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Elizabeth Wilkinson

Elizabeth Wilkinson

Finding the right path

From M, spring 2005

When Zumbrota, Minnesota, native Elizabeth Wilkinson started at the U three years ago, she knew she wanted to study Spanish and get a well-rounded education. Now, thanks to a scholarship that has made it possible for her to focus on academics and take advantage of opportunities from community service to study abroad, her plans for the future are coming together. "I volunteered in the Hispanic community, and that taught me that I wanted to work helping people," she says. "I'm also good in the sciences, so I'm taking pre-med courses."

Wilkinson is spending this year studying in Madrid, Spain. "I hope to keep using my Spanish to practice family medicine," she says. "I'd also like to participate in the Doctors Without Borders program someday."

Study abroad facts

The number of U of M students who study abroad has doubled in the last seven years. Here are statistics for the Twin Cities campus:

> Students studying abroad in 2003-04: 1,674

> Countries visited: 60

> Percent of graduating undergrads who studied abroad: 22

> Most common destinations: Western Europe, Latin America

One of the things Wilkinson loves about the U is being able to explore many interests, including soome that started when she was young. "My mom introduced me to the Betsy-Tacy series at age 5," she recounts. "They were written by Maud Hart Lovelace, who was from Mankato and attended the U in the 1920s. She wrote them for her daughter and they were based on her own life. I took a children's literature class and wrote a paper on the series. The class used materials from the U's Kerlan Collection, which is amazing." Wilkinson's education exemplifies the broad choices, and then the chance to specialize, that mark a University education.

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