Name: Eliza Grames
Hometown: Esko, Minnesota
Majors: Professional Strategic Communication, Communication Studies, & Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management
Year of Expected Graduation: 2013
Why she chose the U of M: Eliza shares her main reasons for choosing the University of Minnesota: "The first was that it is located in the heart of the Twin Cities which means there is always something going on and plenty of job and internship opportunities. The second was the University Honors Program which opened up opportunities for smaller class sizes and involvement with faculty."
How she is involved at the U of M: I've been playing on the University of Minnesota Quizbowl Team for four years and served as the President of the team for two years. In my time with the team, I've developed friendships, traveled across the country for tournaments, gained leadership experience, and connected to other on-campus activities through Student Unions and Activities.
I also serve as an officer for an environmental student group on campus for students who are passionate about climate change issues. Our goal is to work with the University to transition away from fossil fuel dependency by raising awareness of climate change issues and leading a divestment campaign.
On-campus employment has also been valuable in connecting me to the University of Minnesota. I got to know one of my professors in the Department of Forest Resources through class, and she offered me a job doing communications for a branch of University of Minnesota Extension. In my position, I interact with professionals across the state, which helps to put a perspective on how valuable my time at the University of Minnesota is and how it can serve as a stepping stone for me to achieve my goals.
Highlight of her U of M experience so far: As I near graduation, I've been working on my honors thesis research project on climate-induced migration in Northwest Alaska. The experience has helped me to explore topics I'm interested in, gain confidence in my research and writing abilities, and develop relationships with professors in my field. I think that when I look back on my experience at the University of Minnesota, I'll remember the day-to-day aspects of student life and hanging out with friends, but what will stick out most is my thesis project because it's helping to shape my life goals and future plans.
Her advice to high school seniors: Don't decide what you want to major in right away. Look around and discover what is interesting to you, because if you study what you're interested in, your college experience will be more rewarding. You'll be excited to go to classes, you'll enjoy your internship experiences, and you'll be good at what you do because you'll love the topic that you're studying.