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Meet 2019’s incoming first-year class

  • Alicia Kuhlmann poses in her scrubs and medical equipment. Kuhlmann said she chose nursing as her major because she loves working with patients. (Photo courtesy Alicia Kuhlmann)

The start of the 2019 school year brings new students to Westminster College. 

This year, 441 new students will be calling Westminster home. Broken down, 320 are first-year students and 121 are transfer students. The class of 2023 (first-year students) represent 34 states, 50% of which are from Utah, in addition to 10 international students. 

Of those students, 23% are students of color, and 19% are first generation college students. 

The Forum spoke with several incoming students from Utah and across the United States and asked about majors, goals, nerves and why they chose Westminster.

Their answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

Alicia Kuhlmann, 18, South Jordan, Utah

Q: Why did you choose to come to Westminster?

A: I chose to come to Westminster for several reasons: I was offered a great scholarship and it had small class sizes. I have also heard many things about their nursing program and orchestras. Additionally, I had a personal connection with a few members of the faculty.

Q: Do you know what you are going to study yet?

A: I’m going to be a nursing major at Westminster, and I later hope to pursue a second degree in biomedical engineering.

Q: Why is that what you’re interested in?

A: I chose nursing because I love to work with patients. Being a CNA as well as a peer tutor has shown me how a little care and compassion goes a long way in making people’s lives better. I also love science, and the opportunity to use the knowledge I’ll learn to make a real difference in people’s lives means a lot to me.

Q: How do you think Westminster can help you achieve your goals?

A: I love to do research, and several statistical reports have proven to me that students who receive an education from Westminster go on to achieve and pursue amazing things. In my opinion, this is likely due to the incredible educational resources they offer as well as their small class sizes.

Q: Is there anything you’re excited about coming to Westminster? Anything you’re nervous about?

A: I’m excited to be able to establish a club called the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles, it’s a national organization that welcomes all and believes in teaching and standing for principles worth living for. I’m a little nervous about starting because I don’t know that many people, but I know I’ll meet lots of new people in no time.

Q: Outside of academics is there anything you plan getting involved in?

A: Aside from academics I plan to be apart of the chamber players orchestra, establish this club, participate in the American Chemistry Society, volunteer once a week and conduct research on a biomedical engineering project.

Q: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

A: I would love the support and help in setting up my club.

Charlie Mickey, 18, Akron, Ohio

Q: Why did you choose to come to Westminster College?

A: I chose to come to Westminster because I wanted to go to college out west for the skiing and rock climbing and out of all the colleges I looked at, I liked Westminster the best. It felt the most like home.

Q: Do you know what you want to study yet? 

A: My long term goal is to become a surgeon, so at first I thought I should major in biology. However, at my Griffin Gear-Up, I was advised that it would be more beneficial to choose something more interesting, that makes me stick out. Now I’m thinking I might want to major in something like outdoor education and leadership, I’m interested in that major because I enjoy teaching and it has a rock climbing course.

Q: What made you want to become a surgeon? 

A: “Grey’s Anatomy” made me want to become a surgeon as ridiculous as that sounds.

Q: What do you enjoy about outdoor activities?

A: I enjoy outdoor activities because of the fresh air and awesome sights. When I was growing up, my parents took me camping all the time, so I grew to love outdoor activities.

Q: How do you think Westminster can help you achieve your goals?

A: I think Westminster can help me achieve my goals by providing a close-knit community of students and staff, that will allow me to have a more hands-on education that will foster success.

Q: Is there anything you’re nervous about coming to Westminster? Anything you’re excited about? 

A: I’m nervous about coming to Westminster because I’ll be so far from home. I look forward to meeting new people, learning new things, and having a great time.

Dominique Colipi, 18, Payson, Utah

Q: Why did you choose to come to Westminster?

A: I came to Westminster because I got a scholarship and then what really convinced me to go was the campus tour. I took a campus tour and fell in love with the place. I felt like I was at home, I felt safe, and comfortable here. Also, the campus is absolutely stunning.

Q: Do you know what you are going to study yet?

A: I am majoring in neuroscience and minoring in music.

Q: Why is that what you’re interested in?

A: I chose neuroscience because I would like to become a neurosurgeon in the future and I thought that neuroscience would be a good background to have in order to step into neurosurgery. I am minoring in music because I love music. I have been playing the violin for about six almost seven years now and I just couldn’t let it go. Violin is a part of me and it has helped me through a lot. I also wanted to improve on my playing skills and learn more about music. Go beyond what I was taught.

Q: How do you think Westminster can help you achieve your goals?

A: I think Westminster can help me achieve my goals more than any other school. Why? Because everyone is so close, teachers are there to help you succeed not just there to teach. And I am a person who needs lots of support, trust me haha! And so with that, knowing that I have all this support and resources, it will make me achieve what I want a lot easier and smoother.

Q: Is there anything you’re nervous about coming to Westminster? Anything you’re excited about?

A: I am pretty nervous about moving around and getting to know my area, I am actually new to Salt Lake, I don’t come up often and so moving around the town kind of scares me. But I should get used to it. I am excited to get into clubs and do some volunteer work. I love helping, so if I can help around I will definitely do that.

Q: Is there anything outside of academics you plan to get involved in?

A: I plan to get more involved with music and see if there are activities involving music.

Marianna Buckel, 18, Wisconsin/Minnesota Border

Q: Why did you choose to come to Westminster?

A: To be honest, I didn’t even know the school existed until January of my senior year, and I only heard of it through a “college finder” app. I liked the idea of going to school out of state but was never serious about doing it. I was actually committed to going to another school for a while, but I used the common application to apply to some private, liberal arts schools, including Westminster. 

By the time April rolled around, my plans to go to the other school fell through. I bought a plane ticket, and basically a week later visited Westminster’s campus. The first thing I noticed is that the campus and overall neighborhood of Sugar House are both super pretty, and filled with things to do and see. The staff and students I met were accommodating and very friendly (despite it being right before finals), and when I observed a class I noticed that the learning environment is intimate, which is something I highly value. The entire visit experience was very personal, and it kind of just felt “good” to be there. Westminster feels like a place where I can grow in my studies and in myself. 

I was fairly set on Westminster after my visit, so then it just took convincing my parents, who weren’t able to attend the visit and have never been out to Westminster or even the state of Utah itself.

Q: Do you know what you want to study yet?

A: Right now I am enrolled as a biology (pre-med) major.

Q: Why is that what you’re interested in? 

A: Biology was one of my favorite areas of study in high school. I also participated in a club called Science Olympiad, and just kind of fell in love with science throughout that. A biology major is (currently) a good start to some career ideas I have in mind. My plans could definitely change, though, and I am open to that.

Q: How do you think Westminster will help you achieve your goals?

A:   I immediately recognized that Westminster was a very student-oriented school. The small class sizes, approachable staff, and all-around supportive atmosphere at Westminster will definitely help me to achieve my goals, even if my goals might change.

Q: Is there anything you’re nervous about coming to Westminster? Anything you’re excited about?

A:  I would say the thing I am most nervous about will be moving far from home, and away from friends and family. Despite my nerves, I am really excited to meet new people and explore all that Westminster has to offer, not only through academics but the social aspect of it as well. Another thing I am nervous about is finding the balance between these areas (academic and social life).

Q: Is there anything you plan on getting involved in outside of academics?

A:  I like keeping busy, so I am hoping to find some clubs/ groups to join on campus, with an emphasis on outdoor recreation/ sporting clubs and activist groups. Westminster definitely has an engaging social environment so I am looking forward to finding out how I fit in the mix.

Brooke Scudder, 18, San Diego, California

Q: Why did you choose to come to Westminster?

A: I choose to come to Westminster because it’s a place to grow and start being on my own and not just a college to get a degree. Also, it’s not in California.

Q: Do you know what you want to study yet?

A: I am going to be an English major, and I want to attempt a minor in history.

Q: Why is that what you’re interested in? 

A: I’ve always had a natural knack for creative writing and English-based activities and I plan to have a job in the field. On the history side, I have always found reading about the histories and cultures of the world extremely interesting and want to learn more.

Q: How do you think Westminster will help you achieve your goals?

A: I think Westminster is the best place for me because of the smaller, and closer, environment between people. Because you can take all the classes you want, but you’ll burn out without good, close friendships.

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