When Anna Decker first visited Beloit, she was just a high school sophomore. Nonetheless, she received an encouraging welcome—and it brought her back. “Beloit was the only school that saw me as an actual prospective student,” Anna says. “I was unsure about college and unsure about what to study.”
Now a recent graduate, Anna is no longer unsure. She’s heading to graduate study at University of California, Berkley. How did she get here? At Beloit, the mathematical biology major found her path and filled it with remarkable experiences.
Take her semester abroad. During Beloit’s Ecuador Program, Anna trekked through the Amazon, scuba dived in the Galapagos, and studied biodiversity. While the program fed her academic interests, it also revealed a new lifestyle. “I learned how to live with fewer material possessions,” Anna says.
Her time in Beloit was just as illuminating. During several lab assistantships, Anna discovered a passion for teaching. “Helping students comprehend challenging subjects is very rewarding,” she says. Anna did more than build others’ knowledge: she bettered her own. “Each time I TA’d, I learned more. You don’t truly understand something until you teach it.”
Anna found another leadership opportunity through Beloit’s Initiatives program. She was a New Student Days Orientation Leader. In that role, she connected with Beloit’s first-year community. “It made me feel close to the incoming class,” she says.
While Anna helped students start their Beloit careers, she finished her own with a bang.
Taking advantage of Beloit’s independent research opportunities, she wrote a senior thesis. It analyzed Framingham Heart Study data to create a predictive model for heart attacks. Anna’s work was published in the college’s biology journal, The Beloit Biologist. “It was great to get exposure to the publication process as an undergraduate,” she says.
Equally rewarding was Anna’s opportunity to share her research. She presented during Beloit’s Student Symposium Day, which mirrors a graduate-level conference. “It gave me confidence in my ability to write and speak,” she says. This exciting experience led to another: presenting for Beloit’s Board of Trustees. “Students here are very involved with the administration,” she says. “Being asked to present to the trustees shows they desire our input.”
At Beloit, Anna discovered she could lead and research, present and publish, travel and teach. It’s no surprise that she’s going on to great things. After competing in the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition, Anna will enroll in UC-Berkeley’s biostatistics program. She is considering a teaching career, and she credits Beloit with sparking that interest. “I discovered more about teaching than I ever imagined possible,” she says. Where would she like to teach? “At a place like Beloit!”