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December grads take the stage

| Sydney Schoeberle

International students among 24 University Honors recipients

Two international students originally from Hanoi, Vietnam, Thao Tran and Huyen (Serena) Pham, will be among those receiving their gold medallions for achievement in Honors at UW-Eau Claire this Friday.  The two have been especially involved in the Honors Program and the College of Business during their time at UW-Eau Claire, with Pham majoring in accounting, and Tran majoring in business finance, mathematics-statistics, and economics (with Departmental Honors earned in the last two).

Completing seven research projects, presenting at CERCA, co-founding and growing the Data Analytics Association, leading Honors Helping Honors (former Honors student organization) as the Vice President, as well as mentoring for the “First-Year Honors Seminar,” Tran has taken advantage of many extracurricular and Honors experiences outside of her three majors.  Tran says her busy college career was largely motivated by her fellow Honors students, saying “Honors students are allowed to be creative because professors trust them to learn in the process.”

“Honors is a very liberating experience,” says Tran.  “It gives me flexibility of the mind and allows for a space to think differently.  Instead of doing statistics and calculating costs in my finance classes, I can learn how to listen to music or learn about struggling with identity.”

“Honors classes helped me utilize my creativity,” Pham adds.  “I first chose my major because my grandfather who I loved and admired so much was an accountant, and an accounting major could also give me better opportunities to enter the business profession.  As a business major it’s all in the numbers, but Honors broadens your mind, and you find things you had no idea you were capable of.”

Pham especially grew her creative side by learning about creative writing and storytelling in Professor Karen Loeb’s Honors “Storytelling and Writing in Poetry and Prose.”  In doing so, she built up the confidence to share her creative work with others, and won the Virgiline and Joseph See Award with her original collection of five poems about her memories as a girl in Vietnam.

Beyond UW-Eau Claire, Pham looks forward to getting a job in the finance world to supplement her other dreams of traveling and studying art.  Tran hopes to pursue graduate school in statistics, but ultimately wants to use her knowledge of data analytics and economics to educate and help others.

“The Honors Program creates an environment for motivated students,” Tran says.  “It keeps you moving, and that motivation will take you anywhere you want to go.”

Congratulations to these 24 accomplished students graduating with Honors this semester! 

Collum, Haley - Kinesiology, Human Performance 

Duerr, Ashley - English, Linguistics  

Goodwiler, Graham - Psychology

Graves, Lauren - Liberal Studies 

Hasenberg, Whitney - Psychology

Kahn, Matthew - Business Administration 

Kelton, Vanessa - English, Linguistics 

Larson, Taylor - Business Finance

Moua, Rebekah Yang - Education, Elementary, Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence

Nichols, Rachael - Accounting 

Pedersen, Annabell - Education, Elementary, Middle Childhood through Early Adolescence

Pham, Huyen (Serena) - Accounting 

Richardson, Lauren - English, Critical Studies in Literatures, Cultures & Film

Roth, Timothy - Computer Science 

Samples, Mary - Accounting; Information Systems, Business Analysis 

Sands, Mariah - Music, Choral Teaching

Schultz, Barbara - Management 

Spindler, Jordan - Accounting; Business Finance

Swartzendruber, Morgan - Social Work

Sweeney, Kathleen - International Business; Management

Theisen, Kathryn - English, Creative Writing 

Tobias, Weston - Chemistry

Tran, Thao - Business Finance; Mathematics, Statistics; Economics 

Wolter, Savannah - English, Teaching