The heart of the Honors Program is really the students and faculty who put their time and energy into it. A few of these aforementioned people will be graduating this spring 2020 despite all of the challenges presented by the new coronavirus. Olivia Jonasen, Clare McCarty, and Laura Wilson are valued student staff members who are both University Honors [AND] UWEC graduates in May 2020.
For Olivia Jonasen (pictured above crossing the finish line at the Eau Claire marathon), an Accounting and Economics double major, Honors has been a wonderful opportunity to meet new people. Being the Honors Experience Coordinator and Student Office Manager has taught her many skills such as time management which she will be utilizing during her job at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause as an audit associate. Reminiscing on her 4 years spent in the Honors Program, Olivia will miss hanging out in the Honors Commons along with competing with the UWEC triathlon club and presenting with her economics research team. She is excited to meet new people during this big life transition.
Olivia has been getting through distance learning by spending quality time with her parents and cats, in addition to calling with her friends. Even though not being able to spend her final days on campus, Olivia exhibits her usual positive attitude, “I'm really appreciative that we are all able to continue our studies online, and that I'll still be able to complete my degrees and graduate this semester.” Participating in all that UWEC has to offer, Olivia is even more of a lovely and hard-working person.
No stranger to hard work (having taken on three jobs while completing her degree), Clare McCarty feels fortunate to have picked up many relevant skills while working as the Media Manager for the Honors Program. In addition to these skills, she says that “It is very inspiring to work on a team with incredibly motivated and talented people who enjoy the work they do.”
To keep up her schoolwork for online distancing, Clare has found it best to stick to a schedule so as not to surrender to the “senior slide”. She also looks forward to walking her dog Louie between completing her to-do list. Although the situation is not ideal, Clare feels very lucky to be healthy and happy. She will miss the beautiful campus (“even the freezing footbridge in the winter!”) and all that the city of Eau Claire has to offer such as the nice walking trails and delicious food. However, Clare plans to move to the Twin Cities where there is also an abundance of good eats. She will be pursuing a PR job in the area of political communications.
In Laura Wilson’s college career, she has always been busy, but is very appreciative to have spent much of her time in the Honors Program. As a student staff member and the HSSC President she has learned about the value of being involved in something you love. As a Biology and Creative Writing double major, Laura has participated in a wide range of activities and has become a well-spoken, well-rounded individual.
Laura is happy about the flexibility currently provided by online learning, but misses connecting with classmates and professors in person. She will also miss the atmosphere of the Honors Program, which she has many things to say about. “I’ve met some of the most dedicated, kind people through Honors and I’ll miss seeing and conquering the world with them every week.” After graduating, Laura will be taking a much deserved gap year to decide whether she will attend graduate school for sustainability or writing. Despite completing her college career at UWEC, Laura is excited to be staying in Eau Claire so that she can come visit the Honors Commons and check in on Kudos and the plants.
Congratulations, ladies! Each of these individuals has contributed something special to the Honors Program. We will miss you, but we are so excited to witness your many future accomplishments.