Grad Profile: Zoe Noel Cawthon

Zoe Noel Cawthon is a philosophy major from Salem. As a 2020 graduate, we interviewed Cawthon on her most notable memories and life lessons from WOU.


What has been your most memorable class?
My most memorable class was Forensic Anthropology with Jerielle Cartales! It has nothing to do with my major, and I took it on a whim, but it ended up being great! This class had amazing labs (I actually got to touch real human bone), and really good and interesting information, plus Jerielle was awesome! Honestly, if you need more upper division credits, I definitely would recommend it. 


What has been your favorite annual event at WOU?
The Drag Show is hands-down my favorite event! I almost didn’t go because I was intimidated, but I am so glad I did, because it will remain my favorite event of my college experience! Even after I’ve graduated, I will keep coming back to WOU to see it!


Student sitting in a field of yellow tulips, the blue sky above dappled with fluffy white clouds. The student is smiling at the camera.
Zoe Noel Cawthon

What have some of your extracurriculars been? How did those impact your time on campus?
While I was at WOU, I have been a part of two organizations that have taught me so much. My sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, has given me life-long friends and sisters, and my honor society, Phi Sigma Tau, has taught me not to be afraid to give my opinion. These two are what made my experience the very best it could have been! 


Do you have any advice for current and prospective students?
Get involved! College is only as fun as you make it! Join a sorority/fraternity, be a part of your major/minor’s honor society, join a club sport, anything. College is the time to make lifelong friendships, and there are so many opportunities to do so if you just become a joiner!


What is the biggest lesson you have learned throughout your time at WOU?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! This applies to everything. Struggling in a class? The tutoring/Writing Center people are wonderful, and every professor I’ve had has been more than willing to help. Struggling to afford to eat? The food pantry is just one of the many resources that helps students. Struggling mentally? The Student Health and Counseling Center was what helped me get through my first year at Western! People generally want you to succeed and are more than willing to help; you just need to ask!


Who stands out from your time here?
The person who stands out the most is Dr. Ryan Hickerson in the philosophy department. Dr. Hickerson has been incredibly kind and helped me to succeed while here at Western. I will miss his bad jokes and encouraging words. 


What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?
I think the fact that I am about to graduate at all is a huge success! At 19, I was diagnosed with an incurable chronic illness, and there was about a year where I never believed I would graduate. I thought my grades would keep suffering like they had been, and that I’d be in too much pain to keep going. But I kept pushing and learned how to manage my pain, and here I am at 22, not only getting my degree, but graduating with honors! 

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