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This Spotlight series recognizes a UWFox student’s academic achievements and personal story. Students are nominated for this spotlight by faculty and staff.

Name: Melissa SarnowskiMelissa Sarnowski

Age: 22

Hometown: Neenah

Current program/major: Computer Science

High School Attended: Menasha High School

Why did you choose UWFox?

UWFox is close to my home and affordable. When I first started attending, I didn’t know which major I wanted to pursue. So, UWFox was a good choice because they offer a variety of classes that I could take in order to find what might be a major fit for me.

Why did you choose your program/major?

I’ve always liked science and math classes growing up. Computer science is a lot of problem solving and logic, and it’s a challenging field, both of which I enjoy.

What are you learning about your career field that you find interesting or rewarding?

I’m a member of the Computer Club, and we conduct undergraduate research. One of the topics we are researching with Dr. Saleh Alnaeli is the use of vulnerable code in software systems. I love researching about the security of software systems because many software users have security concerns, but they aren’t always at the forefront of our minds when we use various software systems.

In addition to being a college student, what takes up your free time?

I have an oversized golden lab puppy named Thor. He always wants to play and be around people. I also enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. It’s both relaxing and rewarding to create a meal with my own hands. There’s a sense of accomplishment to it.

What do you plan to do after UWFox?

I eventually would like to receive a Ph.D., but I think I’ll start with transferring to a four-year school in order to complete my bachelor’s degree. I’m still waiting to hear back from schools for acceptances or rejections, but I would love to transfer to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

How have you changed since starting at UWFox?

I like to think I’ve become more confident. I’ve presented research at conferences, and I never would have imagined myself standing in front of a group of people and sharing the work in which I participated. I feel like I know where I fit now in academia, and I’m comfortable being there.

What advice do you have for an incoming UWFox student?

I would tell an incoming student to talk to their professors, especially the professors for whichever major they plan to pursue. The professors at UWFox love their fields and they’re always willing to talk to students about those fields and teach them material beyond what is covered during class times. They are extremely valuable resources. Find out what their office hours are and go to them.

To learn more about the associate degree and options for beginning one of more than 200 majors at UW-Fox Valley, call (920) 832-2620 to schedule an appointment with an advisor.

UWFox is part of the University of Wisconsin System and one of the 14 freshman/sophomore campuses of the UW Colleges. UWFox offers an Associate of Arts and Science Degree, the foundation to a bachelor’s degree and specialized professional and occupational degrees.


Laurie Krasin