Meet another one of our outstanding December 2021 University Honors graduates: Dana Gebert. As a Human Resources major, Dana has always valued connections and community--something that has enabled her to build a full, rich life after graduation.
One of these communities was Alpha Xi Delta. Joining this sorority allowed Dana to meet many close friends. Dana’s worries about finding friends living off campus instead of in the dorms were quickly extinguished. By committing to this group, Dana found herself on the executive board in charge of finance and operations. Being a part of the management of this group helped teach her communication, responsibility, and organization. She reports that “Alpha Xi Delta was the best leadership experience during [her] college career.”
Being a Management-Human Resource Bachelor of Business Administration Major and a Mathematics Applied/Statistics Minor is no easy feat, but Dana was able to meet supporters and study buddies pursuing her same career. She participated in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), where she networked with HR professionals. It can be difficult to gain experience in this field when experience is a prerequisite for many opportunities. So, Dana was happy the SHRM allowed her to meet with many companies, including Phillip-Medisize who offered her an internship in 2019. After graduating she will be continuing there as a full-time recruiting coordinator.
Besides her major classes, Dana enjoyed taking courses offered by the University Honors Program. Here, Dana met people with similar interests as her and discovered different interests of her own to explore. She appreciates how Director, Heather Fielding provided support to get involved in those interests despite them being outside of her major. Hans Kishel and Eric Jennings, who taught the popular honors course “Question Everything,” were also sources of encouragement for her. When things got too overwhelming to turn to a professor, Dana was also able to turn to her older sister, Michelle, who had been in our program previously. Dana says that “[Michelle] was able to give reminders to persevere and assurance that it would be worth it.”
Dana met friends in her sorority and advanced her career through SHRM, but she found someone particularly special through the Honors Program. Dana’s active involvement in the honors community led her to keep passing by and bumping into this person she had met in one of her very first honors class in our honors classroom, Library 2023. Dana found she had much in common with Austin Preece, now a 2019 University Honors grad--fast forward, and they are planning to get married in June 2022!
Until then, Dana is wrapping up her last days as an undergraduate. She will be staying in a house purchased with Austin in downtown Eau Claire. Dana will miss hanging out in the campus mall and going to events with her sorority but is excited to move into her next chapter. By now, Dana is well aware of the connections and positive impacts that can come from networking—so she has already joined the Young Professionals Group of Chippewa Valley to continue being involved in her community. She wants to advise students to “not let fear stop you from going to events or starting a conversation with someone because you never know how it will turn out.”
Congratulations, Dana and Austin!