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This Spotlight series recognizes a student’s academic achievements and personal story. Students are nominated for this spotlight by faculty and staff.

Name: Lesley Thao
Age: 20
Hometown: Appleton
Career program/major: Pre-OT and Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS)
UW-Fox Valley student clubs/organizations: Universal Multicultural Association (UMA) and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK)
Campus Employment: Library

What led you to choose your program or major?

By exploring majors online, I stumbled upon the human development and family studies (HDFS) major. I was intrigued by it. As I researched more about the major and after taking a life development class, I confirmed that I wanted to major in HDFS. I enjoy learning about the way humans develop as individuals and how we cope with relationships. In addition, I want to become an occupational therapist because I want to assist patients and see them overcome their difficulties.

Why did you decide to become a student at UW-Fox Valley?

I decided to become a UW-Fox Valley student because I was undecided and because I wanted to save money.

Is there a professor or staff member at UW-Fox Valley who made a difference in your life or inspired you?

In my opinion, all of the professors and staff members that I have encountered at UW-Fox Valley are genuinely great people who want to see you succeed. If I have to narrow it down, professor Teresa Gonya is an amazing club adviser and human physiology professor. I’m truly thankful that she helped me revive UMA and that she contributes ideas to our club. In addition, she makes learning fun. Professor Erin DeMuynck is also a great club adviser. She finds opportunities for PTK. Last but not least, I am honored that Ane Carriveau, academic librarian, nominated me for this Student Spotlight.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an incoming UW-Fox Valley student?

I hope that you actually enjoy learning, and that you don’t stress too much, and that you’re happy. Take care of your well-being. You matter and you have so much ahead of you.

Describe something unexpected that happened here at UW-Fox Valley.

While attending UW-Fox Valley, I went from procrastinating, gaining freshman fifteen, dying my hair pink, living off energy drinks and coffee, having all-nighters to study, and getting three hours of sleep before an exam to being the president of two clubs, attending out-of- state conferences, networking with others, volunteering when I get the chance, being on the dean’s list, losing the freshman fifteen (bless), valuing sleep, and not stressing over what I can’t control. I believe I have changed for the better while attending UW-Fox Valley. Another unexpected event that happened here is the UW System restructuring, which joined UW-Fox Valley with UW Oshkosh. I hope that the restructure will make things even better for future students.

When not in class or studying, what keeps you busy?

When I’m not in class or studying (which is basically my life), I like to go on Netflix, dance, read, watch YouTube videos, or go on Instagram.

What are your plans after UW-Fox Valley?

I plan to transfer to a four-year university, get my bachelor’s degree, get my master’s in occupational therapy, become an occupational therapist (maybe be a traveling OT for a couple years), get my OTD, and also buy a house for my mom.

UW-Fox Valley is a campus of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Learn more about the student life on our campus and the options for beginning one of more than 200 majors at UW-Fox Valley. Call (920) 832-2620 to schedule an appointment with an adviser.