14 student ambassadors were recently named for the 2019-2020 academic school year, six of them are returning student ambassadors. The 14 student ambassadors are as follows: Samantha Bibbs, Afton Fischer, Alexa Gravunder, Jack Hoaby, Tiffany Johnson, Abrina Leonhard, Madalaine McConville, Natasha Rassbach, Megan Southwick, Kallie Taylor, Jake Thomas, Sarah Webber, Jessica Weber, and Samantha Ziwicki.

Megan Southwick.
Photo taken by Ryan Vance.

Megan Southwick, a senior majoring in game design and development, explained the job of a student ambassador. She said, “As student ambassadors, we attend a variety of events that are catered toward alumni or the entire student body. We act as representatives of the university and its students while networking with alumni, faculty and staff, and students. We also make ourselves available as representatives for the Dean of our respective colleges who may want us to speak to prospective students, offer a tour or speak to a class.”

Southwick said, “In my opinion, what makes a good ambassador is when someone genuinely enjoys the university, the programs it offers and the experiences they have had and want to share them with fellow students, alumni and community members. I look forward to sharing my stories and experiences.”

Southwick said two of the main reasons why she wanted to become a student ambassador was to have the opportunity to network with alumni and to represent the University of Wisconsin—Stout. 

She is currently a student representative for the Game Design and Development Program Advisory Committee and Professional Advisory Board. 

Southwick said, “I have grown a lot as an artist and student since attending Stout, but I have also grown as an individual. The opportunities, extracurriculars and course offerings provided at Stout have helped me grow into a more extraverted, independent and confident individual.”

Madalaine McConville.

Madalaine McConville, a senior majoring in applied social science, said that she feels she is a good ambassador because she is active on campus. She said by being involved on campus she has knowledge in a variety of different clubs and majors on campus. McConville is currently involved in the Stout Student Association as the Director of Legislative Affairs and a tutor for both the writing center and the applied social science program.

McConville said, “UW-Stout has given me countless opportunities in the past three years that have made me into the person and student I am today. I thought that being a part of the ambassador program would help me give something back to UW-Stout. I also wanted to be an ambassador to help represent the university that I have called my home the last three years.”

Jake Thomas, a junior majoring in engineering technology, said that his involvement on campus is a big reason for why he feels he makes a good student ambassador. He currently works as a tour guide for the admissions office and is the vice president for Colleges Against Cancer. 

Jake Thomas
Photo by Luke Lindquist

Thomas said that being able to attend events that are not usually open to students is one of the reasons he wanted to become a student ambassador. He said that it was to have the opportunity to interact with industry partners, alumni, faculty and prospective students. “I now consider Stout my home, or at least one of my homes. I’ve made new best friends, found my interests and found that I have a knack for public speaking and things like Stout Ambassadors, both interests that I was not able to pursue back home.”

Thomas said when he initially came to UW-Stout, he was in the process of discovering himself in more ways than one. He explained how he was self-conscious and was struggling with his sexuality. After getting settled in at UW-Stout, he said that he found everyone so nice and accepting. He admired the fact that people were brave enough to own their interests, differences and sexuality. “Seeing people on this campus being so unapologetically themselves made me more comfortable in coming to terms with, and now owning, my sexuality as a bisexual guy. I hope that as a Stout Ambassador I can show that, LGBTQIA+ or not, Stout is an accepting campus for all students to own and embrace what makes them unique and different,” said Thomas.

Afton Fischer.

Afton Fischer, a senior majoring in family and consumer sciences education, is involved with Stout Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She said UW-Stout has prepared her for her future and that she is deeply grateful to everyone who has helped her along the way.

“Get involved, try something new even if you do not get in, at least you tried. Which I think is the most important part, I would never have been a Stout Ambassador if I never would have tried,” said Fischer.

Kallie Taylor, a senior majoring in interior design and business administration, said, “Being a successful student ambassador requires enthusiasm, involvement and student relations. I am passionate about representing the campus with these characteristics and bringing excitement and engagement into on-campus activities.”

Kallie Taylor

Taylor said she believes that campus involvement is the most important part of your education, other than classes. “Engaging in major related club activities will strengthen your leadership skills and allow you to network with professionals outside of your major.” She is involved in multiple student organizations including the Student Interior Design Board, Honors College and the Ski and Snowboard Club. “The UW-Stout campus has become my home [for] the past three years. Sharing my passion for the university and representing the students around me is one way that I can give back to Stout,” said Taylor. 

Samantha Bibbs, a senior majoring in food science and technology, said, “I believe myself to be a good Stout ambassador due to my heavy involvement on campus. I am the president of my sorority, Alpha Phi, and a captain for the Blue Devils Dance Team. This allows me to represent a range of students who may not be in my specific college.”

Samantha Bibbs

Bibbs said she wanted to become a student ambassador because of her passion for the campus and community. She wanted an opportunity to be even more involved, especially with alumni who she hopes will help her make other connections through their mutual love they share for the campus.

Bibbs said that UW-Stout has given her many leadership opportunities which she believes has shaped her into who she is today. She said that because UW-Stout is a fairly small campus, she has been able to hold multiple leadership roles in different organizations which really helped her grow as both a leader and a person. 

Alexa Gravunder, a sophomore majoring in supply chain management, said, “ I am a good choice for a student ambassador because Stout is a home away from home for me, and I am so proud that I attend this university. I want the chance to encourage people to experience what I experience every day I am here.”

Alexa Gravunder

Gravunder currently holds the secretary position for both the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and Association for Operation Management (APICS) on campus. She is also the Supply Chain Ambassador. 

Gravunder said, “I am honored to have the UW-Stout Ambassador position and will serve Stout with the best of my abilities. I am really looking forward to this new and exciting experience.”

Samantha Ziwicki, a senior majoring in golf enterprise management, said, “I feel I am a good student ambassador because I am very involved on campus in many organizations, so I can share with alumni about what’s happening on campus in many different ways.”

Samantha Ziwicki
(Photo by Brett T. Roseman)

Ziwicki is the Director of Parent and Alumni Affairs in the Alpha Phi sorority. She is also a captain of the Blue Devils Dance Team and a campus tour guide. 

Ziwicki said, “Being at Stout has given me the opportunity to make a big impact at a small university. I have been able to get involved in many organizations, meet so many amazing people, and the skills and knowledge to be successful when I’m done here.”