The 634 graduates who participated in Saturday’s commencement ceremony had plenty to reflect on from their time at UW-Green Bay.
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For Phoenix soccer’s Chanel Aries, it was applied learning and a one-of-a-kind education. For Heba Mohammad, a 2012 UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award recipient, it was involvement outside the classroom as well as in. And for Seenia Thao, who with fellow senior Jenny Mottl made history as the first Phuture Phoenix program graduates of UW-Green Bay, it was a global perspective — and an appreciation for her alma mater that deepens every day.
“It’s been crazy. Everything I’ve done has been amazing — it really has been,” said Mohammad, who graduated summa cum laude with majors in History and Political Science. “And it’s sad to see it end but I’m sure that all the skills that I’ve picked up from all the opportunities that I’ve had and the people I’ve met will serve me really well in the future. And I’m excited to represent UWGB after this.”
For Aries, who graduated with a Communication degree, applied learning was one of the biggest takeaways from her time at UW-Green Bay.
“Green Bay is more of a hands-on school, and I find what I’ve learned in the classroom I can really apply outside of the classroom,” said Aries, of Alberta, Canada. “And I am extremely excited for that and I don’t think that I could replace it with any other education.”
Thao, who wore a Phuture Phoenix lapel pin to mark her milestone graduation, said UW-Green Bay has prepared her for her next steps — she’s starting graduate school at UW-Madison in the fall.
“I think it made me see the world more globally,” said Thao, a Social Work grad. “You know, Green Bay is a small college and it’s very community-oriented — and I grew up in Green Bay — but everything offered here really stimulated all my experiences and really made me see the world differently.
Mohammad, whose multifaceted University involvement included a year as Student Government Association president, said extracurricular activities were a crucial part of her UW-Green Bay experience.
“Academics is one thing,” Mohammad said, “but if you are involved in something and have a great support system, it just helps elevate your academic career and encourage you to do well — as well as developing those skills outside of class that you can incorporate in the classroom as well, and vice versa.”
Thao was among many grads who had mixed emotions when commencement day dawned. Excited for what’s next, Thao said she’d also miss the place that helped prepare her for the future.
“I love UW-Green Bay,” Thao said, “and every day I appreciate it even more. Especially today. It’s a very, very, very great day for everyone at UW-Green Bay.”