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Luxemburg woman receives award of excellence

12:33 PM, Jun. 13, 2013  |  Comments
April Young.
April Young.

A native of Luxemburg, April Young is one of 18 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh senior students this year to receive the Chancellor's Award for Excellence. The award recognizes academic achievement, leadership qualities and a commitment to serving others.

UW Oshkosh, where Young majored in sociology and environmental studies, helped her gain a host of skills she said she probably wouldn't have gotten outside of the college experience.

"I was a different person in high school," Young said. "I was a lot more shy, a lot less communicative and not quite as open."

For Young, college was a life-changing experience, and discovering who she really was has focused her on her future as a professional.

"I've had a lot of classes where you do a lot of discussion, which is helpful in learning to formulate your own thoughts and learning how to voice your opinions in a way that is professional and thoughtful," she said.

But it isn't just in academics that Young said she gained real life skills. Getting involved with student clubs helped her to develop self-confidence, public speaking skills and professional relationships, just to name a few.

"Being part of a club forces you to take on some challenges you weren't really prepared to take on, or you didn't want to, but ended up doing anyway," Young said.

One such challenge was unexpectedly becoming president of the Sociology Club. During her term, she helped revive the Oshkosh Minority Student Experience Project, which aims to identify points of oppression or challenges that minority students face.

Young said involvement with clubs outside her majors was also important, and even though she had no previous martial arts experience before college, joining the Karate Club helped her in many ways.

"When you learn martial arts, you feel pretty awesome, but it also helps you become a better person," Young said. "Not only do you become more humble, but more adamant and stronger, and you persevere more."

In the future, Young said she would like to take the personal and professional skills she gained in college to educate people about social issues and the environment by visiting both low-income and more well-off communities.

"It's great to help those communities that don't have the things they need, but if we want to see overall changes throughout society, we need to get everyone to have a change of mind," Young said.

While the Chancellor's Award for Excellence is certainly an honor for Young, she says recognition has never been, and never will be, her goal.

"It's not all about where you're going to be," she said. "I won't necessarily become this crazy awesome famous person with a really high paying job, but I got a lot from UW Oshkosh, and I'll definitely be taking it all with me."

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