Scholars Program project now part of curriculum

NAME: Cassandra Smith 



MAJOR: Biology

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS:  Wartburg College Ambassadors, Wartburg College Softball, Wartburg West, Beta Beta Beta Biology National Honor Society, Blankets of Love, Dance Marathon, EARTH, Chemistry Club, Phi Eta Sigma First-Year Honor Society, Scholars Program.

PLANS AFTER GRADUATION:  Graduate student in osteopathic medicine at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I chose to come to Wartburg College because it felt like home. Whether it be the small campus or the fact that the students and faculty create a sort of family that is so supportive and welcoming, I knew this was where I was supposed to get my education for the next four years. The  exceptional academics, athletics, and fine arts drew me to Wartburg, too. There is always something to do on campus, and I enjoy the relationships I have established with both my peers and professors.

Cassandra Smith

HOW HAS THE SCHOLARS PROGRAM ENHANCED YOUR EXPERIENCE OR INFLUENCED YOU: The Scholars Program has opened up doors and allowed for me to establish relationships with people I would otherwise not have the chance to do. Most notably, the Scholars Program has allowed me to leave my mark on Wartburg College through my organic chemistry class. Scholars are required to contract two courses throughout their time at Wartburg; with those contracts we must complete a project in addition to the required course material. I contracted Organic Chemistry II and spent my sophomore year Winter Term (2016) creating a new final inquiry-based lab for the class. I presented my newly developed lab at Wartburg’s Research, Internship, and Creative Endeavors (RICE) Day, which allowed to me to work on my communication and presentation skills. In 2017, the lab was implemented into the curriculum,  and it will be a fantastic experience to witness how the students learn through this new laboratory.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I never imagined establishing such close relationships with my professors. I anticipated strict, cold relationships but have found that is not the case here at Wartburg. Wartburg has an ‘open-door’ policy, creating a warm, welcoming environment for students to ask academic questions or discuss personal goals during a professor’s office hours. My professors are always asking how I am, how classes are going, and how my family is back home. Furthermore, many professors have also opened up their homes to students for meetings, club activities, etc., further instilling the supportive, caring environment which I believe to express the college mission well.

HOW DOES THE SCHOLARS PROGRAM HELP YOU LIVE OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: The Scholars Program requires students to volunteer in the Waverly community. This is one of the most obvious ways the Wartburg Scholars Program has helped me live out Wartburg’s mission of leadership, service, faith, and learning. My most notable Scholars service was that at Waverly’s St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. During the Fall 2015 term, each Sunday morning I led a Sunday School classroom. Providing this service to the church was an opportunity to hone in on my leadership skills, share my faith, and was a source for personal growth. The objective behind service is that we are responsible for the communities in which we live; it is a basic principle of democratic and civil society. It is easy to get stuck in the ‘Wartburg Bubble’ and forget Waverly is the community in which we live, and that we have a responsibility to care for that community as well.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE SCHOLARS PROGRAM: Wartburg Scholars is more than simply a ‘resume-builder,’ it is a dedication to oneself with respect to their education and service. The Scholars Program has been the source for much of my personal and academic growth at Wartburg, and I am thankful for the people I have met and experiences I have had. Being a scholar is something to be proud of, as we represent Wartburg’s finest. I would encourage anybody who meets the requirements of being a scholar to take the opportunity and make the most out of your experience. College only lasts four years, and I have made my impact on Wartburg through the Scholars Program. How will you leave your mark?