Human connection and a strong sense of community are some of the most defining aspects of Honors grad Eric Chestolowski.
A psychology major with a topical minor in forensic studies, Chestolowski is dedicated to understanding and connecting with people. Having worked in the Services for Students with Disabilities Office since his freshman year, he is able to regularly interact with students of all different backgrounds and help make their college experience run more smoothly.
In addition to his work with the SSD Office, Chestolowski also works as a youth mentor with Upward Bound, a program here at UW-Eau Claire that assists first generation and/or low-income high school students on their path to a college degree. With Upward Bound, he has been able to help these students with goal setting, skill building, and making a comfortable transition from high school to college or adulthood.
He has also worked on a research project with Dr. Jarrod Hines in the psychology department, surveying students’ views of victimization and crime on campus. This project utilizes qualitative interviews with students, with a larger goal of presenting data to an administrative body in order to help improve the campus climate of safety. He understands that “college doesn’t look the same for everybody” and that it is important to meet people at a place of empathy to help them through their unique hurdles in life.
Throughout his journey in college, Chestolowski has consistently shown an interest in the necessity of human connection and empathy. With his experiences through the SSD Office and Upward Bound, he has worked to ensure that opportunities like higher education are as widely accessible as possible, especially for those who might not otherwise have those opportunities so easily available to them.
It’s no surprise, then, that when asked about what he will miss most about Eau Claire, his response was the connections he has made with friends and faculty members. He also notes that he will miss the close-knit community of Eau Claire, something he describes as “a small-town community feel without small town limitations.”
Looking back on his time at UWEC, Chestolowski is grateful to have been exposed to many different opportunities through the Honors Program, like being able to meet like-minded students with similar values through various Honors courses and the Honors Living Learning Community.
Looking to the future, Chestolowski’s plans include applying to grad school and pursuing a degree in clinical psychology with a forensic concentration, with the hopes of one day working in a government agency or correctional facility and promoting education about psychological disorders and mental health within the criminal justice system.