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Rockford.edu / News

A Roman Inspired Dream

01/27/2020 2:47 pm

Reflecting on her trip to Rome, supported in part by the University’s student opportunity fund, alumna Julia Wetzel ’14 can recall the exact moment that kick-started her aspiration to become a college professor.

Alumna Julia Wetzel ’14 during her trip to Rome.

She may not have known it then, but the view at the top of the Castel Sant’Angelo ignited the start of Julia’s interest in her current research, which examines the promotion of leadership qualities and charisma through Roman Imperial Architecture. This experience she immersed herself in, along with the inspiration her professors provided her during her time on this trip and while at the University, lead her to the realization that she could grant herself the opportunity to do the same thing they did for her. Thus she decided to further her education. She knew from that moment, that even though this pursuit would not be easy she was going to continue on to earn her doctorate degree.

“I love history, learning, and challenging myself. Going for my Master’s degree and Ph.D. allows me to do all three and eventually find a career doing the same things I love and inspiring my students to find something that inspires them.”

Alumna Julia Wetzel ’14 (left) with her colleagues Cat Williams (middle) and Kristan Foust, Ph.D. (right) following their presentation at the American Historical Association in January of 2020.

While attending Rockford University, Julia majored in History and minored in Latin. She is currently attending the University of North Texas where she is working as a teaching assistant and is studying to graduate with a Master’s degree in Ancient History this summer. Julia is also looking forward to starting her next adventure as a Ph.D. candidate.

The support of her professors here at Rockford University helped her to achieve her dream of attending graduate school. “They prepared me for what academia has to offer. I was able to cultivate my talents in a realistic yet encouraging environment. My professors did not hide how hard my journey was going to be from me and continued to encourage me along the way. The trip to Rome was one of those instances.”

While giving thought to her experiences here, Julia shared, “I was able to find my passion in life and discover that I wanted to continue my education to become a professor because of my time at the University. My greatest lesson was that I learned what I am capable of.” If she could pass down one piece of advice to current and future students it would be to take advantage of these opportunities as she did. “The things that scare us the most are often the things worth doing. We don’t learn and grow from staying in our comfort zone.”