Recent graduate Whitney Tank discusses how she rose above adversity in her last year of school

Whitney Tank is a recent graduate of the Environmental Science program and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Environmental Science & Policy. Whitney was completing her degree when she discovered she had a life-threatening birth defect which forced her to stop school and pursue treatment, which resulted in her undergoing several surgeries. Despite these setbacks and needing to use crutches to get around campus, Whitney rose above adversity and finished her classes and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. “They were offering to let me drop out when we were talking to the dean,” Whitney said, “and I was like, ‘I’m not dropping out.’”

[Note to reader: this video includes information about UW-Green Bay’s Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science]

Transcript: Last year, I ended up in the hospital twice, with missing two weeks of school total. I had a birth defect we didn’t know about, in my back, that caused the main vein for my left leg to clot off because it was scarred shut. And they fixed it, didn’t realize how diseased my vein was from clotting my entire life, because my lungs are also scarred from PEs (pulmonary embolism) that we didn’t know I had. And I went in for three more surgeries and now I’m still in recovery. I came back like two days after my surgeries to take tests or to be in class. And despite missing so many of my classes and recovering, I still came out with a 4.0. I can’t believe I did that. I don’t know how I did that. Because my doctors are all like, “you shouldn’t be alive right now.” And that’s what I was being told for two weeks. They were saying, like, offering to let me drop out when we were talking to the dean, and I was like, “I’m not dropping out.”

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