UW-Waukesha’s May student spotlight is on Berkeley Saak of Waukesha. A graduate of Waukesha South High School, Berkeley works in the Diversity and Pre-College Center on campus. She has also served as a mentor in the summer University Camp for middle and high school students.
The Spotlight highlights a UW-Waukesha student’s academic achievement and provides the community with an inside look into campus life and a greater understanding of the diverse profiles and experiences of our students.
Name: Berkeley T. Saak
High School: Waukesha South High School, 2017
Career Goal: After completing the Associate Degree, I plan to enroll in a cosmetology program
When we spoke with Berkeley at University camp last summer, she was “looking forward to being in a classroom where everyone wants to learn and is acting mature and doing their own thing - rather than in high school where everyone feels forced to be there and distracts others from their learning.” Now that she has completed almost a year of studies, we asked about the classroom experience. Berkeley noted that it was “pretty incredible.” She stated, “Of course there are going to be a few students who are just not interested and don't care, but they usually leave within a week or two of the class starting in the beginning of the semester. Everyone is so respectful in class and listens and are typically very quiet. The whole classroom environment is much more relaxing, and honestly, it is a lot easier to pay attention.”
Why did you choose UW-Waukesha? I chose UW- Waukesha because I was unsure of my major or what career I wanted for the rest of my life. I decided that UW-Waukesha would be a great place to start with my general education credits, and along the way, I will hopefully find something I am passionate about.
What surprised you most about UW-Waukesha? I was very surprised at the number of events going on during the noon hour, after classes, and even on weekends. I am not really sure what I was expecting, but I figured since it was a smaller campus, that there would not be much to do - mainly classes and then go home. I love that there is so much to do! It seems like every day there is a different event going on!
Advice to other incoming students? I am the kind of person who has always had trouble speaking in front of crowds, taking risks, and being assertive with different social groups. If there is one piece of advice I could give anyone it would be to constantly try your hardest to be the best you can be. Do something you wouldn't normally do - step outside of your comfort zone and show everyone who you are.
Please share your experience as a mentor at last summer’s University Camp: As a mentor, I was able to experience the camp and grow along with the younger students. It is a great opportunity to prepare for life in the future - whether that is going into a higher grade level or the next phase of your life. It's a place everyone can be themselves while learning and still have a great time.
Outside of being a college student, what takes up your free time? In addition to being a full-time college student, I have a job on campus in the Diversity and Pre-College Center. It is such a wonderful job to meet new people and create new experiences. It has really helped me become more independent, while also allowing me to improve my communication skills. Besides my job, I love photography. I enjoy being able to photograph everyday situations, and distort them into whatever I like. It makes me feel in control while still having a lot of fun.
Is there a UW-Waukesha professor or staff member who has made a difference in your life? Hands down, it would be Mr. James Boling. James has made such an impact, not only in my school life but also in my personal life. He has helped me grow into the person I wanted to be. There was not a single moment where I felt lost and confused, because he was always there to help me through, whether it be with school or work. James was my manager in the Diversity Center; he made such a great environment and his presence lightened anyone's mood. I did not think of him as a manager, but as a guide. Someone who will be there for any situation.
The University of Wisconsin -Waukesha offers freshman and sophomore level classes in over 250 majors, as well as bachelor degree options. A campus of the University of Wisconsin System, it provides access close to home, small class sizes, personalized attention from highly qualified faculty and credits that transfer. The campus is located at 1500 N. University Drive in Waukesha. For more information or directions to the campus, visit the website, waukesha.uwc.edu or email: firstname.lastname@example.org