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Ambrose Scholar: 'I Go All In'

Photo of Rachel Wiedman

May 2017

Rachel Wiedman is all about experiencing life first-hand.

"I like to be involved in things and I have a wide variety of interests. I have a hard time pinning down a favorite subject at school. So many things entice me," she said.

Wiedman is from the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, Ill., and this fall will enter St. Ambrose University as a first year student and an Ambrose Scholar, a distinction that came with a full tuition scholarship.

Wiedman graduated in the top one percent of her class at Willowbrook High School and was very involved in school activities, including spending four years in Chess Club, Pep Band, Scholastic Bowl and Jazz Band. During high school, she was a member of five honor societies -- social studies, music, math, foreign language and English -- as well as holding leadership roles in National Honor Society.

Outside of school, Wiedman served as a youth minister and volunteered for various projects, from raking leaves to mission trips.

"I grew up in a very Catholic family, and helping others and offering service to others was always something I was interested in and enjoyed," she said, adding one of her favorite volunteer activities is guiding teens in faith and fun as a summer camp counselor.

"I went to Camp R.O.C.K when I was in middle school and became a counselor in high school. I see it as getting an opportunity to do for the kids what others did for me-- taking care of me, helping me learn and grow," Wiedman said. "Camp is one of my favorite times of year."

Wiedman said her drive and spirit was nurtured at home. "My parents taught me to do the best I can in whatever I do. When I start something, I go all in. I do everything completely or not at all," she said.

Wiedman's goal is to become a social studies teacher. She was looking for a university where she could earn a secondary education degree and a postgraduate degree, too. That led her to St. Ambrose.

"As soon as I got on campus, I felt like it was the right place. I had a gut instinct that this is where I am meant to be and go to college," she said, adding everyone she met was extremely welcoming and friendly.

"One thing that was incredible to me is how much personal attention I was given, and how much the people at St. Ambrose seem to care about the individual," Wiedman said.

"I got a personal phone call from my counselor telling me I was admitted, and another call when I got the scholarship. This is what I get to experience at St. Ambrose," she said. "It seems like there is a true drive for education and community, and that really appeals to me."

Wiedman plans to get involved in the campus community. She plays the trumpet and hopes to join SAU's marching band, jazz band, and perhaps concert band, too.

"I am looking forward to becoming more independent and having more responsibility, and to start learning more about my major," she said.

MORE LIKE THIS:AmbroseZine, For Prospective Undergraduates, Institutional-Campus

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