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We Have Big Dreams

May 17, 2021
woman outside
Zoe Hendricks (Courtesy photo)

UW students share how they hope to change the world. 

(Part Two) University of Wyoming students have big dreams—not just for their careers but also for their larger impact on the world. We asked students from across campus how they hope to change the world and how UW is helping them along the way. 

Zoe Hendricks

December 2020 graduate, physiology major, honors and psychology minor, Colorado Springs, Colo.

The change I desire to create in the world is improving access and sustainability of medical care. I am continuing my education to become a physician. In fall 2021, I will begin my next educational journey toward becoming a doctor to serve my community through the lens of medicine. As a physician, I intend to individualize my care to my patients by truly understanding who they are to provide the best care I can for them. I value developing long-term patient relationships to facilitate trust, empathy and compassion during my practice.

Until I begin medical school, I am serving the Laramie community as a scribe for Stitches Acute Care. I am so grateful for my thorough education from UW and all the opportunities this university has provided me over the last four years. At UW, I served as a STEP tutor and coordinator, a supplemental instructional leader for CHEM 1020, president and founder of UW’s Love Your Melon Crew and a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta (pre-med club). As a Wyoming Research Scholar, I have been able to complete my own research project, studying the effects of exercise for college students with ADHD, and served as a research assistant in Professor Cynthia Hartung’s Attention and Learning Lab in the Department of Psychology. I was also able to study abroad through the Honors College to Florence, Italy, to study medicine, science and art. My professors have consistently been a support system for me to achieve my goal and serve the Laramie community.


two women in hard hats at a railing overlooking a river gorge
Jordan Remley and Paige Trent (right). (Courtesy photo)

Paige Trent

Senior, environment and natural resources and energy resource management and development major with a concentration in professional land management, Laramie, Wyo.

The world is a dynamic place with an unknown future. I hope to help create change regarding energy and the environment for our planet. Energy is a necessary part of society that enables us to live how we do. However, energy often comes with the drawback of harming the environment. Sustainable development is possible, and I hope to support the energy industry through an environmental lens.

My experiences at UW have been fantastic. I have received a world-class education, have benefited from committed faculty and mentors, and have built lifelong relationships with friends and peers. Attending UW has helped me understand the complexity of sustainable development. I have had the opportunity to listen to multiple perspectives and understand the different views of stakeholders. This learning has involved field weeks and hands-on learning about the problems facing the industry. Economics and conservation should be balanced, and my coursework has provided me with the knowledge and skills that will allow me to contribute in achieving this goal. Collaboration and cooperation are a key piece in obtaining this balance, and I have been able to witness these practices at UW and in my interactions with energy professionals through the UW Energy Club.

In the future, I hope to work with energy companies and other stakeholders to achieve this goal through changing permitting and leasing processes, promoting energy portfolio diversification, and supporting increased communication and transparency across stakeholder groups and communities. Land is a vital resource that is required for energy and the environment to exist. After all, we are responsible for taking care of the land we live on, and I hope to do my part through having a career in the energy industry to contribute in powering society while protecting our natural resources.


man in cap and gown in front of bucking horse statue
Travis Moore (Courtesy photo)

Travis Moore

Fall 2020 graduate, doctor of education, Rawlins, Wyo.

I’m principal of the alternative school, Rawlins Cooperative High School, and I teach adjunct for Western Wyoming Community College. My dissertation was on social and emotional learning and the policy that governs that and how schools are utilizing those things. That’s the big emphasis I will have moving through the remainder of my education career. At my school especially, we really focus on personal investment and individualized education. Not only do students meet the state and district requirements, but they also better seize opportunities that have to do with what they want after high school.

I love to learn. The more I learned, the more my eyes were opened to what we had and didn’t have. In the advanced study of policy and the law, I learned how legislation, the state school board, Wyoming Department of Education and all those pieces work together. That learning journey made me more curious about crafting a program that would better serve the people. I was inspired a great deal by some of my teachers. That inspiration and research led me to dig into social-emotional learning and eventually my dissertation.

My wife is also a student at UW. She’s completing the executive MBA. When UW started moving to distance or blended coursework for graduate studies, that was outstanding. Without that, I couldn’t have done any of this. Making the education more accessible to practicing educators was wonderful, and I’m very thankful for that.


woman standing outside
Ashlyn Woods Dubanski (Courtesy photo)

Ashlyn Woods Dubanski

Senior, art education and BFA majors, Loomis, Calif.

My goal is to be more than just an art educator but also a role model for good citizenship, being kind and being a contributing member of society. I want to be a mentor for my future students. Some of my most influential role models were my high school teachers. I want to be like them when I go to teach. Even out of class, they were always helping me and mentoring me with life decisions and everything beyond just the schoolwork. I think that’s so important for kids to have.

That’s how I hope to change the world: one student at a time. Every day, go into the classroom sharing kindness and love and hoping the students will catch on and share that with other students.

UW has an incredible art education program. Assistant Professor Kathleen Frye is incredible. She’s opened us up to new ideas about education and how it can help—how it can be more than the subjects we’re teaching. In the BFA program specifically, we have mentors. They help develop the creative environment that we’re making our work in.

I’m an instructor for Cowboy Country Swing Club. That’s super fun. We do on-campus swing dances and volunteer at local middle schools and 4-H events and things like that. I also do work study through the ceramics department, and I’m the student manager at UW catering.

As a whole, UW is so perfect as a school, in my opinion. We have the perfect amount of people in the classroom. It seems like a community in the town of Laramie and the school itself.


man outside in desert area
Austin Shaffer (Courtesy photo)

Austin Shaffer

Junior, zoology and environmental systems science majors, geology and honors minors, Mantua, Ohio

Alongside my coursework, I spend much of my time under the employ of the UW Geological Museum, engaging visitors and working in the prep lab on fossil specimens, including a roughly 50-million-year-old crocodile and turtle. I am also the founder and president of a new registered student organization on campus, the Wyoming Paleobiology Club, created with the intent of getting more people interested in the importance of fossils and learning about the past.

I really hope to get more people interested in the history of life on Earth. I truly believe that it is only through exploring the past that we will be able to understand the present and anticipate and prepare for the future. At this point, I am attempting to gain as much knowledge and experience relevant to my understanding of the past as possible. As such, I am trying to make the most of every opportunity available, from summer internships to personal reading.

UW has helped to build my knowledge, experience and connections, setting me up with the skills I need to succeed in the future. I am indebted to some of the great professors and staff members at the university, as well as the opportunities available for me to pursue my aspirations.

I hope to pursue a graduate degree following my graduation from UW. With this, I eventually aim to impart my experiences and knowledge to others, be it through the publication of research, the writing of books or teaching.

Coming to Wyoming was a big shift, traveling so far away from home to attend college. Despite my being apart from the family and friends that I had known all my life, UW and the surrounding community never failed to ensure that I felt at home. I am incredibly thankful for having come to Laramie.


Rebecca Lawrence

Junior, microbiology major with a concentration in medical microbiology, Brookwood, Ala.

When I was 19 years old, I was pregnant with my daughter and I had no insurance. I was living in a rural area, and the health care resources I needed just weren’t available. I am thankful that I had family that helped me to get the care I needed, but there are so many people in this country that don’t have that support system, and they deserve to have access to good health care.

I want to help individuals when they really need it. When they are scared, I want to be a comforting voice, and when they are vulnerable, I want to make sure they know that I am in their corner. I think large-scale change starts with the little things—small everyday occurrences that make big differences in an individual’s life. I want to improve access to the human right that is health care, especially for those who are uninsured or underinsured and those who live in rural areas with little to no access to good health care.

At UW, I am currently a teaching assistant and supplemental instruction leader for Organic Chemistry 1. Outside of the campus, I volunteer as a ski patroller and at the local food bank and the local free clinic. Working at the clinic has really opened my eyes to the challenges that people are facing, especially when it comes to being able to afford basic medical care. As a ski patroller, I have seen firsthand how people respond to being injured, and many seem less concerned with their injuries and more concerned with how much it will cost them to go to the emergency room I am also working toward my bachelor’s degree in microbiology, with the hope of getting into medical school and then one day working as a physician in a rural community, helping those like my past self with little access to health care.


woman standing outside
Sophia Helmkamp (Courtesy photo)

Sophia Helmkamp

Junior, mechanical engineering and music major, Parker, Colo.

I’ve always looked on the engineering profession as a chance to serve God by serving people in the world around me. Whether it’s creating new things, improving old ones, or merely continuing to provide the products and services that people rely on, engineers have a chance to influence people’s lives for the better. This is what I hope to accomplish with my engineering degree.

The purpose of music, on the other hand, is to bring joy to people’s lives and praise the God who created beauty. Throughout my life, I hope to use my violin, voice and other musical talents for these purposes. Along with my music I play at UW, I currently play violin frequently at my church, St. Andrews Lutheran Church and Campus Center.

In addition to academic pursuits, I conduct undergraduate research in the Belmont Energy Research Group, an energy and combustion laboratory headed by mechanical engineering Associate Professor Erica Belmont. UW has provided amazing opportunities in both music and engineering. I have been privileged to work with Professor Belmont and her graduate students on several projects, learning not only the basic lab skills I had not previously had the chance to acquire but also research and design techniques that should serve me well. In the Department of Music, I have had the opportunity to play in, lead and solo with multiple excellent ensembles, experiences I will use throughout my life as a musician.

I am a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, and I am leading a supplemental instruction session for an engineering class, a role that involves teaching, tutoring and problem-solving help.

I hope for an internship this coming summer that will propel me even further toward engineering opportunities, so that when I graduate next year I can take an industry job.


Nicole Reyes Aguilar

Junior, sociology and economics major, marketing minor, Cheyenne, Wyo.

The best way to make the world a better place is by setting forth an example of the changes you want to see. Stand up for what you believe in, and stand up for those who cannot. Participating in activities that help brighten our communities, such as participating in the Big Event at UW or participating in the Homecoming parade, spread joy to other people and do not take too much effort. Other activities such as voting allow you to have a voice in your community when it comes to important issues and policies. Volunteering time or helping people are things that do not take much time but have big impacts.

I serve as co-chair of M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) and the student leader for the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference. By participating in M.E.Ch.A., we do a lot of activism in support of the Latinx community and people of color. There are many important issues in our world, but an important one for me is diversity. Diversity is something we value as a recognized student organization, and we like to do whatever we can to show our support to these communities. By participating in the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference, I have been able to talk to younger girls who have questions about their futures and to provide advice based on my own experience as a Latina and a college student.

UW has given me a platform through M.E.Ch.A. and the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference to express my opinions and share my thoughts with other community members. For example, through M.E.Ch.A., I was able to present a speech, along with two other members, to ASUW about my support for the Senate Resolution 2728, which provides support for DACA students. The bill was later passed that same night.

I would like to continue to show my support for multiple communities through these two organizations during the rest of my time at UW. Diversity is an important issue to me, and I believe that equality can definitely help the world be a little better. It is important for me to also continue to show my support and stand up for marginalized communities after I graduate.


man playing a guitar
Anthony Campese (Courtesy photo)

Anthony Campese

Senior, psychology major, Gillette, Wyo.

I hope to find a drugs and behavior psychology master’s program that focuses on less-invasive and natural medications. I also want to focus on sociological trends and how they affect how societies approach these drug norms. I think a lot of people are scared of the natural drug routes, and it’s becoming more normal to be on these invasive medications.

With my business called Over the Way Productions, I want to build a community of independent artists, especially in Wyoming. My website,, is live! I’m currently working with 10 artists around the state who want to help build a stronger community while building their portfolios. I’m working with Impact 307 by getting initiated into their incubation program. (A UW program, Impact 307 is a network of innovation-driven business incubators committed to growing Wyoming’s entrepreneurial community.)

Over the past six years, I was fortunate enough to tour with my band The Unknown Known, and I finally have this knowledge base and network necessary to help other artists brand themselves. I hope to offer my services to more artists in the region. I’m working on getting a lot of my own content completed so people can see that what I’m offering is valuable. I make YouTube videos on a channel called AytuC, where I talk about art, philosophy, psychology and sociology. A couple of my artist friends and I livestream art showcases and life concept talks three times a month on our Over The Way Twitch channel.

I currently work at a Gillette dance studio called Live 2 Dance, where I teach musical theater, musical theater dance, vocal lessons and music theory. This is my second year working with kids, and it’s been super cool working with the younger generation. I also teach a stretching and strengthening class at the rec center for adults.

The resources and networking opportunities at UW have seriously been phenomenal. Even though I do distance learning, I’ve really been fortunate to have teachers and staff who have referred me to businesses and have instilled confidence in my ideas. Most of the professors are so willing to help if you’re interested in what they’re teaching you.


man and older woman posing together
Kerry Ray Schinkel and his grandmother, Lolly Schinkel. (Courtesy photo)

Kerry Ray Schinkel

Food science and human nutrition master’s student, Rawlins, Wyo.

At UW, I am a second-year graduate teaching assistant and a member of the Food Security Task Force, particularly working with the survey and research working group. There is a lot going on in the world. I would like to contribute my work toward creating a world where nutrient-dense food is accessible to everyone in our global food system.

I want to start small within the United States military community, because they have afforded me with vast amounts of opportunities for self-improvement, education, camaraderie and discipline.

I am working on my graduate thesis, which is focusing on the prevalence of food insecurity—lack of access to, ability to get or affordability of nutritious food—among military-connected students, such as veterans, active-duty military, guardsman, reservists and children and spouses at UW, along with qualitative research discussing the impact of food security on behaviors and emotions of military-connected students. UW helped me achieve my goals by having funding opportunities from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources that aided in creating participant incentives, as well as for material to aid in research costs.

In the future, I hope to work for a nonprofit organization, such as Feeding America, or a grass-roots organization to get more experience in the field of food insecurity on a larger scale. My second goal is to work as a registered dietitian nutritionist for the armed forces of the United States of America. I have been enlisted in the Wyoming Air National Guard for eight years, and I would like to continue my service but as an officer focusing on feeding our current troops and those who are no longer serving, such as in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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