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Giving Undergraduates an Opportunity to Flourish

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President Laurie S. Nichols

By Laurie S. Nichols

It has been nearly a year since I became the 26th president of the University of Wyoming, and in that time I have learned a great deal about this wonderful institution. Our strengths and assets are numerous, but one characteristic stands out to me as perhaps most significant of all: the excellent undergraduate education we offer to our students.

Time and time again, I have heard from students who are delighted that they chose to attend UW. For many, UW was their top choice, and they are highly satisfied with their selection. Others are top Wyoming high school graduates who initially were reticent about coming here, but who have found that their home-state university offers everything, and sometimes more, than they could have found at prestigious out-of-state schools. Some have persevered through difficult transitions from high school and community colleges and are now flourishing in their chosen fields of study, due in large part to their individualized contact with outstanding UW faculty and staff members. And others have returned to Wyoming, transferring from other institutions—in some cases driven by cost, in other cases out of a desire to be closer to home—and have found their time at UW to be every bit as challenging and rewarding as they could experience anywhere in the country.

Regardless of their backgrounds, these students agree that UW offers unique advantages that will help them throughout their lives: the quality education of top research universities combined with a small-school atmosphere, where an average 14:1 student/faculty ratio means optimal contact with instructors; research opportunities that often are available only to graduate students at larger schools; low student debt (if any) because of UW’s extremely affordable tuition and fees; and the prospect of relatively high earnings when they enter the workforce after graduation.

Additionally, they have found UW to be a safe, caring community offering a wide array of opportunities for extracurricular involvement, activities, entertainment and outdoor recreation.

In this special digital edition of UWyo Magazine, you’ll meet dozens of these UW students, along with a number of recent graduates who have gone on to successful careers and graduate studies.

You can read about students who are gaining hands-on experience as undergraduates in the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory; students from Wyoming and beyond engaged in robotics and other research in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and others who are taking advantage of UW’s amazing undergraduate research opportunities.

You can read about students who have enriched their undergraduate education through international travel and studies, made possible because UW has the largest study-abroad scholarship endowment of any land-grant university.

You can read about community college transfer students who once viewed higher education as an unreachable dream, but whose horizons are now almost unlimited because of their UW experiences.

You can read about students in our Honors Program who could have gone to just about any university out of high school, but who have found UW to be an excellent place to live and learn, becoming well-rounded scholars.

You can read about students who have secured internships that have further prepared them for successful careers in a variety of fields.

And you can read about students who have taken advantage of UW’s ample leadership opportunities that help them make lifelong friendships and obtain real-life skills.

Combined, these students’ stories paint the picture of a university that places the student experience as its top priority—where knowledge is gained through hands-on experiences alongside top scholars, and where the opportunities to grow are almost limitless.

I encourage you to read and share these stories with others, to help spread the word about the gem that is the University of Wyoming. As we chart the university’s future, I can assure you that academic quality and student success will remain at the forefront of everything we do.

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