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Kate Worzalla: Making a Difference in UWEC’s Campus Community

| Eve Quick

Kate Worzalla was initially drawn to the inclusive environment UW-Eau Claire exhibits. When deciding where she wanted to spend her college career, Kate appreciated UWEC’s focus on high-impact practices, she said, “[UWEC] emphasizes your major but also that there are so many other things that make up who you are. It seemed like a great place where I could explore multiple interests.”

Joining the Honors Program was one outlet that allowed Kate to explore some of those other interests, and taught her there’s an “openness to learning and knowing you never fully have the full perspective on something.”

Kate originally came into college as an undeclared major, then changed to psychology, and finally found her passion for social work. After learning about the major, it was something Kate could picture herself doing, and she remembers, “It was what I had been hoping for, but I didn’t know if it existed or what it was.”

Numerous Involvements
Kate has an impressive rap sheet of UWEC involvements. She was the chair of the Environmental Sustainability Committee last year, which is a part of the Residence Hall Association. She is also a National Residence Hall Honorary member and was one of the voting members for the Student Office of Sustainability.

Kate has shown through her involvement that she’s a leader and a hard worker. She’s had many jobs through the University that have helped her discover her passion for working in student affairs. She’s been a Summer Resident Assistant for housing and was a Camp Card Administrative Assistant over the summer as well.

A position that was impactful for Kate was being a COVID Communications Manager for the COVID-19 quarantine dorm halls. She said she “felt honored to be given an opportunity like that to be able to help maintain a safe campus.” Kate liked knowing she was making a difference in her community and helping to keep everyone safe.

Kate had the opportunity to join an ongoing research project during her freshman year with the Department of Economics for research on people’s perspectives on climate change. The research was focused on the perceptions of climate change in the U.S. and China, the two largest polluters of greenhouse gas emissions. She was exposed to this opportunity through the Honors program with an event called “Meals with Honors.” This is an event where professors present a research project they are looking for students to assist them with. Once she realized there was an opening for a climate change research project, Kate knew she had to be a part of it. She left the project after four semesters to explore other interests, but there are still members of the research team continuing with the research. She presented this research at the Honors Symposium and the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) virtually, due to COVID-19, in the Spring of 2021.

Currently, Kate is the Mail Room and Desk Supervisor in the Towers Residence Hall. She has developed a love for working in housing and student affairs.

An Open Mind in Honors
Kate appreciates spending her time at the University as an Honors student. The different class variety, perspectives, majors, and discussions have impactfully shaped her educational experience. Honors courses have increased her interest in wanting to learn more about various things.

One Honors class that impacted Kate was the Representation in Media course. She got to look at how people are underrepresented and misrepresented in the media. She would then come up with ways to address those things with other students in their creation of media content. It was a course she wouldn’t have normally taken as a social work major but was able to enroll in and learn about a different interest. She recalls finding it fascinating to “learn and be able to figure out how to be part of the solutions and create content that doesn’t have to be part of that [misrepresentational] pattern in the media.”

Joining the Honors program is something Kate strongly recommends. She explains, “It’s not an increased workload; it’s different perspectives and fun topics you get to have discussions about and do cool projects that really give you a better perspective on the world.”

Future Plans 
After she graduates, Kate plans to continue working at UWEC as the Mail Room and Desk Supervisor. She’s excited to explore social work later in her life. Kate has appreciated and enjoyed the opportunities UWEC has given her, from research to leadership roles to job opportunities.