Passion, leadership, and service are a few of the commendable characteristics required to be awarded the Ronald E. Mickel Honors Program Scholarship. Nevaria Rumery, the recipient of this scholarship, has embodied these qualities throughout her four years at UW- Eau Claire.
The Mickel Scholarship recognizes the legacy of UW-Eau Claire’s former Honors Program director. Mickel began working with the department of history, before assuming the role as department chair, and then interim dean of graduate studies. From the commencement of the Honors Program in 1983, to his retirement in 2003, Mickel served as director.
Rumery —a fourth-year rehabilitation science student— said that the Honors Program has shaped her education experience. “Being in the Honors Program has brought so many opportunities to discuss with [my] peers, find topics that are interesting to [me], and get comfortable in different environments,” Rumery said.
She explained that these skills have proved useful through her involvement in the local organization P.R.I.D.E. Standing for Physical Activity and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities in the Eau Claire area, Rumery said this experience is what she chose as the topic for her Mickel Scholarship application essay. Heather Fielding, Honors Director, noted that the scholarship committee was impressed by the depth of Rumery's commitment to her community through her work with P.R.I.D.E.
Rumery said, “The Honors Program and the P.R.I.D.E. program have been my main two things in college that have made my experience what it is.” Rumery explained that to get involved in P.R.I.D.E. there is an application process and recalled how she was one of the few first-year students that was accepted.
Part of the program requires students to take a course through the kinesiology department, their junior year. Rumery said her kinesiology professors have helped guide her into following her passion and learning more. Rumery elected to do an honors contract to develop her knowledge; she completed additional research and coursework to further enrich her experience with the program. “I applied all the strategies that I learned through the research to the kids I worked with.” Rumery said, “I learned how to adapt with each child.” She has grown with the program, as she now serves in a mentorship role for incoming students.
These leadership skills have also proved beneficial in the classroom. She is currently an Honors Mentor for the First-Year Honors Seminar course. Both mentorship roles allow her to make people feel comfortable and pursue new opportunities, she said. “Along with P.R.I.D.E., this mentoring experience with communication and discussions really helps with what I want to do,” Rumery said.
These experiences have fueled her passion and motivation for working with and helping people. Because of P.R.I.D.E., Rumery aspires to become an occupational therapist and work with children with disabilities. “I just love working with individuals with disabilities and feel that I can really make a difference in promoting physical activity to that population.” Rumery is in the process of applying to graduate school.