Meet some of the School of Education’s amazing spring 2023 graduates

On Saturday, May 13, UW–Madison will celebrate its Spring 2023 Commencement. We reached out to a few of our graduating students from bachelor’s to PhDs to learn more about their favorite memories, advice for incoming students, and future plans.

Scroll down to learn more about these graduates — who are just a handful of the more than 600 amazing students who are graduating from School of Education programs across the arts, health, and education.

We are tremendously proud of all of our graduates!

Erin Besser

Erin Besser
BS Theatre and Drama

Advice for incoming students — “Let your passion guide you to things that you love, and try something new if it sounds interesting.”


Diego_CisnerosDiego Cisneros
BS Health Promotion and Health Equity

Choice of major — “I decided to major in health promotion and health equity because of its focus on trying to understand the patient beyond their illness. This major has allowed me to understand the stigmas, social determinants of health, implicit biases, and other factors to pay attention to when working with patients.”


Zubin DeVitre
PhD Counseling Psychology

Most meaningful experience — “It’s a rare thing to be surrounded by people from extremely different backgrounds, yet who all share common goals and values. Having the ability to be challenged, supported, and to grow with and for each other is an experience that I am forever grateful for.”


Emma HinkerEmma Hinker
MS Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Most meaningful experience — “My most meaningful experience at UW–Madison is not one thing — it has been the relationships that I have built during my time here.”


Emma HuettlEmma Huettl
BS Kinesiology

Making an impact — “The strong foundation I have built from UW’s courses and professors will allow me to put the Wisconsin Idea into action as a physical therapist.”


Maggie KingMaggie King
BS Rehabilitation Psychology

Making an impact — “I have learned how to be a better communicator, student, and friend through my time at Wisconsin. I have been able to take the lessons I’ve learned about perseverance, resilience, and inclusiveness into the different roles I play in my life.”


Praveen MaripellyPraveen Maripelly
MFA Art – 4D

Reason for pursuing graduate studies — “My graduate studies at UW–Madison are a way to uplift deprived communities at the rural and urban levels through mediated social performances.”


Elaina G. Meier ("Meier")Elaina G. (“Meier”) Meier
PhD Counseling Psychology

Most meaningful experience — “The people I have connected with have fundamentally impacted who and how I am. They have supported me in a wild adventure of growth and service to others.”


Walter P Parrish IIIWalter P. Parrish III
PhD Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis

Reason for pursuing graduate studies — “My curiosity about certain topics and questions went beyond what was available in the existing literature. I recognized that obtaining a PhD would provide me with the tools and resources necessary to pursue these questions in greater depth and enhance my ability to make meaningful contributions to the field.”


Grace PeplinskiGrace Peplinski
BS Elementary and Special Education

Making an impact — “Through my teacher education program, I’ve learned how to become a culturally responsive teacher who values all students, their experiences, ideas, and identities.”


Emma SenftEmma Senft
MFA Art – 3D

Reason for pursuing graduate studies — “I had been through a period of a lot of growth and change in my practice and I wanted to come back to school to push my work further, and to really learn to talk about my work critically and reflect conceptually.”


Zhan Shi
BS Education Studies and Statistics

Most meaningful experience — “Developing the first Chinese education student organization on campus as a co-founder is my most unforgettable and meaningful experience. It has enabled me to work with peers of all majors who are also passionate about education. This student organization has brought me closer to our School of Education and to the faculty here.”


Sasha D SmithSasha D. Smith
PhD Rehabilitation Counselor Education

Reason for pursuing graduate studies — “I decided to further my education to develop skills in leadership, teaching, advocacy, and research that would be valuable for my continuous work in rehabilitation counseling in the Bahamas.”


Peighton StrasburgPeighton Strasburg
BFA Dance

Favorite UW tradition — “There’s nothing like football, fall weather, and Jumping Around with the biggest Badger fans in the best college town!”


Maya Topin Maya Topin
BS Dance and Health Promotion and Health Equity

Future plans — “I love having the chance to introduce people to fitness and watch their confidence grow. Fitness is for everyone, and I am passionate about continuing to share it, especially for those who may not know where to start.”


Becca VoigtBecca Voigt (Onken)
MS Educational Psychology

Making an impact — “During my time in the MSPE program my confidence as a professional educator and as an instructional coach has expanded. I’m much more prepared to advocate for students and work for increased systemic equity with my school district and community.”


Hanna WagnerHanna Wagner
MS Educational Psychology

Favorite UW tradition — My favorite tradition is the Wisconsin Idea! Education should benefit everyone, and because UW–Madison has made this an integral part of its mission, I hope to do my part by taking my newfound knowledge to create meaningful change in my community.


Jiaming Xie Jiaming Xie
BS Theatre and Drama, Sociology, Legal Studies

Choice of major — “Deciding to major in theatre is one of the best choices that I have made. Not only did it allow me to immerse myself in diverse aspects of theatre, but I have also met some of the most wonderful human beings in my life!”

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