Following is a Q&A with one of the 749 students who received a diploma Dec. 16 at UW-Stout.
Name: Erin Murphy
Hometown: La Crosse
Major: Plastics engineering
Awards, honors: Chancellor’s Award every semester since fall 2014
Why did you choose UW-Stout? I applied to a handful of UW schools before I toured UW-Stout, and nothing seemed to be quite the right fit. Within five minutes of having my first meeting with admissions, I knew I wanted to go to Stout. They talked about the hands-on approach that classes had and the benefits of being on a smaller campus. They even mentioned projects that involved plastic injection molding, which is what I eventually got into. I started college undeclared, though I knew I wanted to take a math or physics route. Now I am graduating early with a plastics engineering degree!
What are the biggest obstacles you faced in earning your degree? I was very introverted prior to coming to college, and I was nervous about going to a school where I hardly knew anyone. I knew that I wanted to make a big change, to be more outgoing and confident. Through joining student organizations, tutoring and taking advantage of the other opportunities that Stout has to offer, I now love talking to people, and it has been a great asset in my internship and in my major.
What stands out among your college experiences? I was on the Honors College living-learning community my first year. The friends I made on that floor have stuck with me until graduation, and I have made so many friends though my major and student groups along the way. The sense of community at Stout really stood out to me in the college experience. Stout also gave me a lot of chances to meet new people and have hands-on experiences. I was a Week One orientation leader for three years, and watching first-year students go through the same transition to college as I did was very rewarding. I also had an internship at a company that allowed me to meet so many more people, and it prepared me for my future job.
What’s next? The company that I interned with offered me a process engineering position. I will be moving to Illinois to start my engineering career with Molex.