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From Lyon, France to Leadership to Library Science

| Rosa Gomez

“Being a mentor has definitely been a highlight of my time in Honors,” Isabelle Becker said. “I really like getting to teach a group of students and share my knowledge and experiences with them.”

Isabelle Becker is a fourth-year French and history student, graduating with University Honors in December of 2022. Throughout her final fall semester, she has been mentoring first-year honors students—sharing her wisdom about the program and the university as a whole. 

Being a mentor has allowed her to meet a wide variety of new people, both first-year students she can help guide and other graduating students she may not have otherwise had a chance to meet. 

The Honors Program has cultivated a space for students with diverse areas of study to intersect and collaborate—something Becker said she is thankful for. Specifically, she said she appreciates the relationship she has developed with her co-mentor, a biology student, and the experience they get to share in their role as honors student leaders.

Becker began her college journey with an interest in public history, and while that didn’t fade, she was able to pursue her passion for language and archives through her chosen career path.

Becker, from Winona, Minnesota, said she chose UW-Eau Claire because of its History and French programs, which eventually led her to study abroad in Lyon, France during the 2022 Spring semester. 

“When I first started college, I wasn’t planning on studying abroad, but as French became a bigger part of college for me and eventually my major, I knew studying abroad would be an amazing opportunity,” she said. 

During her time abroad, both in and out of the classroom, Becker found she relied on many of the skills she had developed in Honors classes such as The Concert Album and The Wandering Knight: Global Adaptations of Don Quixote. She said problem-solving, sense of responsibility and presentation skills she developed in Honors were ones she used in France. 

Becker said that between her study abroad experience and the wide variety of Honors courses she has taken, she is prepared for life beyond an undergraduate career.

“The classes in Honors have helped me develop useful skills, like better communication and leadership skills,” Becker said. “Talking to Honors faculty has also helped me feel more prepared by making me consider all my options.” 

Reflecting on her college experience, she said now that she is a senior, she can really appreciate these skills and how Honors colloquium courses opened the door for new and unique areas of study. “When I talk to people about stuff I’ve learned in college, those are usually the classes that come up in conversation,” Becker said.

The ability to help people through her mentoring role has been a rewarding opportunity that has ultimately sculpted her experience with the Honors Program. The words she uses to describe the Honors Program are “knowledge, leadership and responsibility”—all characteristics she has come to exemplify throughout her time in the Honors Program and UW-Eau Claire.

After graduation, Becker is looking to apply to graduate school for a Master’s in Library Science, going back to her public history roots with a hope of getting involved in archiving— we’re looking forward to everything she is going to accomplish!