17039217867_fd25888d23_zIf Kaitlyn O’Neill has one regret about her college experience, it’s that she didn’t spend every single year at Winona State University.

Originally from New Prague, Minn., O’Neill first enrolled at University of Minnesota as a freshman. However, she longed for more of a sense of community and personal interaction. After visiting friends who attended WSU and “loved it,” she decided to trade in her maroon and gold for purple and hasn’t looked back for a second.

“I am so happy with my choice to transfer and wish I had spent all five years on this campus,” said O’Neill. “The relationships I created with my peers, professors, and WSU staff – it was something I had never experienced at the U of M.”

The supportive and welcoming atmosphere at WSU empowered O’Neill to take chances and to find her voice. She felt comfortable branching out and trying new things.

“I always felt I had support from my professors and peers when I wanted to start something new,” said O’Neill. “Whether I succeeded or not, I learned a lot. I was never alone in the process, and I was guided to exactly where I was meant to be.”

O’Neill was active during her time at WSU as a member of the WSU Dance Team, an avid supporter of the Warrior football team, and one of the founding members of WSU’s Love Your Melon club, a charitable organization that donates a hat to every child battling cancer in America.

She lives by the motto, “Be nice and work hard. Nothing can go terribly wrong with your day if you are simply nice to everyone and you work hard at whatever you’re doing.”

As O’Neill prepares for life beyond WSU, she’s thankful for everything that has brought her to this moment, ready to take on the world.

“I have landed great internships, been a part of awesome experiences and volunteer opportunities, and met some amazing people. Without those chances I would not feel as ready for the real world.”

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Andrea Northam

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