William Woods is the best college experience that I thought I could have had. The campus is gorgeous. The faculty has been amazing – they are so friendly and you can go to them with anything. It is a welcoming place, and I lucked out by finding it by chance. I was looking for a school that had a smaller enrollment of under 7,000 students and did not want a college close to home. I wanted a college that had Education and American Sign Language and a bunch of extra curriculars. Only about four or five results for colleges popped up on the search engine that I was using. This was the second college I visited, and I liked the campus as soon as I got here.
Earning the highest scholarship honor: McNutt Scholar
The McNutt Scholar process is that you must have a minimum 31 ACT and go through an interview process. I did my interview by phone; for someone who lives closer, I am sure they can do it in person. You must submit an essay and a basic resume. I was looking for scholarships when applying to WWU when I saw the McNutt Scholarship, and my advisor told me to look at it because I fit the requirements. So I wrote my essay, and called and scheduled my interview. One day during April in my senior year, I got called down to the principal’s office. I was going like “oh my gosh! What did I do? What happened?” My admissions counselor was there, and they told me that I had won the scholarship. I was jumping for joy!
Enhancing the educational experience with the Honor’s Program
The Honor’s program takes your general education requirements to the next level with deeper critical thinking,problem solving and real-life application. The Honor’s class that I am in is the Art Application class. The others we had previously done in my time here are Critical Thinking, Biomedical Ethics, Shakespeare and the Devil (an interesting literature course); next semester we have the World Religions class. We have Honor’s dinners once a month, where we talk about various issues proposed by members of the honor’s counsel.
We must be a presence on campus just to remind people that we have a large scope of students that have strong academic abilities. I think the best part of the Honors program is both the people and the professors. Everyone in the group is hard-working and determined to persevere in college, and they constantly inspire me to do my best. Also, the professors that teach the honors classes have ended up being some of the most interesting people I have ever met.
One example was the Royal American history with Dr. Craig Smith fall semester of my sophomore year, one of the many history courses at WWU. This course was essay-based and focused on all American history before the Revolutionary War. We went into deep detail, with a lot of discussion. We had to do a lot of critical thinking about what the impact of specific events had on history, which you might do some of in the standard history course, but not to the level or extent of the honor’s class. We did a lot of reading where we went in and highlighted and dissected the material.
Excelling in the Education Department
I think the department is the perfect size. The atmosphere in the Education department is welcoming and friendly. The professors are willing to sit down and help you. I like all my professors personally; they are easy to communicate with and I think they are fantastic both as teachers and people. Dr. Jim Concannon, who is my advisor, is always willing to help and his Teaching Science class has been both educational and hilarious. I have had for a few classes with Professor Joe Davis, and he has a real-life scenario for whatever he is teaching. Dr. Emily Turner is approachable, friendly, and has introduced me to new ways of thinking about math. Dr. Rachel Turney is very passionate about literacy and has inspired me to emphasize the importance of literacy in my life.
One lesson that stood out to me was the concept of growth mindset, which I didn’t learn about until the end of my freshmen year. It is the idea of emphasizing the process of learning, and how you grow just by the fact that you get up every day to come to school. That if you try your hardest you are going to grow, and you are never failing a class because you haven’t mastered something yet. F is not a failing grade – it just means that you have not mastered the material yet.
Minoring in American Sign Language
I think American Sign Language is something everyone should take a course or two on. It is something that is good to have the basics of. You learn a lot of about deaf culture in basic ASL I and II classes. The professors there are great. Professors Carrie McCray and Jessica Brown are wonderful people and excellent teachers. Brown and McCray are approachable and down to earth; they want you to succeed and are willing to help you however they can to make that happen. Also, they have the best stories.
I did some theatre in high school. When I arrived at William Woods, I wandered in and asked if I could help, though I was not majoring or minoring in Theatre. They invited me to come in and introduced me to student organizations and mainstage productions. I ended up trying out, loved it and have never left. I loved all my fellow cast members and the professors Joe Potter and Melissa Alpers-Springer.
I have a couple favorites. “Peter and Wendy” my freshman year was fun to do because it was my first one stage experience. My favorite part of “Peter/Wendy” was the message behind it that innocence and childhood is fleeting, so treasure it. Also, it was so physical because we were supposed to be emulating children – there was dancing, fighting, climbing. I was exhausted at the end of each show. “Men on Boats” was also a lot of fun. My role in “Men on Boats” was that of Frank Goodman, and later of Mr. Asa. Honestly, I loved my role. Goodman was an easy character to relate to, and he had some moments that I adored in the script. Playing a character I enjoyed made rehearsals fun and engaging.
The next mainstage production is the “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a Professor Potter show. I play the role of Uncle Brierly/Sir Guy of Gisborne who is the villain and it is appropriate for all ages and is based on the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” It will be fast and easy and full of Christmas Spirit.
Getting involved on campus
I am acting President of Alpha Psi of Omega, the honor society for theatre on campus and treasurer of Jesters Theatre company. I have attended meetings for Ed Rising and Sustaining the Woods. I am also apart of First Impressions Choir.
Alpha Psi Omega is the national honors theatre society we have on campus. We try to do a couple of unique events each year. Last year, the biggest event was the drag show that we put on that had great attendance. We are hoping to do that in the spring. We are also planning on doing movie nights and talk about theater and what its connections are to other areas. Our recent one we did theatre and film with the similarities and differences between the two.
Jesters is the student-run theatre organization where we do a show every semester. We pick the show and design the show, cast and direct. We try to do shows that are a little less mainstream as you can tell. For example, our recent show “5 Lesbians eating a Quiche” is interesting. I am the treasurer for Jesters. I manage the money side and make sure everyone gets to go where they need to go and have all the stuff they need to have.
Ed Rising is our education-based student club on campus where we host a few events during the year. We reach out to the local schools and talk about events with them and events they do. Our emphasis with them is that Education is important for all ages.
First Impressions choir is the student-run choir here on campus. We have done a variety of concerts in the past, including Disney, Christmas and Country. We will debut our concert Ladies’ Choice here in a few weeks.
Summing up the William Woods experience
William Woods has been a far better and more interesting experience than I thought it could have been. Students should come to William Woods because if you let The Woods be a place where you feel comfortable and safe, then it will become and home away from home for you.