Meet Aurora Henriksen ’20, Physics and Math

I grew up in a small town in northern Norway, so it was totally different than here. It is very cold where I grew up and there are a lot of mountains, so we do a lot of skiing and things like that. I came here as an exchange student, at Fulton High School, so I got to see the William Woods campus and learn the area. William Woods gave me the opportunity to play soccer here and I really liked the programs that were available here. So after I did a full year at Fulton High School, and then another back at my home high school, I came back to Fulton to attend William Woods. Our final year of classes in Norway count as college credit, so I brought along some extra credits when I enrolled here, but love William Woods and want to play four full years of soccer and am finishing up my time here.

I think experiencing an American high school and getting a cultural understanding before coming to college here helped me feel more at home at William Woods. I have had some of the same experiences as American students so I can relate to them as well as the other international students. 

Choosing the sciences

Growing up I actually thought I wanted to be an English teacher. For me, I had to decide based on what I wanted to do in high school. In Norway, our education system splits up based on what you want to do in high school. You can get a more technical license or you can choose to specialize in a certain area to prepare for more schooling. I eventually chose the sciences because that is the best program to keep your options open and continue to go to school. 

I actually really ended up loving science classes though and we have a great physics professor here at William Woods. 

Alpha Chio Omega at WWU

Becoming involved 

I am involved in quite a bit on campus. I am on the soccer team, and though I was initially hesitant, went through sorority recruitment and found a chapter that I love. Through the sorority, I have been encouraged to find more places to lead on campus. I joined student alumni council and I am the junior/senior class president. I am also a member of President’s Twenty and a community advisor in a residence hall. Off-campus, I stay involved with the exchange program that I was a part of in high school. I enjoy being a resource for the students who are now coming over as exchange students and helping guide them based on my experience. 

A variety of classes 

I really like the mechanical side of physics. I took classical mechanics recently and it was just myself and the professor in the class. It was great, because we went exactly at my pace. If I didn’t understand something we stopped and worked on it until I was comfortable with it. Then this semester, I am taking a coding class. I have never been into computers or video games, so I was a little worried. I am really enjoying it though. It has opened my eyes to so many other possibilities and it’s just fun to problem-solve in that way. 

My hope right now is to continue on into graduate school and probably focus on math, but use my physics knowledge for that. In my country, there is not a big focus on the higher-level math knowledge, so I think that would be really beneficial. 

The physics is kind of the application side of math. So, it’s great to actually see how physics and math can work together. For my senior project, I am actually looking at doing a project where we use physics to solve a math problem, since usually you do it the opposite way. 

Panhellenic at WWU

Busy days with good people 

Right now, I am in-season with soccer so it’s very busy. Most of my classes are earlier in the day, and then I usually have weights with Bob Jones or soccer practice. In between those, I am trying to squeeze in doing my job as a community advisor and my activities for my organizations. Any free time beyond that I am studying and getting any homework done. When the soccer season is over, it definitely calms down, but it can still be pretty busy around campus. 

I have learned at William Woods that most people want to see you do well. When you run for a position, people want to see you succeed and if you don’t get that position, it is often because something else is a better fit for you. Since it’s a smaller campus, it’s like a family environment. 

WWU also does a good job of making sure international students are included in everything. For example, during finals week, parents can send packages to students through the school, and faculty and staff will buy some for the international students, since it can be hard for their families to do it in time through the school. 

Aurora playing soccer

One of my favorite memories at William Woods was a soccer match my freshmen year. We were playing Park University towards the end of the season so it was cold out, but the stands were still full and we could hear everyone cheering for us. We went into overtime and then also went into penalty kicks. We finally won on our home field and made it into the post-season. The fans came into the field cheering and it was a great experience.