Kelsey Wilber, who will graduate on May 13, 2017, came to CWI in 2014 to pursue her education after feeling “intellectually unsatisfied” and desiring a means to find her true potential.
“I [didn’t] have a degree…I stayed at home and had babies,” she said. “I wanted to claim my part in the academic conversation.”
As a non-traditional student and mother of three, Wilber says she was determined right away not to be the shy person she had always been. She made a conscious effort to sit at the front, ask questions, and get to know her instructors in every one of her classes.
“I was a really dumb 18-year old,” she said, “I didn’t do anything because I was so worried about what other people thought. When I turned 30, I realized I didn’t have time for insecurities! I knew connecting would be a key to my success.”
During her time at CWI, Wilber found a way to connect by being involved in student clubs. For the past two semesters, she has served as the president of both the Geography and Anthropology Clubs. She joined Geography Club following a mapping project in one of her Geography courses that utilized Geographic Information System (GIS). Her interest in GIS led her to the Anthropology Club, where she became involved in a petroglyph recording project at Celebration Park, which she says has been one of her biggest accomplishments.
“It was a really intense, BIG project,” she said, “very student driven.”
Working under Dr. Mark Plew at Boise State University, Wilber has spent the past year writing and publishing a detailed report of the project’s findings. Additionally, with the help of CWI Geography instructor, Bryan Krouse, she developed a StoryMap – an interactive, visual narrative of the Petroglyph Research Project – which will be accessible later this month on the CWI website. In April, Wilber also had the opportunity to present on the project at The Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges (SACC) Annual Meeting. At the meeting, she was formally presented with the SACC Student Award for Academic Excellence.
“Kelsey is an outstanding student who has taken every opportunity to challenge herself and support the student cohort around her,” CWI Anthropology instructor, Nikki Gorrell, said, “all while being a mom to three young, curious, and precocious children.”
Wilber says she has been lucky to have a very supportive husband by her side, encouraging her to participate in activities even when they took away from time with the family. She believes staying involved has enhanced her education and has provided her with many valuable experiences she may not have had otherwise. Her advice to any CWI student is to take every opportunity offered to them, even when it is scary.
“Don’t say no,” she said. “Because I said yes to something, so many more things have happened!”
Wilber will graduate with honors and Associate of Arts degrees in both Anthropology and Geography. She plans to attend Boise State University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and is considering a minor or certificate in Geographic Information Systems. She hopes to eventually go on to pursue a master’s degree.
As her time as a CWI student comes to a close, Wilber admits it is the instructors here who make it hard for her to leave. She is grateful for all the assistance she received along the way and is thankful for instructors who invested in her journey to unleashing her potential.