Emily Johnston has been involved in a variety of activities at UW-Eau Claire, as a way of incorporating her diverse interests. As a political science and psychology double major, she has made the most of her undergraduate studies by getting involved in a wide range of areas across the campus and beyond.
In her last semester, Johnson is completing an internship through the political science department with the government affairs section of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce.
While her position largely consists of educating the Eau Claire community about election information, one of her largest undertakings has been the Chippewa Valley Rally. She explained the event consisted of bringing members of the community to Maddison, WI in order to meet with as many different legislative officials as they could. She was responsible for calling every office to schedule these appointments, and to divide people into adequate teams.
In total Johnston helped organize around 104 appointments and made 21 teams of people. “It’s the most stressful, yet most rewarding event I’ve done,” she said.
Johnston is also president of the Lutheran Student Association, one of the many Christian groups on campus. She explained it was difficult with the pandemic to recruit people, but finally in her senior year, the association is back at its full strength.
During her junior year, Johnston began working as a tele fundraiser for the university. “It’s been a really great experience for me,” she said.
She explained the job consists of calling alumni and friends to update them on the university. “Because of that job, I know a lot more that’s happening at the university,” she said. Johnston also highlighted how interesting it’s been hearing about the history of the university through alumni.
As a member of the University Honors Program, Johnston has been just as successful in the classroom as she has been in other activities. She explains the interdisciplinary aspect of honors has been invaluable because “there’s always a different perspective that can be offered.”
She said one of the most impactful honors courses was Fermentation: Cultures Meet Culture. She really liked how it focused on the intersection of topics. Johnston explained natural science isn’t her area of expertise, but the way the course intertwined natural science and culture, made it so much more enjoyable.
“Honors classes are such a great time to really get that broad perspective,” Johnston said. She enjoys how honors courses focus more on applying skills and the interconnections of subjects, aspects that are not always a part of regular classes.
Johnston explained her favorite honors courses were Pop Psychology and What Can a Novel Tell Us About the Future of Climate Change?, two reading-heavy courses that connected her with recent books, both fiction and non-fiction.
In Pop Psychology, students read a selection of recent popular books based on psychology, while What Can a Novel Tell Us About the Future of Climate Change involved a deep dive into Kim Stanley Robinson's 2020 novel Ministry for the Future. “I love learning, and I think both of these classes helped to teach me how to keep learning after I graduate,” she said.
As Johnston wraps up her last semester, she is in the process of applying for jobs. Her dedication and diverse experience will be an asset wherever she goes.