December History Grad Chooses Wisely
Written by Donna Emert
Remember when Indiana Jones finally reaches the room that contains the Holy Grail and he has to choose it from what looks to be a full dishwasher load of fabulously ornate and seductive goblets?
While his nemesis "chooses poorly," Indy makes the wise, ethical and informed choice. In making that choice, he defines himself.
While perhaps not quite as cinematic in scope, Alicia Schwartz' tenure as a University of Idaho student has presented her with a succession of choices as well, choices that will resonate in her own life and beyond – long after she graduates.
Those choices also have defined her.
"As a student, Alicia demonstrated her capacity to combine her many loves – family, history, medicine, chemistry, art and more," said Adam Sowards, Schwartz' history professor and academic adviser. "Consequently, she has one of the most eclectic, and impressive, transcripts I've ever seen. While amassing a remarkable GPA with a stunning array of classes, she has continued to learn about herself and her true interests, while finding time to serve the community as well."
While taking challenging and diverse courses, Schwartz made the Dean's list seven times and participated in the Honors Program. She received the Carol Campbell Renfrew Humanities Scholarship for two years, and is grateful for the support. She is on track to graduate with a GPA of 3.8. But it is the choices she has made within that framework that have given her education its rich texture.
Within the structure of the Honors Program, Schwartz chose to tutor a child in math at McDonald Elementary School, and in the process learned a lot about compassion and the value of friendship. She chose to work as a teaching assistant in University of Idaho chemistry labs, where she learned to be more confident, more articulate and a better student.
She chose to work at a locally owned business instead of a big box store. "I chose that because I got to work with the owners," said Schwartz. "I thought it would be a much more personal experience. The job reaffirmed for me that it's important to be nice to everybody, and not to judge people on their appearance for what they'll buy or how they'll treat you."
Schwartz' choices also impact those around her. "Her work set the class standard, and her insights consistently raised the intellectual tenor of the classroom," said Sowards. "I am grateful to her."
Schwartz will graduate with a bachelor's degree in history this December, and will then likely teach at the high school level.
She plans to later pursue a doctorate in history, art, medicine or chemistry – or some thoughtful combination of those areas of study. She has honed the ability to make those kinds of choices for herself, almost always choosing wisely.