On May 14, UW–Madison will celebrate its Spring 2022 Commencement. We reached out to a few of our students who are graduating from programs in the School of Education to learn about their favorite UW–Madison memories and future plans. Following is a Q&A with Christeena Maria Jojo, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and health equity.
Where are you from, and what brought you to UW–Madison?
I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I came to UW–Madison because of the amazing opportunities for research, study abroad, becoming a part of the competitive dance team, and the beautiful campus. It was a perfect distance away from home to be able to grow independence and still be able to come home for important family events.
What is your major, and how did you choose it?
My major was health promotion and health equity. I chose this because my advisor informed me that this would be the perfect fit for my interests in public health and community health. I was also pre-med and interested in learning about health in business or nonprofit settings. The HPHE major really brought those perspectives in. I learned so much about empathy, cultural resilience, and reflection.
What was your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?
The most meaningful experience at UW–Madison was being a part of the Wisconsin School of Bhangra dance team. This team has been my community since my freshman year. It has allowed me to grow, develop leadership skills, and create connections with lifelong friends. I was able to immerse myself in a different culture, and it has allowed me to continue my passion for dance and share it with others as captain.
Being part of the organization, creating the first-ever Madtown Bhangra competition, and seeing others lead and continue the organization has allowed me to see the bigger purpose of this organization. To see the impact Madtown Bhangra had by bringing awareness to the farmer’s protest was one of the most meaningful experiences at UW–Madison.
"Be okay with failing because when you fail is when you learn the most. The lessons that you learn from failing will be the lessons that will keep you resilient for the next few years of your life."
What class or professor had the greatest impact on you, and why?
A professor that had a great impact on me was my counseling psychology professor, Dr. RS. I had two courses with her and she did an amazing job teaching during the pandemic. She was very responsive to students’ needs. She adjusted the curriculum to focus on the mental health impact of COVID-19 and created an environment where students could support each other. You can see the passion when she teaches. I learned so much about the value of cultural humility that I hope to carry on as a future provider in the healthcare field.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Do not hold yourself back from experiencing anything at UW–Madison. Be okay with failing because when you fail is when you learn the most. The lessons that you learn from failing will be the lessons that will keep you resilient for the next few years of your life. If you want to meet someone, a teacher, friend, or someone who inspires you, go and reach out because that person could possibly help you achieve your goals or support you along that journey.
What is your favorite “hidden gem” on campus or in Madison?
My favorite “hidden gem” is Ha Long Bay. It is off-campus but the food is amazing and brings me back to Chicago. The secret menu blueberry crab rangoons are the best.
What will you miss most about UW?
I will miss being in a community surrounded by so many young and talented individuals and just walking distance away from friends.