Meet Elisha Jaeke ’20

Our Standout Student for Spring 2020

Majors: Biology and Spanish
Graduation date: May 2020
GPA: 3.93
Hometown: Hartford, Wis.

Organizations and activities: 

  • President of Student Government Association 
  • Founder of Proud to Be First
  • Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society
  • Phi Sigma Iota Foreign Language Honor Society
  • American Medical Student Association
  • Member of the Honors Program
  • Public health research

Scholarships and awards: 
  • 2019-20 Newman Civic Fellow
  • National Collegiate Honors Council scholarship recipient
  • Phi Kappa Phi study-abroad grant
  • Ashmore and Harvey Memorial Scholarship
  • Cassandra Voss Award
  • Dr. Richard C. Rankin Legacy Award
  • Exemplary Leadership Award
  • Trustee Distinguished Scholarship
  • Rev. Ken DeGroot Multicultural Leadership Award
  • Choral Music scholarship

What is your proudest achievement at St. Norbert?

My proudest achievement would likely be the founding of an initiative called Proud to Be First, along with Avery Garcia in the office of multicultural services. I’m a first-generation college student and it’s something that I’m really proud of. We were able to create an initiative that supports the first-generation college students that make up about 25 percent of the SNC population. It’s been amazing to see this initiative grow and to see students feeling supported and excited about it.

What is your favorite place on campus?

I feel like I have different favorite spots every month. I love the Cassandra Voss Center. I think it’s a beautiful place with a beautiful meaning behind it. I love the programming there, I love the space itself. I have some really awesome memories there, like the Her Voice Rocks camp that I was a counselor at last year. I spend practically all of my time in the Gehl-Mulva Science Center. There’s this one window that overlooks Old St. Joe’s and you can see the river. There are windows on two of the four walls, so I love spending time in there studying with the sun and really beautiful views. It’s a room that I associate with every season.

What has been your most memorable classroom experience?

There are so many ways I could go with that! But my gut reaction is my honors theology course. That was my sophomore year. I was really nervous to take it. I had no idea what I would think of the course going into it, but we had an awesome professor and the conversations were often provocative and super compelling. Each class would reveal these crazy intricacies of biblical texts and historical contexts that I hadn’t even thought of and applications where I felt like I was growing so much. My classmates and I were really challenged and I liked that. It’s so out of my comfort zone because I’m focused on biology and Spanish! But I think that that’s such a beautiful part about coming here specifically.

How is your relationship with the faculty and staff?

I think if we’re talking about mentors, Stacey Wanta in the honors office has been behind me since day one. She was my first boss on campus when I was an honors research fellow, and she has been like a parent to me. I think the amount of care students receive from faculty and staff is unheard of. I feel so supported and that my well-being is constantly being looked out for, and that is something that I’ve appreciated. I can name professors where I can just walk into the room and say, “I need some life advice or support,” and they’ll be there for me. 

How have your scholarships impacted your college experience?

I would not be here without the scholarships I’ve received. Education is expensive, especially when you’re one of 10 students in a class and you’re experiencing this one-on-one time with a professor. So scholarships have really changed my ability to focus on my studies. I have several jobs on campus, but I’m able to hold only on-campus positions and not work a ton of hours on the weekend. I have financial stability because of the scholarships.