Student Biographies

Lakayana Drury

I grew up in liberal Madison, Wisconsin, a metropolitan hub known for its political activity and beautiful architecture in a city nestled between two lakes. Madison is a city of ideas and people, and throughout my childhood and into my adolescence I was shaped by experiences with both of these forces that gave me an appreciation for diversity, an independent spirit, and an eye for adventure. I am an avid reader of historical figures and political philosophy. I enjoy playing basketball and soccer, watching football, long walks, journaling and traveling. Prior to attending UW-Stout I worked in custodial and warehouse industries before I became involved on campus, and now dedicate most of my time to political organizing and social activism.

After completing my general requirements at a technical college in my home city of Madison, Wisconsin, I set my sights on a four year college to pursue my undergraduate degree. My sister was attending UW-Stout at the time and was enjoying her experience. Upon further investigation I learned UW-Stout had developed a new major beginning that coming fall called Applied Social Science. The concentration in History and Politics immediately spoke to my interests and was complimented nicely by the transfer courses I would be bringing in.

Still, I wasn’t overly excited about college and as a late transfer student I was placed in temporary housing in one of the dorm basements. Looking back a year and a half later, there is nothing temporary about my feelings towards UW-Stout; I now consider it my home. Not only do I like my classes, but the combination of course material and inspiring professors awakened a passion inside of me for education and for the struggle toward self-determination. My experience at the school has revolutionized my academic performance as well as personal goals.

In my time at UW-Stout, the Applied Social Science program has given me a newfound love for education as well as a passion for social activism. I plan on pursuing both interests as I enter my final semester of my undergraduate degree and look toward the future. Already I have an internship with the Obama Campaign of 2012 as a student organizer on campus and immediately following graduation I plan on becoming a full time organizer for the campaign.
After the 2012 election I plan on attending law school in Chicago or the east coast and studying civil law. My undergraduate degree in Applied Social Science will compliment my future studies and provide a solid foundation heading into law school. This is what I plan for the foreseeable future, after which the possibilities are endless. The beauty of the future is that of the unknown, and I am very excited to see how it unfolds. Possible paths include living and working abroad in a foreign country, possibly in Africa, or organizing an international grassroots movement. I take life one step at a time and continue to put my best foot forward- carpe diem.

Xanthi Gerasimo

Xanthi Gerasimo
Having grown up on a farm and in an outdoor enthusiast family, much of my childhood was spent camping and traveling. I still love everything outdoors; from rock climbing to canoeing to winter camping. My heart is in the wild places of the world. I've called Wisconsin home for my whole life, but I also lived in the Chicago area for a few years. I currently teach martial arts, work with Minnesota Youth Rugby, and work for the University Honors Program. I joined rugby my freshmen year, and that has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I've played everywhere from Las Vegas to Canada, cultivated incredible leadership and organizational  experiences, and made great friends. Rugby has given me opportunity to play a sport at a higher level than I ever thought possible.
I came to UW Stout with all intentions of transferring to a liberal arts college after taking a year of general credits; however the social science department and the new APSS major truly impressed me. The passion everyone had for the new major and for our growth as students stood out. That passion has not decreased at all, the amount of one-on-one attention I am receiving from professors and staff is amazing. The education I have received here at stout exceeded all my expectations; the major strikes a great balance of a broad-based education, with very job based specific skills.
I currently have a research internship with Minnesota Youth Rugby, helping them to better focus their resources in order to increase participation in the sport. I'm only in my Junior year, so I haven't started applying for jobs, but I know that the education and experience I am gaining will make me very competitive whatever I decide to do. The great thing about this major is that while I am gaining some very specific skill sets, it will leave me with a lot of flexibility.

Scott Perlick

Scott PerlickI grew up on a family farm in northwestern Wisconsin and graduated from Spooner High School in 2005.  After high school I went into active duty Air Force where I became a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Specialist. After active duty I decided I’d like to earn my college degree and, since I was from the area, decided to attend UW-Stout. After starting college I was able to enter back in the services with the Air Reserves in Minneapolis. Now I am in my last year of my college experience and projected to Graduate in May of 2012. In college I have been a part of many organizations including, Phi Sigma Phi National Fraternity, College Republicans, Inter-fraternal Counsel, wrote for the school newspaper, the Stoutonia, and participated in other organizations around campus. In the Spring of 2011 I had the opportunity to study abroad in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  This was an amazing experience that allowed me to study and live with people from all over the world.  The experience also opened my eyes to how the rest of the world acts and thinks outside of the United States.

When I first started to attend the college I was undecided in what I wanted to do.  I looked around at many of the programs and decided none of them really interested me. I was almost ready to transfer schools until I took a sociology class and learned about a new program the social science department was developing called Applied Social Science.  The description of the program fit with what I was interested in, the professors were all great, and it seemed like a challenge where a lot could be learned and not just graded.

Since starting the program I feel I have gotten a much better understanding of why and how the world works around us.  More importantly than the course material, readings, homework, and discussion is the ability to think and analyze whatever I might come across in my life. To me this is more important than being trained for a specific job. With this ability I can learn what I need in whatever career I choose, and is a skill that will benefit myself and those around me for the rest of my life.  Another important aspect of the program is the autonomy and close relationships students share with professors.  There is not a strict course structure for students to follow, which allows for students to study what they find interesting or beneficial for them.

My future plans are to utilize what I’ve learned at school and in the military to attend Law school in Minneapolis. At law school I wish to study International Law.  I’d like to work later in life for a government agency or a law firm that deals in international business; finding a job that allows me to travel the world is very important to me.  After I’ve experienced all that I can I’d like to move back to the farm.  At some point I would like to become a high school social science teacher at the school I attended growing up.  I feel it would be the best way to give others the same experiences and opportunities that I have had.