“Unlimited potential” is how chair of the UW-Green Bay’s Political Science program, Associate Prof. Aaron Weinschenk describes UW-Green Bay student Emily Zilliox, a fall 2019 recipient of the Wisconsin Women in Government Scholarship award.
Zilliox is a junior majoring in Political Science and Democracy and Justice Studies with an emphasis in Women’s and Gender Studies. She also has a minor in Public Administration. In fall 2019, she received a scholarship from the nonprofit organization Wisconsin Women in Government—not an easy feat. The scholarship is intended for women who plan to pursue careers in public service, public administration or governmental affairs. Those selected for the scholarship must demonstrate their leadership abilities and positive contributions to society. Zilliox said she is proud and honored to be acknowledged and awarded a scholarship.
“Going into the public sector can often feel like a thankless job, so getting recognition like this really serves to lift you up,” she said.
Zilliox is chair of the Health and Safety Committee for Student Government, vice president of Theta Eta Alpha and vice president of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance. She is also a student employee, working as a student lead at the David A. Cofrin Library. She is committed to continuous improvement, and this commitment is evident to her faculty advisors.
“If Emily tells you she is going to do something, she will do it,” states Weinschenk in his recommendation letter for her scholarship application. “Emily is exactly the type of student you want to have in your classes—she shares her ideas, works well with others, does what she says she’ll do and maintains a positive attitude.”
It’s her professors that have been influential to her success, Zilliox said. When asked what her favorite part of UW-Green Bay is, Zilliox’s response… “One hundred percent the professors. The faculty of all the areas I am involved in have helped and supported me since I was a freshman, and I really cannot even put into words all that they’ve done or how thankful I am.”
Not only is Zilliox, a LaCrosse, Wis. native, incredibly active on campus, but an internship with the Green Bay Mayor’s Office has expanded her responsibilities and her opportunities. Zilliox is also dedicated to helping the surrounding community through this internship — a position she gained with the help of Associate Prof. Katia Levintova (Global Studies and Political Science). Her main task is to work on figuring out the logistics for a new Public Safety building for the City of Green Bay.
“It has been a really fun experience, and it’s taught me a lot about how local government works,” she reflected.
Her fall 2019 semester wasn’t without some difficulty. After learning she earned the scholarship, she soon learned she would need an emergency surgery, which was a setback for her. Once again, it was her perseverance and the willingness of the faculty that helped her get back on her feet.
“I had a medical issue this semester, and all the professors have gone above and beyond to help me catch up and even checked in to make sure I was okay,” she explained, “which is something that really meant a lot to me.”
Through everything Zilliox has experienced, from both successes and challenges in her college career, she credits her father for motivating her and influencing her to continue working hard and having an impact on what she does. While political role models include Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Zilliox credits her father with being her greatest role model.
“My mother passed away when I was four, and he really just became the ultimate parent and taught me so many life lessons, like personal responsibility, having a good work ethic and taking pride in the work you do while staying humble,” Zilliox said. “He really is the hardest working and strongest person I know, and even though we don’t agree on everything politically, I do try to make him proud in everything I do.”
When Zilliox graduates from UW-Green Bay, she hopes to continue to make her father proud by creating a lasting impact in Wisconsin.
“I would love to work as a legislative aide in a State Assembly person’s office in Madison,” she says. “My big dream is to become a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, but we will work our way towards that.”
Based on Zilliox’s accomplishments and passion to succeed, her future is certainly bright!
Story by Marketing and University Communication student assistant Emily Gerlikovski