escorcia-Cure said because of her involvement with Honors, she felt more emboldened to pursue an internship in the male-dominated field of industrial chemistry. Now, having served as a laboratory field technician with Cascades, a waste-water treatment plant and paper mill, for over a year, she has been able to draw and expand on her chemistry skills she has developed throughout her undergraduate career.
During her time with Cascades, she was able to network and create new connections and now is pursuing an internship with Kemira, a company that specializes in biocides, over the summer as their on-site-lab-technician. In this position, she will utilize her biology skillset and continue to expand upon her valuable relationships.
In addition to her internship, over the course of the past two years she has worked in the Biology Department’s preparation laboratory and has been able to utilize the skills she has learned in both introduction-level and upper-division biology courses.
Outside of her internship and classes, she said the ability to explore courses and topics outside of her field of study has been a rewarding experience. Escorcia-Cure said she met some of her closest friends from her honors courses and was grateful for the opportunity to expand her horizons.
“A lot of the people in the Honors Program are widely diverse,” Escorcia-Cure said. “That’s a really nice part about it because it brings everybody together.”
She emphasized that students in the UW-Eau Claire Honors Program are all collectively hard-working, but it is everyone’s different personalities that make the program “beautiful.”
It’s her honors friends that she credits for encouraging her to “just do it” and apply for the positions she is in and persevere despite being a minority in her field. Escorcia-Cure said she is thankful for the camaraderie she has with the other women she works with and it’s rewarding to see them be successful in the lab.
Escorcia-Cure said that she was able to try new things throughout her undergraduate career. She emphasized how students are at an opportune time “to try things out, see what fits and what doesn’t, and really learn what you want to do.” The Honors Program gave her both the opportunity and the encouragement to explore new areas.
The cross-disciplinary courses have exposed her to “different topics and activities” outside of her specialties which have allowed her to “find joy and peace during hectic times,” she said.
Specifically, she noted that The Quiet One: The Art of Musing, an honors course she took with Professor CV Peterson, introduced her to journaling. Creative courses, such as this one, offered to honors students create opportunities to explore mindfulness while still fostering the skills they develop in their area of study.
After graduation, Escorcia-Cure said she will be doing a “complete 360.” She is pursuing her Masters in clinical microbiology at UW-La Crosse in the fall. She has experience with the industry and a taste of working in a lab—now, she’s ready to explore a new field.