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Four honored for first-year student work

November 15, 2011

The Center for the First-Year Experience honored the accomplishments of four individuals who have worked to improve the campus for new students during the Friday, Nov. 11 First-Year Conference.

These awards, the “Outstanding Work with First-Year Students” and “Transfer Champion” awards, are given to a cross-section of the campus community in recognition of their efforts to inspire the best in our students.  Award winners receive a $200 stipend.  This year’s winners are:

Cydney Alexis: Alexis interacts with new freshmen and transfer students as an English 100 instructor and graduate student direct of the Writing Fellows program.  She has served as mentor to new students by helping them discover their purpose and passions and giving confidence to freshmen writers.  She has been an active participant in research projects related to composition and rhetoric. 

Robert Ray: Ray has been a leader of a freshman seminar taken by roughly half of the incoming class in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (InterAg 155); this course was utilized as the model for the new CALS freshman seminar requirement.  Assessment has shown that the outcomes in this course are similar to other first-year courses across campus and around the country – students are more likely to be retained, have a higher GPA, and be engaged in education outside the classroom. 

Sheila Stoeckel: Stoeckel works to create meaningful connections across the Madison campus.  She has been the leader of the campus-wide planning for the Go Big Read program – co-chairing the book selection committee and working to plan events connected to this large-scale event.  She has improved handouts and online materials related to the libraries, designed games and social media campaigns, and assists in developing curriculum for Communication A courses.  Additionally, Stoeckel serves as an instructor for CP 125: A Wisconsin Experience Seminar. 

Emily Schmidt: Schmidt started her career on the Madison campus as a transfer admissions counselor before  transitioning to the role of transfer advisor with the Wisconsin School of Business and then to the College of Letters and Science as a transfer advisor.  Schmidt has established programs and opportunities to reach out to new and prospective transfer students, advisors at feeder institutions, and with fellow staff at UW–Madison.  Schmidt’s positive attitude promotes a welcoming environment for new students.