As an athlete, student, mentor and Christian, Kara Baugrud, the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Student Award, feels her journey at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has helped her develop a love for learning, and a love for leading.
Baugrud will graduate this year with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and a minor in Spanish. An accomplished soccer player, Baugrud received a varsity letter for athletics in Spring 2018, and was class captain of the women’s soccer team during her freshman and sophomore years on the team. While injury sidelined her participation on the team, it did not hinder her from participating in Athletes in Action, a faith-based organization for athletes.
As a leader in Athletes in Action, Baugrud has worked to mentor other athletes in their journey of faith, organizing Bible studies every Wednesday night for women athletes. Baugrud said her involvement in the group has helped her to both grow as a leader and to help others grow as leaders as well.
An exceptional student, Baugrud has consistently earned honors and high honors throughout her academic career. During her time at UW-Green Bay, Baugrud also worked as a student-athlete tutor, and maintained employment at a local Planet Fitness. She used her soccer abilities to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, playing soccer with the children there. At Spring Lake Church, Baugrud served as a volunteer in the nursery.
Baugrud says her time at the University helped her to realize what she wants to accomplish after graduation. Involvement in the Health Science Club and the Advanced Microbiology class motivated her participation with the Tiny Earth initiative — a student-focused crowdsourcing project that seeks to find antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses. Started at Yale University by Jo Handelsman, and further developed by Handelsman at UW-Madison, the Tiny Earth project brings together a network of instructors and students to work in concert with one another to build and maintain a database of information for use by scientists for generations to come.
“Being a part of this nationwide crowdsourcing effort has been exciting and incredibly important,” Baugard says. “The Tiny Earth initiative is a program determined to find new antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses. This program has brought incredible value not only to my experience here at UW-Green Bay, but to my experience as a Human Biology student in the United States. To be a part of such a huge crowdsourcing effort has been rewarding to say the least. I am thrilled to continue on this journey through the rest of the semester.”
Her educational experiences, she says, have helped her to become a lifelong learner and truly value the gift of education.
“When I think about myself as a freshman, I picture a younger woman looking to get good grades and move on to the next thing,” she says. “Now, I have grown to know that this institution grants us so much more than that. I am blessed to have developed a love for learning and a passion for sharing knowledge with others. This is something I hope to carry on to the next adventure in my life, knowing that I received the extraordinary gift from my time here at UW-Green Bay.”
And she says she will value also the treasured relationships she developed with her professors, a gift she says she hopes to share with others.
“One of the most rewarding parts of my educational experience has been all of the relationships I’ve made with many of the faculty. I know without a doubt that I can go to many of these now lifelong friends for advice or just to catch up and talk about things. These professors have enabled me to dive into the material and they have pushed me to become a better learner day by day,” she says. “I am eager to advise anyone who asks that they should keep this University in mind when deciding where to go. My younger brother, in fact, has been looking at schools for a little while now and I’ve taken him around the University just so I could give him concrete examples of all of the classes, places and atmospheres that I love.”