Grad Profile: Rachelle Austin

Rachelle Austin, from Keizer, is graduating this June after four years studying Chemistry with a minor in physics. She transferred from University of Oregon.

Why did you choose WOU?

I chose WOU because I was looking for a smaller town and smaller, more close-knit university.  I didn’t really enjoy having classes of 500+ students and I wanted a place where it was easier to build connections with other students and faculty, and WOU has been the perfect place for that.

What do you love most about WOU?

I love how there are so many support systems for students here. There is a really big focus here on helping students to be as successful as possible, from the tutoring centers and scholarships to the professors. The amount of help I have gotten from WOU has been astounding and has been instrumental in my academic, financial, and career success.

What do you love most about the major/minors/degree you completed?

The thing I love most about the Chemistry Department is the collaborative environment. I have met so many wonderful people through my chemistry courses, and our small class sizes and collaborative projects have facilitated this.

What have some of your extracurriculars been (student clubs, jobs, internships, etc.)? How did those impact your time on campus?

I was in the Orquestra Brazil band on campus for two years, which was really fun and a great way to keep playing music for me. I also worked at the Oregon Department of Agriculture for two summers as a lab technician and had an internship last summer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. 

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

My biggest accomplishment in college has been my GPA. I know that sounds rather silly but it has been a huge deal for me to get 3.97 throughout my 4 years!

Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you? Please tell us about it!

General Physics, taught by Dr. William Schoenfeld, practically changed my life. That class changed my perspective of the universe and made me realize that I should change my minor to physics.

What are your plans for after graduation?

I am moving to Fort Collins, Colorado to begin a Ph.D. physical chemistry program at Colorado State University.

What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?

My advice is to set your sights on your goals for after graduation, then take every opportunity you can that will help you get there. Apply for that internship, take that extra class, email that company you want to work at, keep trying and you will reach your goals!

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

I wish I knew that renting textbooks was an option back then!

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?

My favorite spot on campus is the 3rd floor of the library at the tables that are right next to the floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s such a peaceful and wonderful spot to study at. 

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