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Alum of the Month: Elise Holbrook

Elise Holbrook


 

A Q&A with 2019 Graduate Elise Holbrook

When did you graduate from WCU and in what subject areas?

I graduated in May 2019. I have a B.S. in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations.

Tell us some of your fondest memories of your days at WCU?

My fondest memories are any classes I had with Dr. Betty Farmer! She was such an incredible influence on me in so many ways. I genuinely loved going to her class every day, and there was never a day I didn’t learn something new. I particularly loved her Gender Communication class. We had so many interesting discussions about how society and the ways we communicate shape our perceptions of gender! She also helped me get land my internship with WCU’s University Marketing Department working in social media, which has single-handedly been the best experience of my life.

Who were your favorite professors / staff at Western and why?

I love all the Communication Department faculty so much, I couldn’t pick just one!  Each of them invest so much into the students in the department and go above and beyond what anyone asks of a professor. They truly care about their students and will do anything to help you succeed.  They all had so much experience in their field before they began teaching, which is such a benefit to the students in so many ways. I don’t think I would have gotten the quality of the communication education I got anywhere else.

You graduated this past Spring and were one of four students designated as a university scholar. Congratulations on that tremendous honor, tell us a little more about what it means to be a university scholar?

When I started school here in August of 2015 (that seems so long ago now!) I remember looking at WCU’s website and reading about the GPA scale and the honors levels for graduation. At the time, whatever page I looked at had a section that talked about the University Scholar distinction – anyone who held a 4.0 for the entirety of their studies would be recognized as a University Scholar.

After I finished my first semester with a 4.0, something which I was not expecting to do, I kind of made that perfect 4.0 my mission. I knew I performed well in high school, but I also knew college would be a different kind of beast.  I was ready to put myself to the test and work hard to make that perfect 4.0 a reality 4 years later.  When they called my name at graduation announcing the honor I had received along with 3 other students, it took everything in me not to cry out of pride and accomplishment. Every semester I was afraid I wasn’t going to come through with the 4.0, I was sure the University Scholar recognition wouldn’t happen, but every semester I proved myself wrong. Finally getting to the finish line was like a weight was lifted off of me.

To be graduating as a first-generation student with such a high honor is a feeling I cannot put into words. It fills me with pride to know I accomplished something I worked so hard for and my family is so proud of. To represent my parents in such a way is truly an amazing thing. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am. To have received this honor proves that all my hard work and many nights stressing over assignments were worth it.

Who were your favorite professors / staff at Western and why?

I love all the Communication Department faculty so much, I couldn’t pick just one!  Each of them invest so much into the students in the department and go above and beyond what anyone asks of a professor. They truly care about their students and will do anything to help you succeed.  They all had so much experience in their field before they began teaching, which is such a benefit to the students in so many ways. I don’t think I would have gotten the quality of the communication education I got anywhere else.

You were an instrumental and valued member of WCU’s digital strategy team which led to the success of our alumni social media channels. Tell us why as young alumni you feel it is important to stay connected with your alma mater via Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and various other forms of social media?

Today, there is no better way to stay connected with others than social media. And there is no better way to stay in touch with what is going on somewhere you may be far from. From being on the other side of it, I can see how many stories there are to tell through social media, how many connections can be made, and so much more. WCU has a very active Facebook group for alumni which I have seen be such an asset to alumni, old and new, staying connected with their classmates and the university. You might move away from here, but you can’t forget where you came from! Western still has so much to offer you even after you’ve left campus. 

Now tell us something unique and interesting about yourselves that few people may know!

I have a twin brother, and we are total opposites in every way imaginable! I would say the fact he didn’t go to WCU is why people don’t know I have one, or we are related, but even back in high school people never knew we were siblings even though we have the same last name.

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