Your life is what you make of it: that’s what Roseanne Nooren understood when she started her first year at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. As a first year Honors student, Roseanne knew she wanted to make the most out of her undergraduate career by participating in undergraduate research, studying abroad, and getting involved in the UW-Eau Claire community.
After her freshman year, Roseanne spent a summer abroad, studying at the Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute in Florence, Italy. There she explored a new culture by traveling and taking an Italian cooking course. She also learned about the rich history of the Neapolitan region through an amazing course she took.
Once back in Eau Claire, Roseanne began her involvement within the UW-Eau Claire community. She became an active member of the University Activities Commission, helping organize events on campus. She also became a certain infamous, mythical bird that graces the Eau Claire campus. Through these experiences in the community and as the school mascot, Roseanne began to feel deeply connected to UW-Eau Claire, a place she began to see as home.
Conducting Groundbreaking Research
As a biochemistry and molecular biology major, Roseanne joined a research team conducting ecological research on Wisconsin deep-water moss. Under the direction of Dr. David Lonzarich, this pioneering research project aimed to better understand the mosses that live at depths where little aquatic vegetation survives.
Roseanne quickly learned that resiliency and perseverance are key research skills. Going into this research experience, she had expected “to get everything right, right away,” but later she began to understand that “really, that’s not how research or life works. You need to learn how to pick yourself up and keep going.” Roseanne remarked, “If there was a day we didn’t fail more than three times, we would say we didn’t do research that day.” As they created a protocol from scratch, there were many times Roseanne and the rest of her research team would struggle to find techniques that would work. However, through perseverance and dedication, the research team was able to find an effective protocol and continue the research.
Involvement in Honors
Roseanne was also actively involved in the Honors community. During her first year at UW-Eau Claire, Roseanne lived in Bridgman Hall and participated in the University Honors LLC. Roseanne also served as a mentor a section of first year Honors students, leading her own weekly course meeting with a co-mentor. These experiences beyond the classroom enabled Roseanne to positively impact her community and to hone her leadership and communication skills.
Her honors coursework supported Roseanne in developing new intellectual interests beyond her major. One of her favorite Honors courses was Ojibwe History and Culture, taught by Dr. Wendy Geniusz. This course opened up new perspectives and gave Roseanne space to reflect on her own privilege. She tells us that her Honors courses enriched her education by encouraging her to explore diversity, inclusion, interdisciplinarity, and other critical issues she might not otherwise have encountered.
Where Is She Now?
Roseanne joins our class of accomplished 2020 graduates. Currently, she is finishing up her research project, working to publish by early spring. She has applied to several graduate molecular biology programs as well as interviewing for a few jobs in the biochemistry field. If she has learned anything from this year, it is to remain open to and positive about what lies ahead.