Third-Annual Liberal Arts Scholarship Competition - Excerpts from Winning Entries (May 2008)

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Third-Annual Liberal Arts Scholarship Competition

Excerpts from Winning Essays, May 2008


“The Choices of Success”

By Cheryl K. Davis, UW-Oshkosh

"...At 49 years of age, I was strongly opinionated about most everything. It was challenging for me to discard some of my opinions, but it was a joy to replace them with more balanced and informed viewpoints. It was also exciting to discover that many of my beliefs were solid and could inform what I was learning. As I’ve studied the rise and fall of civilizations, the evolution of thought and philosophy, the history of political systems, the multi-faceted characters in literature, and the intricacies of math and science, I’ve developed a wider perspective that requires humility from me and promotes understanding of those different from myself. I am an important person, but so is every other person. We revolve around each other..."


“To My Dear Little Brother:  Everything You Must Know About Your Liberal Education”

By Katie Jo Pockat, UW-Marinette

"...The beauty of a liberal education is that everything finds ways to connect. The more you learn, the more you find ways to make these connections yourself.  The more ways you find connections, the further adept you become when you grow as a scholar. By the time you complete your liberal education; you will have changed and grown from the inside....Be prepared to teach yourself, and not wait for your professor to hand you all the information you will need to be successful. Part of what makes a liberal education so valuable is that you become responsible for your own success. Be patient with yourself and with your progress, because, while you may not initially understand the importance of a particular subject and its connections with your education and your future, the lessons you learn and the knowledge you attain can never be taken away from you. In your lifetime, you will find yourself reaching back to these lessons and applying them to your surroundings. This will connect you with the world on a higher level and you will be grateful for the path you chose in your college education which made you a well-rounded person. Keep these thoughts with you as you embark on a higher path of learning and development..." 


“An Engineer’s Advice:  a Discussion about College and the Value of a Liberal Arts Education”

By Vidhya Raju, UW-Madison

"...Most engineering degrees require at least sixteen credits of liberal arts courses, and mine is no exception. These are the courses that I have to take with the diffuse 'rest of the university:'  people who boldly major in art, history, political science, Latin, and so on. One of the first questions I ask when I meet someone who majors in the liberal arts is, 'What are you going to do after you graduate?'

The infamous shrug is a surprisingly uncommon answer. Most often, I have been surprised by the ingenuity of the answers I receive:  therapy through art, facilitation of international business, changing environmental policy. Clearly, most people here do not lack a sense of direction. They are the people who spend afternoons chalking up the sidewalks down the streets of the college campus, advertising political perspectives and canvassing for the environment. While I pore over problems for my engineering classes, they discuss the state of the world in semi-dark coffee houses. Their majors expose them to current issues and allow them to get into heated debates about public policy. Somehow, their classes seem more relevant, more urgent to the social and political climate..."


Return to news release (May 20, 2008)