UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Name: Olivia Yue
Hometown: St. Michael, Minn.
Major: Biology Minor: Psychology
Position: Graduate School
Olivia Yue had her heart set on attending Winona State University. That was until a friend encouraged her to visit UW-River Falls.
“I Instantly fell in love with the UW-River Falls campus,” she says. “I think what spoke to me the most was how personable the staff was. It felt so genuine and authentic. I felt like I was truly being cared for, truly being seen on this campus and that was just my first visit.”
When the St. Michael, Minn., native graduates May 11, her next stop will be joining a cohort of 25 students pursing a master’s degree in occupational therapy at UW-La Crosse.
“I was always dead set at being a doctor,” she explains. “My dad was a physician and I always loved science and excelled in science and math.”
But right before she started at UW-River Falls, her father encouraged her to be open to considering other options like occupational and physical therapy, too.
“The summer after my senior year of high school, I shadowed an occupational therapist at one of the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics in Maple Grove and I just adored it,” she says.
Olivia chose to major in biology because of the flexibility for multiple routes within the healthcare field. She joined the Pre-Health Society and became president of Dan’s Bandana Project, an outreach campaign that commemorates the life of Daniel Gerbec, a college student who took his own life in September 2012.
“I’m very passionate about mental health issues and Dan’s Bandana Project brings students together in a very real and raw way,” she explains. “The bandana symbolizes not only your support for fellow students and faculty who struggle with depression and anxiety, but you are also there if anyone wants to talk.”
A Chancellor’s Scholar and an Honors student, Olivia also started volunteering in the Rehabilitation Center of Hudson Hospital and at St. Croix Therapy. These experiences further confirmed that occupational therapy was the right direction for her.
“The volunteering and shadowing experiences were instrumental in helping me choose what I wanted to do,” she says.
She also credits the annual Opportunity Fair held on campus for helping her find jobs that would give her experience working in diverse situations. She volunteered at Bridge for Community Life, which offers programs for youth and adults with disabilities in the St. Croix River Valley.
“This experience helped me realize my passion for working with people of varying abilities,” she says.
Olivia also thinks the size of the UW-River Falls campus has helped her thrive.
“I had the smaller class sizes and more personable campus that I needed. I don’t think I would have thrived at a big university,” she adds. “I wouldn’t have had all the experiences I did if I didn’t meet certain people to open my eyes to different things.”
She encourages future Falcons to take advantage of the Pick One! program that encourages students to find that one thing they love and get involved.
“There are so many organizations to get involved with, so take advantage and live in the moment,” she says. “College is such an important time of our lives. It’s time we’re never going to get back, in this way and at this age. Don’t rush, enjoy it.”
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