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Trisha's Experience

Program: M.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation

Why did you choose UW-Stout?
Initially, I met with the head of the department. At the time, I was not sure if I wanted to return to school for Vocational Rehabilitation or drive to the University of Minnesota in order to obtain a master’s degree in social work. Her enthusiasm for the program convinced me to apply!

What was your favorite part of your first semester of graduate school?
Immediately, I felt like I was part of a select group of students that the professors were very interested in. It was apparent that we were not just a number and they viewed our success as students as crucial to the success of the program and university.

Was graduate school anything like you imagined it would be when you first started?
Not really. Previously, I had attended graduate school at another state university for a master’s in early childhood–special education. While I was there, I felt like there wasn’t any real interest in what I had to offer as a person or as a student. I had no idea how much better the experience could be until I attended UW-Stout.

What has been the biggest surprise for you in regards to graduate school?
How much I would miss it when I was done. I enjoy the process of learning and collaborating with other students and professors.

How has your program shaped your life and career goals?
I graduated feeling confident in what I know and how I can make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities. The professors instilled within me the confidence to believe in myself and the change I can make. I know I will take this confidence and rely on it with all of my future endeavors. While in the program, I underestimated how much the UW-Stout name stood out. Employers recognized the name and program and were immediately interested in me as a candidate.

What is one piece of advice that you wish you had received before starting graduate school?
Don’t be afraid to stand out. It’s okay to want to learn and contribute.

How would you describe the UW-Stout campus?
Menomonie is a great place to live. I had a difficult time moving up here from southern Wisconsin because I didn’t know anyone. It didn’t take me long to feel like I was established here. ... The UW-Stout campus is small, but large enough to provide everything I was interested in such as fabulous childcare options!

Tricia Thompson

"I graduated feeling confident in what I know and how I can make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities. The professors instilled within me the confidence to believe in myself and the change I can make. I know I will take this confidence and rely on it with all of my future endeavors."