UW-Milwaukee grads will leave with more than just a diploma; they will have a wealth of experience

August 18, 2014

Camille Ridgeway Michael WilsonMany University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduates will leave the university’s May 18 commencement with not only a degree in their field, but also a wealth of experience outside the classroom – including, for some, a job offer.
Camille Ridgeway, who graduated with degrees in both international economics and international studies, learned Mandarin in China, spent time in Cairo her junior year and did an internship with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Michael Wilson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences with a submajor in medical laboratory science, spent part of his senior year doing clinical work at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW). He recently accepted a job at CHW as a medical laboratory scientist; he began right after graduation.
Ridgeway went to high school not far from UWM at Riverside University High School, and was able to take a course at UWM her senior year. She chose an introductory course in Modern Standard Arabic because she loved the language’s elaborate, elegant script. That, in turn, fueled her interest in international studies. A Chancellor’s Diversity and Leadership Scholarship helped support her dreams. Between travel, studies and internships, she found time to be active in student government and play in the university’s community orchestra.
Her interest in economics flourished in UWM’s McNair Scholars Program, where she studied Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Middle East with Economics Professor Swarnjit Arora. “I learned to think of FDI as an indicator that tells you everything you need to know about the health of a country’s economic and political situation.”
After graduation, Ridgeway is taking time to apply to doctoral programs in political economy, hoping to blend her interest in economics with cultural studies, negotiation and interpersonal communications.
Her target schools are in Chicago, D.C. and New York. Her applications are well under way: GREs taken, letters and statement of purpose completed. Much of that process was funded and supported by McNair. “One of the things I value most about my time at UWM is the McNair Program,” Ridgeway now says.
Wilson, who has been an active volunteer since high school, will continue to combine his personal goals with a profound desire to help others.
He already held an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from UW-Madison when he enrolled in the UWM College of Health Science’s Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program several years ago. He took a job as a lab assistant at ACL Laboratories at Aurora West Allis Medical Center where he worked until graduation. That was in addition to his studies and the school-related clinical rotation at Children’s Hospital. A typical recent day for Wilson was working at the two jobs from 7 a.m. through 10:30 p.m., and still finding time for his studies.
After considering several post-graduation jobs in his field, he couldn’t be happier with his job at Children’s Hospital.
“At Children’s Hospital, they showed us that they really care about the children they care for. I was drawn to work there and to be part of the great things they are doing,” Wilson said.
Graduation will mean only one job for Wilson – but it’s the one he wanted the most.
“All seniors in the MLS program had to interview for their senior-year clinical experience, and when Children’s Hospital picked me, I was very grateful and thankful,” said Wilson.
His parents, immigrants to Milwaukee from Jamaica, inspired the 27-year-old’s passion for the medical field.
“Medicine and patient care is a very rewarding area. You are really making a difference in helping people to be happy and healthy. Even among your own family, there are things that you can do for them with your knowledge,” he said.