Spartans of UD: Marissa Joers

Sep 20, 2017

Spartans of UD is a new feature that highlights what makes University of Dubuque special – the people who live, work, and study on campus. Marissa Joers, a junior business administration major, is president of the Student Government Association, editor-in-chief of The Belltower, and a member of Phi Theta Psi. She also participated in the 2017 Joseph and Linda Chlapaty Summer Fellowship and is currently involved in the Wendt Character Scholar program. Joers, of Racine, Wisconsin, finds time to serve as a team leader in the Student Ambassador program on campus.

Spartans of UD - Marissa Joers
Junior Business Administration Major

1. When you were touring colleges as a high school student, what was it about UD that made you decide to become a Spartan?

“I actually toured eight colleges before visiting UD last, and I only came out because Dishon Deering, the assistant tennis coach, had come to my hometown to watch me compete in a tournament. When I came to campus, I absolutely loved the campus. I liked that it was small enough to know where everything was, but it was large enough to have plenty of space and different buildings. After meeting with Ben Bartels, assistant professor of criminal justice, as well as the tennis coaches and Ricardo Cunningham, head of the Business and Accounting Department and professor of business and accounting, I was impressed how much the faculty and staff were devoted to students. I went to a small high school, so I was used to my professors knowing who I was, and I felt I could have that same experience at UD.”

2. Why did you decide to be involved in so many student organizations/activities on campus?

“As a business administration major, I know that in my academic program simply having a high GPA is not enough to stand out. I could walk into one business class and find 10 other students who achieve the same grades as I do. I knew coming into college that I wanted to stand out, and I wanted to try everything I possibly could that was never available to me in my tiny high school. I find peace in being busy; I cannot stand boredom. I found so many opportunities to meet new people and learn new skills through extracurriculars at UD that I wanted to be as involved as I possibly could, and I have loved every minute of it.”

3. What would you say to students who are not sure if they should be involved on campus?

“You are missing out an entire world inside our small campus. I find that being involved helps you develop a sense of confidence and self-worth, and allows you to foster many important relationships. Remember that a good GPA is not enough; employers and graduate schools are going to pursue students who have a well-rounded resume of accomplishments. Do not count yourself out now by not pushing yourself to your limit. You never know what you may stumble upon that could reshape your life.”

4. This summer, you researched effective community policing as a fellow through the Joseph and Linda Chlapaty Summer Fellowship. What did you learn from that experience? 

“I am so thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Chlapaty for their support of developing student minds beyond the classroom. I connected with individuals from around the nation who each were devoted to their own personal mission of bettering their community. Each time I listened to their stories, it made me realize how much of an impact one person can have on the lives of those around them. Honestly, I did also learn that independent research was probably not something I was going to actively pursue in my career, which I thought was the most valuable part of the entire experience. I tried something completely new to me, and it helped me narrow down my interests and passions so that I can have a clearer vision of what I want to do in my life.”

5. What are your goals for this year as president of the Student Government Association?

“My number one goal is to switch the mindset of students on campus that all we do at SGA is control the money flow. That is an important part of our job, but we can do so much more for students than just that. I want students to see SGA as a resource for solving problems on campus, listening to their concerns, and making the administration aware of this. We want to better the entire student experience in any way that we can, so I want more students to know what SGA can do for them.”

6. What was it like to receive the Student of the Year Award at the 2017 Honors Convocation?

“I was incredibly honored that everything I had done for my first two years in college had taken me to this point of recognition by UD's faculty and staff. In that moment I truly felt that all of my hard work had paid off, and it confirmed for me that I had been doing good work that was appreciated on campus. I want to leave my mark on UD and leave it a better place for future students than it was when I came, and I am thankful to have been shown in that way that I am making a difference.”

7. What are your plans for after you graduate from UD?

“I actually just completed the Law School Admissions Test on September 16, which is my first major step to applying for law school. I plan on seeking out my Juris Doctor in law school specializing in environmental law. I went to the first certified 'green' school in Wisconsin from sixth to 12th grade, so I was constantly surrounded by a mindfulness of environmental stewardship and being ethical and aware of all of the choices we make. I know how those choices impact the natural world. I want to use my skills for speech and communication and mix that with my passion for saving the environment.”