Teach Your Children Well

Future educator draws on familial experience to create her own lesson plan for life at UWSP

Jeanne Nagle | Profiles | October 25, 2021

The timing of Alumni Generations scholar Maggie Weiland’s decision to enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point turned out to be something of a dichotomy—it was a moment just a few hours, and yet several years, in the making.

When she toured the UWSP campus in 2018 as a high school senior, Weiland held in her head and heart several stories that familial alumni, including her uncles and grandfather, had shared about their own time as students at the university. What’s more, she also had a personal guide with firsthand knowledge by her side every step of the way—her mother, Jill Weiland ’88 (née Bohler).

“Touring UW-Stevens Point with my mom brought a new kind of life to the campus,” she says. “I remember talking about all of the different buildings and how they had changed throughout the years. When we passed May Roach Hall, my mom talked about her three years there, and how the Allen Fitness Center previously was a cafeteria.”

The brief time spent on campus that day served to seal the deal for Weiland with regard to her choice of college. Currently a junior majoring in English education, she is not only a third-generation Pointer but, upon graduation, she’ll be another in her family’s line of UWSP-educated teachers. At the time of her visit, she felt that the smaller class sizes and incredibly supportive professors mentioned by various family members who had attended UWSP would work to her benefit, as it had for them.

“My family and I were impressed with how much time the English Department representative, Dr. Stephens, spent discussing the program with us on our first campus visit,” she says.

Once she arrived on campus as a first-year student, Weiland says, she was “shocked and excited” to discover that she was being placed in the same residence hall that her mother had lived in during her time as a co-ed.

“It was a sort of surreal moment when I found out that I would be in May Roach Hall,” she says. “I checked my housing portal, and was quick to share the news with her. I remember sitting down at the kitchen table with her and trying to map out which wing of the 4th floor I would be living in.”

While tickled by the coincidence, Weiland also is fond of being able to put her own stamp on the whole shared-residence-hall experience. “Signing up for a random roommate my freshman year formed a fantastic friendship,” she says, “which led to forging a 4th-floor family in May Roach.” 

To reiterate, while Weiland has upheld her family’s legacy while at Point, as befits an Alumni Generations Scholarship recipient, she also has had occasion to carve out her own path at the university. A member of Sigma Tau Delta, she is currently co-president of the Rising Voices Poetry Project and executive assistant for the student-run publishing house, Cornerstone Press.

When asked what UWSP experiences and traditions of her own she might like to share with possible future generations someday, Weiland says, “Some of my best stories come from trying new things here.” She points to discovering a deepened appreciation for William Shakespeare after taking a class on his works as one example.

Whether steeped in the past or grounded in the present, newfound or traditional, the opportunities Weiland  has been afforded courtesy of the Alumni Generations Scholarship are bound to have a profound impact on her future career.

“Some of the best teachers in my life, including my mother, went through the education program at UW-Stevens Point,” she adds, “and I aim to become as high a caliber of educator as them.”

But it’s the ties between her family and the university that seem to resound most loudly for her.

“Going to UWSP has fostered a greater connection with not only my mom and uncles, but also with my grandfather, who passed away last summer. Every time that I walk past Old Main, I am reminded that this is where he became a teacher as well,” she says. “I am able to keep this tradition alive with the help of being an Alumni Generations scholar.”


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