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Published May 07, 2020
For University of Wyoming psychology sophomore Adrian Seiloff, life during a global pandemic means having to stay indoors. He was born with a genetic primary immunodeficiency disorder, leaving him with a compromised immune system.
Seiloff is one of the university’s best and brightest. As a top-performing student, he has worked hard to maintain a high grade-point average and is involved with Student Success Services, a UW program that works to empower students by providing tools for college life management. He’s passionate about helping others to heal and plans to attend graduate school to pursue clinical psychology.
Before the COVID-19 health crisis, Seiloff would have described his financial stability and food security as comfortable. He was an employee for Safesplash Swim School, arranging swimming lessons for clients of all ages. His mother is the small-business owner of the successful Studio 12 Salon in Cheyenne. Until now, he and his brother had never had to face the fear of going hungry.
“You never realize just how close you are to stress and ‘making things work’ until something terrible happens,” Seiloff says. “Since then, we’ve been shaky and worried about what comes next.”
The pandemic has affected many UW students and, for some, the outcome has been catastrophic. In addition to the economic hardship and general anxiety surrounding the crisis, some students are more vulnerable to the virus. This means additional precautions, including never leaving the house.
Seiloff currently lives in Laramie, separated from his family. One of the most difficult aspects of his new reality is not being able to provide for his family back home.
“Right now, I’m working to comfort my mother as she tries to get her salon up and running, but I can’t even do that because we all fear that I could get sick,” he says. “The most I can offer her is a listening ear when it gets to be too much or helping my little brother as he prepares to graduate high school online.”
Accomplishing goals and a strong work ethic have been fundamental to Seiloff’s upbringing. A Wyoming native, he was drawn to the university of his home state because it was close to family. He fell in love with UW because it had the same sense of community he had experienced growing up. He was looking for a true home away from home when he was considering where to attend college. He feels he has found another family in the university.
“My professors have always been receptive to me reaching out for help,” Seiloff says. “I absolutely feel supported. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is not to be afraid to ask for help. At the University of Wyoming, someone will always be there.”
Seiloff applied for the Pokes Make the Difference student emergency fund, hoping he could receive any kind of assistance to help his situation. The funding he received was the difference between having food and going hungry.
“If I hadn’t received the funding, I’m just not certain what my household and I would have been able to keep doing for food, or how we would have paid our water, electric bill or rent,” he says. “This money also means that my family back in Cheyenne doesn’t have to worry about supporting me when they are already worried about supporting themselves.”