Congratulating the UNIFI Class of 2016

13077247_10153757930301219_1326827823_nRyan Lode
Director of Activities 2014-2015

What are your plans after you graduate?

As I am typing this now, I am in the interview process for a couple of biotech jobs. I can’t say much more than that, but what I can say is that I will be moving to the Des Moines area after graduating.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

Darwin Week 2015. After putting in a ton of hard work, it was extremely rewarding to get Dr. Kurilla from the National Institutes of Health to come speak at UNI, and to help get the rest of the pieces of the Darwin Week puzzle to come together. It was stressful for sure, but the payoff was definitely worth it.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

The UNIFI community has really challenged me to think much more critically. I’ve come a long way from the idiot teenager to the slightly wiser person I am today and UNIFI definitely played a role in this. There are a few online arguments that stand out in my memory where I suffered a brutal intellectual beat down at the hands of several UNIFI members.  I was extremely irked at the time, but as time went by I began look back at how I argued with some embarrassment. Now I’m nothing but grateful for UNIFI’s role in helping me become a more thoughtful person.

I’m also extremely grateful for the friends and memories I’ve made during my time at UNI. All of you guys are great.

Toko Strongshell extends his thanks to all of you.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

Once you decide what career path you want to take, find out what skills those jobs or graduate programs need, and make a list of them. Then develop a detailed plan of how you are going to acquire practice in those skills.  It seems like a silly piece of advice, but a lot of undergraduates don’t take it seriously until they have to apply. They end up struggling to get hired or accepted into grad programs because they don’t have enough specific experiences to tailor their resumes for those positions. So yeah, don’t let that be you. Be smart about your goals and how to obtain them.

13081722_10209194412717873_844444567_nHunter Thompson

What are your plans after you graduate?

I am moving to Muncie Indiana, to pursue my Masters at Ball State University.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

Easily has to be when Nate Phelps came to speak for Darwin Week. The stories he told about growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church Cult were hilarious, fascinating, and horrifying. He sent an important message to those listing about the dangers of belief systems.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

For me college was about challenging what I believed and learning new things. My favorite memories of college are the amazing conversations I have had with others who shared their experience and knowledge with me. UNFI is a great place to do that.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

Find what you love and commit 100 percent to it. If you don’t know what it is you want that’s ok most of us are still figuring that out, myself included and I am graduating. You don’t have to have all the answers right away. Just make sure you set short term goals if that’s the case.

For me college was about challenging what I believed and learning new things. My favorite memories of college are the amazing conversations I have had with others who shared their experience and knowledge with me. UNFI is a great place to do that.

abbieAbbie Shew
Director of Public Relations- 2013-2014
Director of Finance- 2014-2015

What are your plans after you graduate?

Next year I will be returning to UNI to pursue an MA in Communication Studies. I will be working as a research assistant on a project called Science in the Media.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

I think my favorite UNIFI event is Darwin Week. The Darwin Week my freshman year of college particularly stands out to me because it was really the first time I was exposed to UNIFI as a group. I remember attending one of the keynote talks (now I don’t remember who it was) and being so impressed at the number of students that had showed up at 7pm on a Monday to come hear someone talk about science. That was so cool to me, and I knew I had to join UNIFI. From there, I became very involved, especially with Darwin Week because I understood its potential and was so genuinely excited about what Darwin Week could bring to campus.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

UNIFI has played a large role in my development as a leader and as a person. One of my first leadership experiences was as the Director of Public Relations for UNIFI my sophomore year. I very clearly remember Stef telling me I should apply for an officer position and being absolutely terrified of doing so, I’m pretty sure I sounded incredibly nervous in my first officer interview. After they gave me the officer position, I learned so much about UNIFI and came to deeply appreciate its place on campus. The mission of UNIFI is essential to our campus environment, and I truly hope they continue to promote science, reason, and intellectualism for as long as UNI is an institution.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

I know it’s cliche, but get involved. Join a club, play intramural sports, invite people to sit with you in the union, start a club if you can’t find one you like, whatever you do make sure you form connections with people. The people you meet will shape your experience and you really never know when you’re going to run into that influential person that will push you to try something you never would have, or who will introduce you to new ideas you weren’t aware of. Push yourself to meet new people, try new things, and grow as a person throughout your college experience.

13139236_10154188805892238_7255544853703618914_nJesse Moeller
Director of Activities- 2012-2013
Director of Finance- 2013-2014
Director of Public Relations- 2015-2016

What are your plans after you graduate?

First I will fly to Norway and Iceland with the Men’s Glee Club and be glad. Then, for the rest of the summer, I will be interning with CBE Companies (local cedar falls based debt collection agency). In the fall I will begin my Ph.D. in Mathematics at University of Nebraska-Lincoln

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

This is hard. It is probably a three way tie between CampO’NEILLing,  Pint with a Prof, and Hy-Vee brunch (when they had full service breakfast).

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

UNIFI has played a gigantic role in my college career. Besides the immediately obvious intellectual health benefits provided by being involved with UNIFI, UNIFI deepened my UNI experience in almost every dimension. My hobbies became richer as I connected with people in UNIFI, my academics, like philosophy and even my math courses, became more interesting as I had peers to talk about them with, I met my future wife in UNIFI Laurelin Berkley, and I have made almost all of my college friends in UNIFI.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

You must connect. Participate in the activities. Don’t waste away in front of your bad habits: don’t spend nights scrolling facebook, playing call of duty, doing internet prestige battle on Leddit, none of that. Get involved in student organizations, pick up hobbies, and find your values. Populate your experience with as much as you can; college, and being surrounded by all of your friends as well as by people who are trying to learn and better themselves in mass, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

13162097_10154154558621484_339354126_nO’neill Goltz
Coordinator of Activism – 2014-2015
Director of membership- 2015-2016

What are your plans after you graduate?

I’m planning on taking a gap year to save up some money and assess what I actually want to do. Essentially I’ll be the UNIFI Uncle for a while.

What was your all-time favorite UNIFI event?

The best time I had was when UNIFI made a trip down to Skepticon. It was really cool event with great speakers and interesting places to go. It also helped that I went with a bunch of awesome people.

What role has UNIFI played in your college career?

UNIFI has been the bedrock of my college career. It’s where I made the majority of my friends and contacts who helped me through the rough patches. I can’t imagine going through college without the people I met and the skills I gained as a member and an officer.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen to make the best of their college careers?

Find your passions. Be weird. Take your time. Do what you want to do and don’t worry what other people think of you or how long you’re taking to figure things out. It’s better to spend your time wisely and come to the correct answer, than to rush through and come out disappointed.

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