Inspiring Graduate: Anja Huesby, B.S. Psychology

‘My worldview, character and ambition have grown in ways I could not have predicted.’
May 13, 2024

Inspiring Graduate: Anja Huesby (’24)

  • Hometown: Gordon
  • Degree: B.S. Psychology 
  • Minor: Cultural Anthropology
  • Self-designed Concentration: Community Health

Anja Huesby has wanted to help people with their health since she was a little girl. When she started at UW-Stout, she thought she knew exactly what she wanted to do career-wise.

Inspiring grad Anja Huesby
Anja Huesby will continue to explore her interests in psychology and cultural anthropology / UW-Stout

“But now that I’m graduating, I realize I have no idea what I want my field to be,” she said. 

“These past four years have been a truly transformative experience. I am not the same person I was going into my first year. My worldview, character and ambition have grown in ways I could not have predicted. The classes I have taken have given me a deeper understanding of social injustices and fueled my passion for making the world a better place.”

Huesby, an Honors College student, earned her B.S. in psychology on May 4, along with 1,037 graduates.

While she explores her interests and networks with professionals in cultural anthropology, social work, environmental justice, Indigenous cultural revitalization, and food justice, she plans to be a “temporary stay-at-home daughter and do chores for my parents. I would like to add a special thanks to my mom and dad who have supported me along every step of this journey,” she said.

She may go on to earn her master's in clinical mental health counseling.

How well has UW-Stout prepared you to work in your field and why?

Stout strengthened my love for learning, opened new doors of opportunity, introduced me to new interests and made me curious to want more. I’m sad to be graduating because I don’t want the learning to stop. 

The great thing about my degree is that it has given me the skills and versatility to do just about anything. The classes have taught me how to work well with others and independently, communicate effectively and be adaptable to many different settings. No matter what I end up doing in the future, I feel confident I am prepared to excel in any role. 

What stands out about your UW-Stout experience?

I’m especially grateful to Dr. Avigdor Edminster for his instrumental mentorship and support. His teaching truly represents Stout’s polytechnic spirit because his discussion-based lessons allow students to interact deeply with the course material and exchange different ideas with one another. 

I find any classes about social injustices to be emotionally distressing, but Dr. Edminster is wonderful at including positive social justice advocacy and different paradigms that give me hope and inspire me to also make positive change.

How did your involvement on campus impact your experience?

I was the president of Psi Chi for two semesters. This position taught me a lot about leadership and public speaking. My favorite part of the role was the opportunity to connect with other psychology students and build a stronger community within the program. 

I was also a member of the Honors College and was awarded its yearly scholarship. I have taken every opportunity it offered to learn more about cultural diversity and to connect with other students.


Students from across country impact community relations, watershed sustainability with UW-Stout mentors

LAKES researchers to present on health of area lakes, rivers on Aug. 3 at Raw Deal in Menomonie
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I was one of nine undergraduate students from eight universities across the country who worked to improve the health of the Red Cedar watershed last summer with LAKES REU. We collaborated with professors and students across disciplines to research pollution in the watershed and sought to develop sustainable solutions.

I researched the dynamics of consumer identities to see if people's food preferences and sense of sustainability align with their purchasing behaviors. LAKES gave me a deeper appreciation of the research process, teamwork, group communication and leadership.

The idea of participating in research used to be a daunting task, but now that I have participated in it, I have grown to love it.

What challenges did you face in earning your degree and how did you overcome them?

As I’m sure many others can agree, COVID-19 was one of the biggest challenges I faced. My first year started in fall of 2020, in the height of the pandemic. I decided to take all my classes online and stay home. I excelled at online learning, but the lack of a social outlet was the toughest aspect of that year. 

Inspiring grad Anja Huesby
Anja Huesby grew to love the research process through her Stout experiences / Anja Huesby

Even being on campus during my sophomore year, it was still difficult to connect with classmates when there were limited events, and everyone was wearing masks, so I couldn’t see anyone’s faces. Once the worst of the pandemic calmed down, I was still experiencing some social anxiety as things got back to normal. 

It wasn’t until my senior year that I think I finally felt what college social life was truly supposed to be like. It is fantastic, and I wish I could have experienced more of it earlier on in my education. 

Thank you to all the professors who went above and beyond to accommodate for the pandemic and still deliver top-quality teaching and support to your students. I would not be here without you.

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree?

I’m most proud that I allowed myself to give in to curiosity, open-mindedness and critical thinking.

It has been an excruciating and liberating journey of questioning my understanding of the world. It’s not easy to dig into why you believe things the way you do, but I feel the process is worth it. I feel more at peace with myself and the world than I did before, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. 

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