I have never been happier with my place in life. Western Illinois University’s Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration graduate program has provided me with ample opportunities to succeed. From professors who truly care about my well-being and success, alumni who are willing to give me advice and students who compassionately act within the local community, I have found a wonderful place to thrive.
Until I experienced this culture, I thought Western was a diamond in the rough. The expertise of most professors extends farther than what should be expected of a regional school. The insights of faculty and staff bring a plethora of knowledge that always gives me a better understanding. With intelligent professors and strong programs, Western Illinois University is the place to be. As a whole, this university thinks ahead and develops new programs to improve and highlight the Western Illinois University community.
I am excited to hear about the upcoming Graduate Research Conference. This new university-wide Graduate Research Conference will bring some well deserved attention to our hard-working graduate students. Previously, graduate research was generally presented only at the department level to highlight individual programs, instead of to the university as a whole. This new opportunity to exchange ideas across disciplines, develop new connections, and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration will be rewarding to any passionate researcher.
I encourage all graduate students to submit a proposal for a poster, paper presentation, or performance on http://www.wiu.edu/graduate_studies/graduate_research_conference/ by November 29, 2013. You do not want this opportunity to go to waste. Providing an opportunity to practice scholarly research and presentation skills will benefit you personally and in your future career. Dr. Nancy Parsons, Associate Provost and Director of Graduate Studies, said “students will gain experience and acknowledgement of scholarly and research skills” during the preparation and presentation of their work at the Graduate Research Conference. By gaining additional experience, presenters will also gain confidence to highlight their work at larger conferences. This stepping stone, now available to all graduate students at Western Illinois University, helps develop our professional future.
We hope to “foster the exchange of ideas across disciplines by bringing the WIU community together” said Amy Mossman, an associate professor and interim director of the Liberal Arts and Sciences program, “funding agencies often look to interdisciplinary research collaborations to address the complex problems in this world.” With a forward focus, Western Illinois University is developing our current programs to fit the needs of the future. This premiere research conference will give graduate students the opportunity to network outside of their department and encourage additional presentations at other institutions.
I am excited to attend the conference on February 7. I expect to see an eclectic array of presentation topics. Many great people and great ideas have developed through Western. But instead of calling this university a diamond in the rough, I see it more as a carefully-formed pearl that is ready to come out of its shell. With quality programs, excellent professors, and an administration that wants students to succeed, I am proud to be earning my graduate degree from Western Illinois University.