Senior Spotlight: August Evans-Willman

This past quarter, I had the opportunity to talk to August Evans-Willman, a senior who will be graduating in spring 2024. She provided insight into her journey of being an EOU student, including how one of her courses at Eastern Oregon University led to her dream job.

Why did you start attending EOU? How did you pick EOU?

“I started attending EOU because it’s one of the few colleges in Oregon that has a decent online program. Most of the colleges don’t. I am located way outside of La Grande, and I am completely online, so that was a big factor for me. I live in a town that has a community college but doesn’t have a university. I needed that flexibility. I found Eastern Oregon and it had my program, and I just went for it.”

What major and minor are you studying? What led you to choose your major and minor? 

“I am double majoring in English and history. For English, it was pretty straightforward: I just really love literature and linguistics, I always have. For history, I realized a lot of the topics I was interested in were historical topics, which led me to take more history courses. That’s when I decided that is also what I wanted to do.”

How has your academic journey unfolded during your time at EOU?

“I got an associate degree at a community college, so I transferred to EOU. It has been pretty straightforward here. There haven’t been any road bumps, luckily, and it has been pretty uneventful in terms of how it has unfolded.”

How have you balanced work, school and your personal life during your time at EOU?

“I have, and I haven’t. I do full-time school and full-time work. [Laughs] Nobody can stop me. I dedicate my evenings to schoolwork. I really have to be strict on when I do stuff. At the beginning of every term, I determine what days of the week assignments are due and schedule around it. It has been very successful, and I think I’ve managed it pretty well. The sleeping schedule definitely falls by the wayside but you are only in college for so long.”

What are some lessons or insights that you have gained from EOU?

“I think the main thing I have learned from Eastern Oregon and from college in general is you need to really be willing to communicate with your professors. I’ve noticed that a lot of professors are willing to meet with you and help you go over extra rough drafts of assignments. It really helps you increase your grades and make sure you understand the material like professors want, especially online, since it can be difficult sometimes. Also, be really strict about your schedule and plan it out so you aren’t doing all your work in one day.”

What are your plans after graduation? What are your future career aspirations?

“My goal is to continue on and get my master’s and potentially a PhD. I want a master’s in history specifically. My career goal is to work in academia in some way, shape, or form, whether that be in a library or museum. I just got hired at a community college library doing archival work, and I really enjoy it. It blends history, English, and academic work together. I could see myself doing this as a career someday.”

Do you have any advice for incoming and rising students?

“My biggest piece of advice as a student in general is to use the tutoring center. I know a lot of people don’t want to, but it really helps to have another set of eyes on an assignment. My second piece of advice is to ask questions and do not be afraid to explore different majors as you may not stick with your first one.”

What has been the highlight of your academic and EOU experience?

“Getting my associate degree was a highlight. It took me a long time and was a huge accomplishment. Another would be getting the opportunity at the community college library for the archival job. The job actually came out of my EOU English practicum course. That was a huge high for me. When I was told I had to go out into the community and use my skills, I had a bit of a heart attack, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. So I reached out to the community college library, and luckily, they needed help with archival work. I was very lucky. It has been a lot of fun. It is so nerdy.”

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