Grad Profile: Mandy Abel

Mandy Abel from Sherwood, Oregon, will be graduating from WOU with a degree in Earth Science and a minor in Public Policy and Administration

Why did you choose WOU?

It was close to home, which was very important to me, had a small average class size, and is a public university so I knew it would accept my IEP and provide the academic accommodations I needed. I was right; the Office of Disability Services has always been very easy to work with and supportive to me.

What do you love most about WOU?

The trees of campus have a special place in my heart! So do the squirrels!

What do you love most about the degree you completed?

My major and minor both allowed me to specialize somewhat, be that with the classes I took or the opportunities that I got.

What have some of your extracurriculars been? 

I have been an earth science tutor of the Science Center for nearly three years. This fall, I took a political science internship class and got to work on a project for the Luckiamute Watershed Council. In the last year, I became a member of the new Disability awareness club, D.R.E.A.M. All of these have either built my resume, added to my education, or helped me to grow as a person. My experience at Western would have been very different, and not offered me quite as much, if I had not gotten involved in these extracurriculars.

What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?

Hands down, participating in my senior Academic Excellence showcase has been my biggest college accomplishment. I committed to two poster sessions and a presentation, and, somehow, I did it all.

Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you? 

My major and minor advisers have been very impactful for me. Thanks to them, I don’t get as scared thinking about my future as I used to.

What will you miss most about college?

I’ll miss the family feeling of a close-knit major department. I made a lot of good friends and connections with faculty.

What are your plans for after graduation?

For this next year, I plan on taking a break to slow down and figure out what I really want to do, but I do have my eyes set on graduate school, most likely for water management and policy.

What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?

Study hard, and study often. Take full advantage of the many services and opportunities available to you. Go to Science and Math tutoring, or get the Writing Center to look over your paper. Get involved in a club or two you’re interested in. Go to the gym, the student health and wellness center, or Service Learning and Career Development for a mock interview. Find a good advisor to help you along the way. All of these things and more are being offered to you as a student at WOU. You might as well use them to make the most of your years at WOU!

What do you know now that you wish you knew your first term in college?

Finals week isn’t that scary. Study—of course—get good sleep, and eat healthily beforehand. Don’t forget to breathe. Taking my first college final wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined it would be.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

I really love the Natural Science building, though I am a little biased because my department is housed there. In the last three years I’ve had my major declared, it has become my home away from home. Earth Science majors all get keys for the place so we can work after hours as needed. I tend to use them a lot for that purpose.

Did you have any funny mishaps or moments of confusion when you first started at WOU?

One of the first times I went back to the Natural Science lab—specifically the downstairs lab—after classes had concluded for the day, it was late, dark outside, and I was working alone. I wasn’t aware of two things: the night custodians were cleaning and the boiler room was down the hall where it periodically let off steam. Suffice to say, the first time I heard distant footfalls and that steam eject, I nearly ran up the stairs and out of the building.

What’s the most important lesson you learned about yourself while in college?

It’s okay not to be able to do everything by yourself. Ask for help when you need it—there’s no shame in that.

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