Up Close With EMILY MECH (WISCONSIN '16)
Her life forever changed by the Evans Scholarship, Emily Mech set out for a small village in Uganda earlier this year determined to change other young lives through education.
Emily, a University of Wisconsin Evans Scholar, spent three months this summer volunteering in Uganda as part of a collaboration between the university’s International Internship Program and CARITAS for Children. The Milwaukee-based nonprofit provides financial assistance for the health, education and general welfare of orphaned and disadvantaged children.
Emily taught English to nursery school students, computer skills to primary school students and basic concepts of educational psychology to first-year college students. The memories she made and relationships she forged with students and co-workers left an indelible mark.
A day she spent with her nursery school students toward the end of the term was particularly memorable.
“Instead of having normal class, I brought stickers and foam boards to class and the kids got a chance to design an art project for the first time,” she said. “Although most of the stickers ended up on their faces, the students had a wonderful time, and each went home with a masterpiece to call their own.”
A native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and caddie at Pine Hills Country Club, Emily said her experience as an Evans Scholar played a pivotal role in her decision to go to Uganda.
“As a Wisconsin Evans Scholar, it is important to me to continue the legacy of Chick Evans and give back to students who deserve an education,” said Emily, who is in her junior year. “I owe this program so much for supporting me in my education and for giving me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those students.”
A double-major in communication sciences & disorders and psychology, Emily said she plans to get a doctorate degree in cognitive psychology and specialize in psycholinguistics, which examines how humans acquire, use and comprehend language.
No matter her future career, Emily said she owes a great deal to the Evans Scholars Program, which has given her so much more than a scholarship.
“I had no idea that being an Evans Scholar meant being adopted into a huge family – not only within my chapter or with other current Scholars across the nation, but within a network of Alumni and supporters who are invested in our success,” she said. “Most importantly, being an Evans Scholar has taught me the importance of reaching out and giving back through my actions and my abilities.”
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AN EXPERIENCED TEACHER
In addition to teaching abroad in Uganda, Emily has tutored students at nearby Allis Elementary School in Madison as part of an afterschool program that offers fun learning opportunities for students in the arts and sciences.
“I absolutely love working with the younger students,” she said. “It’s my goal to help give them the tools they’ll need to be successful now and in the future.”
A TRAVELING VOLUNTEER
Emily’s list of lengthy extracurricular activities also includes being active with MEDLIFE, a student organization at Wisconsin that operates mobile medical clinics throughout South America.
She spent more than two weeks last year with the group in the mountains near Lima, Peru.
“We assisted local doctors at medical clinics and performed a variety of other service projects,” Emily said. “Through our efforts, we helped more than 2,600 people receive medical attention or directly benefit from the service projects. It was a life-changing experience.”
AN OBSERVANT CADDIE
Though she learned many skills during her four years as a caddie at Pine Hills, Emily said one in particular has helped her inside and outside the classroom.
“I learned on the golf course that integrity is just as essential as performance,” she said. “Although it may be easier to kick a ball into the fairway, true success is achieved only when honest hard work and effort have been put forth to achieve a goal.”