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Michaela Uhling Named UW's Co-Outstanding Graduating Woman

April 20, 2012
Woman smiling
Michaela Uhling of Saratoga, a senior in elementary education, is the co-recipient of the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating woman.

Michaela Uhling of Saratoga, who will graduate in May with an elementary education degree, is the co-recipient of the Rosemarie Martha Spitaleri Award as the University of Wyoming's outstanding graduating woman.

The award, established in 1964, recognizes Uhling for exhibiting the finest leadership, academic integrity and citizenship qualities. She shares the award with Megan Degenfelder of Casper. Sean Moran of Milford, Ohio, received the Tobin Award, honoring the outstanding graduating man.

The winner of several major scholarships, and a multiple President's Honor Roll (perfect 4.0 GPA) recipient, Uhling will graduate with an overall 3.9 GPA.

Coming from a small Wyoming community, Uhling sought different challenges -- especially those that would benefit her as a future educator -- throughout her UW career. She immersed herself in different, challenging courses each year at UW. She even became a resident assistant (RA) in one of the student residence halls so that she could deal with different people and situations, an experience which she could apply to her own classroom.

"Little did I know how deeply I would be touched and changed by my residents and fellow RAs. As an RA, I was able to help my residents through many different situations. I discovered that my best leadership characteristics were honesty, sincerity, kindness and attentiveness to the people around me," she says.

Uhling says UW prepared her for each new challenge.

"Each challenge, however, was accompanied by new understanding and a deeper appreciation of how far I had come," Uhling says. "My love of learning continued to flourish in the university's enriching academic environment. I learned that the journey is often so much more valuable than the destination."

Peter Moran, UW Department of Elementary and Education head, says Uhling has taken on more responsibilities each year at UW, volunteering in many community and campus activities, and serving as a student leader. She has worked in classrooms in Wyoming, the Wind River Indian Reservation and abroad, teaching English to Ukrainian children.

"Michaela, quite simply, is an extraordinary young woman. She is one of the best students that I have had the opportunity to work with in my 11 years at the university, and is one of the finest young people I have had the pleasure to know," Moran says. "The commitment to service, and the personal and professional growth one can experience through service, is part of her being."

Scott Chamberlin, Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education associate professor, says Uhling's best quality is her humility.

"Having known Michaela for three years, I was unaware that her resume was so comprehensive and that she was so active in service and leadership roles," Chamberlin says. "Michaela is not the type of individual who participates in activities to bolster her resume, but a strong record is most assuredly a by-product of her desire to serve others."

Uhling will use those lessons she's learned at UW as she enters the next phase of her life.

"When I think about the contributions that I have made to the University of Wyoming, I cannot help but think of the ways the university has impacted me as well," she adds. "I have found that, many times, I walked away feeling like I had gained more than the people I was serving."

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