Finding opportunities, not limitations

Finding opportunities, not limitations

Student Kelsi Watters’ activities not limited by visual impairment As the cold weather swept through the Winona campus this winter, freshman Kelsi Watters — like most shivering students — didn’t waste much time getting from building to building. Watters impressively and swiftly makes her way about campus with a white cane and a memorized route, but she joked that maybe if people saw pictures of her all bundled up, they’d feel compelled to arrange for her to ride in a special golf cart. Armed with a sweet disposition, a desire to help others and a strong sense of humor, Watters — a Cameron, Wis., native — is quick to tell you she doesn’t consider herself as having many limitations, despite her complete lack of vision. And her full itinerary proves it. The pastoral and youth ministry major is active with Campus Ministry, has taken a SOUL trip,  serves as a peer note-taker and a liturgical choir member, and works the switchboard at the Info Desk. She’s also a member of the Saint Teresa Leadership and Service Institute for Women and does some mean Zumba® moves — but that’s just the  beginning. Watters takes in most on-campus activities, from presentations to theatre productions to the latest up-allnight fundraiser. In her spare time, she walks around campus and makes note of any inaccurate braille signs, so she can help future SMU students who are vision-impaired. The first word that comes to mind is “inspirational.” Clearly it’s not the first time she’s heard someone describe her that way, but Watters shrugs it off. “I still don’t know what to say. I’m touched...
Student writes about college advice

Student writes about college advice

  After four years at Saint Mary’s, there isn’t much Brian Thomas ’13, the Bellwood, Ill., native can’t handle with a wide smile and a friendly, easygoing attitude. But Thomas remembers back to high school when he didn’t know what a FAFSA was, much less how to fill one out. The English major decided his sophomore year of high school that he would write a book to help high schoolers and incoming freshmen prepare for college life. For a year and a half, in between balancing his classes, coursework and extracurriculars, Thomas wrote about how to balance classes, coursework and extracurriculars. Drawing on his own experiences, as well as the advice of peers, Thomas completed and published “The College Life Guide 101” in summer 2012. “I wanted to provide helpful information and guidance to future college students to help make their transition to college a more fulfilling experience,” he said. The paperback is loaded with straightforward advice about finances, student loans, financial aid, time management, picking a major, buying books, scheduling, handling workloads — even what to pack for college. This past year, Thomas has been speaking to youth organizations and promoting his book, which is available on Amazon.com.  Thomas is already at work on a second edition. In addition to writing, speaking and promoting, Thomas hopes to continue his studies at SMU in the Master of Instruction program this fall — a true testament to the necessity for the time-management skills that he touts in his book. For more information about Thomas, excerpts from his book and a glimpse into other ways he is helping students prepare for...