What made you choose this major?
I knew my love of animals was drawing me toward a career in veterinary medicine, but I didn’t know what undergraduate path I wanted to take. I found myself fascinated by the content of BIO120, and a biology major included many of the prerequisites necessary for veterinary school. My decision to major in professional writing was inspired by how much I enjoyed my first-year writing seminar. Writing had always been one of my strengths and I was really fascinated by all of the writing courses that Carroll offered. Adding professional writing provided a lot of cross-disciplinary benefits, such as improving the quality of my research papers, while also giving me a creative outlet to balance my scientific course load.
How has what you’ve learned in your courses so far prepared you for your future?
My biology courses have given me a basic foundation of health science that I will need to draw upon during my years in veterinary school. They have also taught me how to conduct scientific research and write scholarly journal articles. My professional writing courses have improved my writing skills as a whole while allowing me to exercise my creativity. Those skills will certainly come in handy as I begin writing personal statements for graduate schools and job applications. Furthermore, many of my writing projects required a lot of planning and independent study, which I believe will make me more self-sufficient in veterinary school and in my future career.
What opportunities have you had to work closely with a faculty member and what impact has that had on your education?
Carroll’s smaller class sizes allow professors to take a personal interest in students’ learning. Over the past three years, I’ve developed one-on-one relationships with nearly all of my professors. That’s made me feel more confident about participating and asking questions in class. Furthermore, getting to know Professor Best in my first-year English elective influenced my decision to declare professional writing as my secondary major. When I did well on assignments, he inspired me to become a better writer by challenging me to think beyond the prompt, rather than giving me an A on my first try. When I showed an interest in writing, he encouraged me to branch out into other creative writing classes. Finally, when I mentioned I would be interested in a creative Pioneer Scholars project, he took the time to meet with me to discuss my proposal and helped me create a project that greatly improved my writing credentials. I now consider writing my greatest strength in the professional world. If I had not had this relationship with Professor Best, I would never have been a writing major nor pushed myself to improve my writing skills.
What’s one of the most unique experiences you’ve had relating to the coursework in your major?
A flash fiction story in a fiction writing class. Flash fiction is relatively new to the world of creative writing and is much more experimental than traditional short stories. Writing a story in under 1000 words was certainly a challenge, but it taught me how to keep my writing concise and make each word count. The assignment also encouraged me to think outside the box, as flash fiction stories can easily take the form of prose, lists, or even mock-quizzes. It gave me such an appreciation for the genre that I decided to complete a small collection of flash fiction stories as part of a Pioneer Scholar project with Professor Best. That project ended up being the single most influential and educational experience of my entire college career.
How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person outside of the skills you’re learning in the classroom?
As a double major, I’ve still found time to participate in a wide variety of opportunities, including an additional minor and an emphasis as well as the prerequisite classes for veterinary school. I’ve frequently volunteered at the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha as a dog walker, while also completing service projects through Carroll organizations. On campus, I write for the school newspaper, The New Perspective and served as the op/ed section editor; I belong to the Carroll Players and have appeared in two campus musicals; I’m an active member of Greek Life through my sorority, Chi Omega; and I work as an orientation mentor, helping new students navigate their first year of school.
If you were recommending your major to a prospective student, what would you tell them?
If I were recommending either of my majors to a prospective student, I would tell them that there is plenty of flexibility within the program. You have a choice in many of the required classes that you take, so you can tailor your learning to your career or personal goals. You also have plenty of time to pursue your interests, whether that means adding a second major, taking an extra elective, finding a job or an internship, volunteering in the community, or participating in school organizations. The people that you meet in these majors will also be valuable resources to help you get connected with these supplemental opportunities.
Are you happy with your choice of attending Carroll University?
I honestly believe that Carroll University is the best choice that I could have made in a college. It has all of the programs I’m interested in and a wide array of classes within the biology and professional writing majors. There are also many student organizations to choose from, which have allowed me to explore a variety of interests. Most of all, I feel as though Carroll has a sense of community that other schools lack. I know a majority of the professors and professional staff and it seems as though no matter where I am on campus, there is always a friendly face nearby. Students and staff alike are more than willing to share resources and I feel as though the entire community is invested in my education. Carroll University really has given me all the tools I need to be successful.