Simone Padron-Glass will not get to enjoy the entire four-year Monmouth College experience, but she has not been shortchanged in making academic discoveries and learning about herself.
“Monmouth has become a second home to me,” said Padron-Glass, who transferred from Lincoln College in 2010. “I’ve gone from not knowing anyone to making great friends on the swim team. I really cherish the relationships I’ve formed with some of my professors. Fred Witzig (history), Trudi Peterson (communication studies) and Annika Hagley (political science) have all been my mentors. Working with them has really opened my eyes. I know I can always do more, and I can always learn more, and they’ve helped me to see that I’m just as good as anyone else. I’ve struggled academically in the past, but they’ve helped me see that I’m of value. There are just so many good people here.”
Related to her struggles, Padron-Glass has taken advantage of Monmouth’s support system for students.
“Everywhere I go, there are people who care about you and want to help you,” she said. “And it makes you want to help them and be a part of something special. I love the family feeling that’s all around at Monmouth.”
Padron-Glass said one of her MC friends who has graduated told her, “I have a feeling that I don’t want to leave here.”
“I think that says something about this place,” she said. “It strives for community.”
Athletics were an entry into the social scene for the fifth-year senior, who appreciates the role they play on campus.
“I not only know swimmers, but I know a lot of the women’s basketball team, and the football team – they have some genuinely nice boys,” said Padron-Glass, who is also a member of the women’s water polo team. “I like the way the teams support each other. I have friends at other liberal arts schools, and the athletics there are very minor. I am proud to be a part of a liberal arts college that strives for excellence athletically.”
Padron-Glass was asked what the phrase “liberal arts” means to her.
“To me, it means a diverse education. We don’t just learn through reading and writing, but also movies, like the history through film class that Professor (Bill) Urban teaches. That’s a great class for a visual learner like me. I like the way the history classes I’ve taken really focus in on the specifics of a subject, like the South before the Civil War, and I’ve enjoyed the political science course, ‘Political Geography.’ Our professors can make a whole course out of those specifics, like pirates, and they have such knowledge of their field that a semester’s not even enough to cover it all.”
As she was completing her associate’s degree at Lincoln, Padron-Glass chose Monmouth over UW-Whitewater because a friend was also planning to attend. The friend chose another school at the last minute, but Padron-Glass is glad she stuck with her decision.
She is majoring in history and women’s studies, but figures to be a bit outside of those disciplines if she is able to achieve her short-range career goal – being an adventure tour guide.
“I’d like to guide backpack tours of Europe, or maybe biking trips in Washington, D.C. – something along those lines,” she said.
With regard to women’s studies, Padron-Glass has had a lifelong connection to the discipline, being named for one of the founders of the feminist movement, Simone de Beauvoir.
“I never thought to take it that seriously, but through Trudi Peterson, I’ve learned to tie how I was brought up into what it means to be a woman today,” she said.
Through the increasingly common “Slut Walks” – a form of protest against sexual violence that supports rape victims – Padron-Glass says she has learned “how you can take something around you that was meant to hurt you and change it into a symbol of strength.”
Like other MC students, Padron-Glass enjoys departing from her major to take courses in the college’s integrated studies curriculum. A course in economic development, taught by Witzig, she said, “completely changed my life. … It helped me find out what I was good at. We really delved into a world problem – how to solve poverty – and the class was a really positive influence for me.”