Crystal Kostka is the first student ever to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with Civic Honors. She is both a Civic Honors student and a criminal justice major. She presented the defense of her Civic Honors to professors, friends, students, and the community, May 5, in the Oak Room. Her presentation pertained to the topic of juvenile delinquency and street gangs.
Some of Crystal’s experience in her field, was in her work with the Racine C.O.P. House on Villa Street. She helped to coordinate their group for gang members who focus on behavior modification. She has also held the position of Student Communications Specialist with Mentor Racine and Kenosha, which is a group that is in partnership with Parkside. This group offers “meaningful mentoring” to people in both Racine and Kenosha counties.
The Civic Honors program is new to Parkside. It allows for ambitious students to incorporate an issue that they are strongly passionate about, into their experience at UW-P. This promotes participation in projects and independent studies that relate to the local community.
The main goal of the Civic Honors program is to produce positive changes within the students’ own communities. A defense, like the one that Crystal presented, is required of all Civic Honor students, some time during their senior year. Once this is fully completed, Civic Honors students receive a “Civic Honors” designation on their transcripts. This is certainly a program that will reap positive rewards, will help with résumés, and is very likely to be beneficial to any sort of search for a fresh career.
The Civic Honors program is extremely important to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, because it focuses on issues that are relevant to the students, and to our local community. Civic Honors students, on average, possess skills that are extremely valuable to employers, because they are required to demonstrate their own competencies in relation to their fields. They are also known for their immense ability to network with other individuals effectively. Civic Honors students are required to build an accomplishment portfolio that is built on their experience in their fields, and on their work with the Civic Honors program.
Emily Battisti, the University Program Associate and Civic Honors Coordinator, had this to say in regards to the program. “For faculty, the program gives a means to promote and support our best students who have a commitment to their community. Additionally, it helps them to connect with community partners in their field, and connect their in-class expertise with current community and University priorities.” According to her, the program also offers an immense opportunity for independent studies, and research projects.
The handbook of the program is available at http://www.uwp.edu/academics/honors/forms/2010.01.18-UW-Parkside%20Civic…, and the Civic Honors coordinator can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide information and answer questions.
Story by Jake Halverson