Commencement was a beautiful sendoff for more than 330 Lawrence University graduates who are heading to locales far and wide as they begin new adventures. As Commencement speaker Anthony Mackie told the graduates on June 12, “From this day forth, you write your own story.”
We caught up with some of the 2022 graduates during their final days on campus to talk about those next steps—some starting new careers, some entering grad school, some traveling the world. Here’s what they had to say as they begin writing that next chapter.
Biologist, U.S. Geological Survey
The double major in biology and music is starting a job as a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Boise, Idaho. While Boise will be her home base, her field work will expand into other parts of the Great Basin region, including Utah and Nevada.
“I will be doing field, lab, and data work to investigate wildfires, the ways they affect soil and vegetation, and the ways we can better manage land with a focus on adaptation and restoration,” Long said. “I’m really inspired to do this type of applied science. I think wildfire is one of the most important issues of our time. It's tied to drought and climate change, and these forces together pose a huge threat, not just to public lands in the Great Basin region but to the whole world.”
“At Lawrence, I have become a field ecologist, a writer, and a computer scientist; during my next steps, I get to take these skills and use them to make a difference.”
Long said her experiences at Lawrence in the classroom, in labs, and in the field have prepared her for this work.
“At Lawrence, I have become a field ecologist, a writer, and a computer scientist; during my next steps, I get to take these skills and use them to make a difference,” she said. “I’ve done my own research in the sciences and humanities on drought, wildflowers, and environmental justice, and I’ve learned I have an important and capable perspective that I am excited to apply to a new system in a new place. I have also become a musician, a thinker, and an expert backpacker; these skills, too, will help me, not just in my job but as an adult seeking a good life within a community.”
Drone operator, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, UW-Madison
The environmental studies and geosciences double major landed a job as a drone operator in the Townsend Laboratory in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“My role will entail flying a variety of different drones to collect data to support various research projects, and analyzing that data as needed,” he said. “I am really excited about this opportunity because I really love flying drones and all that comes with it, and being able to do that as a job and get paid for it is beyond exciting. I am also really excited because I will get to travel and work in the field a lot, two of my favorite things.”
“Another lesson is that research is a long process, so take your time. Professor Jeff Clark instilled this in me during research this past summer, always reminding me to take my time, and minimize mistakes that will cost you later.”
Marsh said one of the best things he’s taken from his time at Lawrence is learning to be inquisitive. A willingness to ask questions will be key in his new work.
“Another lesson is that research is a long process, so take your time,” Marsh said. “Professor Jeff Clark instilled this in me during research this past summer, always reminding me to take my time, and minimize mistakes that will cost you later.”
Marsh also participated in the NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Research program as a Lawrence student.
“From knowing nothing, to publishing a proceedings paper, and presenting at a professional conference all in 10 weeks was quite an experience,” he said. “I learned so many lessons … that I’ll take with me to the next step and beyond.”
Graduate school at LSU, higher education administration
The government major is heading to Louisiana State University, where she will pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration while working as a graduate resident coordinator.
Working to develop community within residential spaces and support students on their college journey is familiar ground for Bryant, who was heavily involved in student government and other student life activities at Lawrence, including serving for a time as Lawrence University Community Council (LUCC) president.
“My ultimate career goal is to work in university administration, hopefully as a university president,” Bryant said. “At LSU, I am looking forward to learning as much as I can and getting experience in everything.”
“I truly feel prepared to thrive at LSU because of the lessons learned at Lawrence.”
She said her experiences both in and out of the classroom at Lawrence have given her confidence to set her own course.
“I was taught to advocate for my career, think critically, problem-solve, and make and sustain professional relationships,” Bryant said. “I truly feel prepared to thrive at LSU because of the lessons learned at Lawrence.”
Graduate school at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, translation and interpretation
The double major in music (voice) and Spanish will be pursuing a master’s degree in translation and interpretation at Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
“As a musician, the side of me that loves to work with others in real time and present a quality performance is excited by interpretation,” she said. “The side of me that loves writing and playing with words is excited by translation. Because of these two interests, I was drawn to Middlebury Institute’s unique program in both translation and interpretation.”
“My Lawrence experience has taught me that the final product is always better when we work as a team.”
After graduate school, she’s interested in a career in humanitarian settings.
“During a Spanish class I took with Professor (Rosa) Tapia—Gender, Politics, and Current Events in Spain—we were tasked with imagining a mock cultural exchange project with a Spanish humanitarian organization,” Sipe said. “The project inspired me to further explore the intersection of humanitarian work and translation and interpretation.”
Sipe said academic collaboration has been a big part of her experience at Lawrence, and she said that gives her confidence heading into grad school.
“My Lawrence experience has taught me that the final product is always better when we work as a team,” she said. “This spirit of collaboration is something I hope to bring to my future translation work.”
Graduate school, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary
The religious studies major will be attending Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in the fall in pursuit of a master’s degree in public ministry.
“The program really aligns with my dream job of becoming a researcher,” Hopkins said. “I will be taking the Racial Justice track, which focuses on social justice and real-world application with encouraged internships within the larger Chicago area. The program allows personal interests and passions to drive research and also pushes students to see and think differently.”
“That is one of the greatest lessons I've learned, to ask for help with classes, events, and life. It really is the only way to learn and grow.”
Hopkins, a leader with the LUNA (Lawrence University Native Americans) student group, said her Lawrence experience has prepared her for this next step in myriad ways.
“Ask for help,” she said. “That is one of the greatest lessons I've learned, to ask for help with classes, events, and life. It really is the only way to learn and grow.”
She also said she’s learned to make self-care a priority and that she's ready for her voice to be heard.
“What you say matters,” she said.
Admissions and academic affairs coordinator, Pre-College Division, The Juilliard School
The double major in music and philosophy will be working in the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School in New York as the admissions and academic affairs coordinator. He’ll be putting his experiences in the Lawrence Conservatory to work on the admissions end of music and arts education.
“My role involves doing work as a registrar and admissions counselor to make sure all the logistics in pre-college run smoothly for classes, lessons, and performances,” he said. “I never planned to move to New York, and, for a while, I was explicitly against it. However, when I was offered this position, there was no way I could say no. Being in the city is, for lack of a better word, absolutely insane, but in the best way possible. There’s always something happening, somewhere to be, and exciting people to meet. I’m excited to take full advantage of that.”
“I firmly believe that liberal arts graduates get jobs.”
Harvey said working in the Admissions office at Lawrence has reinforced for him the value of the liberal arts experience.
“I firmly believe that liberal arts graduates get jobs,” he said. “Throughout the application process, I was always focused on being as clear and concise as possible and really made sure to emphasize my ability to learn and adapt to changing situations.”
Business Career Foundation Program, Boeing
The economics major and Lawrence hockey player is going to work for Boeing as part of its Business Career Foundation Program.
“I will be working through five different finance rotations within Boeing’s helicopter sector,” Weyerhaeuser said. “I expect this to give me experience in a variety of business disciplines and hope it opens various doors for me after this two-year rotation.”
“I will be working through five different finance rotations within Boeing’s helicopter sector.”
In addition to his economics studies, Weyerhaeuser said his experiences with Lawrence hockey taught him valuable lessons that he will take with him.
“I hope to apply the same hard work, time management, and creative thinking skills I’ve used as a Lawrence student-athlete to the first steps of my career,” he said.
Thomas J. Watson Fellowship
The biology major is the 77th Lawrentian over the past 53 years to be awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. It provides $36,000 in funding for a year-long wanderjahr of independent travel and exploration.
McGlenn will travel to Scotland, India, Tajikistan, Senegal, and the Netherlands, seeking out communities of people involved in the creation and/or recycling of clothing while staying in harmony with the land they call home.
McGlenn said she has been fascinated by fashion since she was a toddler and expects it to be part of her life going forward. But how that ties in with her other interests, including the ways fashion can be used for good, is something she’ll have a chance to explore through her Watson experience.
“Whenever I would get nervous or overwhelmed during the application process, I would just remind myself that my plan was to go and make clothes, and I would instantly become excited again,” she said.
“Ever since I learned about it, I’ve been day-dreaming about what I would do if given the chance.”
McGlenn said she grew up hearing tales of the places that she’ll now get to visit.
“I learned about the Watson through friends who described it to me as the chance to travel the world studying something you are uniquely passionate about,” she said. “Ever since I learned about it, I’ve been day-dreaming about what I would do if given the chance.”
Graduate school at University of Leeds in U.K., English literature
The double major in English and physics received a Fulbright award to support her pursuit of a master’s degree in English literature at the University of Leeds in the U.K.
She will apply her interdisciplinary background, writing a thesis that examines representations of autistic and cognitively disabled voices in literature. Following her Fulbright year, she will be heading to Ole Miss in pursuit of her MFA in creative writing.
“I'm grateful for the flexibility, independence, and adventures I've had in undergrad.”
Chand said it was work done at Lawrence that prepared her for this opportunity, both in science labs and in the expansion of her writing. Her master’s thesis, she said, will in many ways be an extension of her undergraduate honors thesis, Charting Autistic Voices.
“I'm grateful for the flexibility, independence, and adventures I've had in undergrad,” she said. “I came into undergrad convinced that I wanted to do biophysics—which is funny in hindsight, because I spent a year between high school and college writing. Through a summer of research at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) in a biophysics lab and another summer of virtual research through a physics REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) at the University of New Mexico, as well as a virtual biomedical optics summer institute run by the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, I learned loads of valuable skills I've been able to carry with me back to Lawrence and use in my science classes. But at the end of each day, I found myself wanting to read and write. Of course, I do a bit of writing as a scientist, too. It's just not where my heart is, though.”
English teaching assistantship in Mexico
The double major in Spanish and linguistics is also a recipient of a Fulbright award. It will take her to Mexico to teach for a year.
Hermitanio, who hopes to pursue a career in speech-language pathology, said she viewed the Fulbright as an opportunity to engage more deeply with Mexico and Latin America.
“My previous engagements with the Latin-American and particularly the Mexican-American community inspired me to apply to teach in the country that many of my peers first called home,” she said.
“My classes have helped me realize that as much as language is a powerful tool for human connection, standard linguistic practices are often rooted in perspectives that uphold one community while denying others visibility."
Hermitanio called her Lawrence experience a great training ground for this next step.
“I feel like I have a unique perspective having studied linguistics at Lawrence,” she said. “My classes have helped me realize that as much as language is a powerful tool for human connection, standard linguistic practices are often rooted in perspectives that uphold one community while denying others visibility. I want to teach students to own their language and find new ways to communicate who they are. I’m excited to bring this perspective and what I’ve learned at Lawrence to my English teaching assistantship in Mexico.”