Student Spotlight: Kate Ursul, U.S. Army WSP-Yale University All-Women Cohort

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

I graduated from community college before attending WSP, but I did not have critical thinking skills for reading or developing ideas, since I learned mostly to memorize information. I have some skills, but I would not consider myself a confident student.

Had you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?

I have participated in online classes before WSP. However, most of the classes I have participated in were lecture-style classes, without mentorship or tutoring. WSP provides intensive preparation for college. It is quite different than my other online classes since you must be on a Zoom call from early morning until late evening with some breaks.

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

It is a unique opportunity for military members and veterans to learn from professors from top universities, who also provide their information to continue the conversation after classes are over. Additionally, the tutors are encouraging students to contact them and assist the students with the different stages of their writing, despite the level of the preparation of the students. The fellows and all members of WSP create an environment where all students are valued, respected, and supported. At the same time, WSP provides distinctive training that develops the education skills that many soldiers and veterans need to easily come back to a university environment.

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

I have learned multiple skills, the most important being for me to ask for help from the tutors if I need it and to express my opinions on the readings. I believe it might be hard for military members and veterans to ask for help or think critically about ideas since most soldiers learn to execute the missions/orders without asking additional questions, or challenge anything, since it is rarely allowed in the military.

What was your favorite session, and why?

My favorite session was Service2School, since it provides many opportunities for military members to apply to universities. It seems like a good next step after WSP. I learned that some of the top universities have special programs for military members and veterans.

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you?

Ethan is absolutely amazing. Every morning, he started discussions with a positive attitude and a strong desire to help (as a real medic) in understanding the complex ideas from the readings. During the whole course, he politely, but persistently, motivated us to study harder and move to a new level in our study skills. Ethan helped us come together into a friendly team super quickly. Moreover, he was always open to discuss any issues that might occur during WSP.

Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?

WSP gave me the hope of a bright education future, and for me, that is the most valuable part of WSP. When I started WSP, I was astonished that I would see and talk to military members that were able to achieve their dreams by getting admitted to Yale University and other Ivy League schools. WSP also provides other resources for success, for instance Service2School, which can be the next step for service members in the application process. Talking to Yale faculty also provided me confidence as a student. I believe now, if I make every effort to study hard and achieve high grades, I can end up in the greatest universities. WSP provided me hope as a university student that I never had before.

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