University of Houston-Victoria graduate student Paige Ruschhaupt is taking a big step next year after serving on the university’s Student Senate for the first time this spring semester.
She recently was elected Student Senate president for the 2010-11 school year, the first year UHV will admit freshmen and sophomores.
“When they first told me about all the meetings and events I would have to attend and speeches I would have to give, I was a little overwhelmed,” she said. “But now I’m really excited because I know people are counting on me. It’s really humbling. And with the help of advisor Janet Foerster and my fellow senators, I see our Senate doing lots of good things for UHV during this upcoming year.”
Ruschhaupt served as the graduate senator for the School of Arts & Sciences during the spring semester. She graduated from UHV in December with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and now is pursuing dual master’s degrees in school psychology and counseling.
“When I was an undergraduate at UHV, I wasn’t really involved in the school,” Ruschhaupt said. “I made good grades, and I graduated. But when I entered graduate school, I decided to join the Senate. Now I feel like I’m part of an organization - a community - and it has been a rewarding experience. I really wanted to be president because I want the incoming sophomores and freshmen to have a positive university experience. UHV is going through a tremendous change, and I want to be there to help and to be the voice of our student body during this change.”
Helping others has been an important goal in Ruschhaupt’s life. It’s the reason she chose to study psychology and why she enjoys her job as the lead peer writing tutor in UHV’s Academic Center.
“Sometimes it can be challenging working with students and trying to help them understand what they need to do to become better writers,” she said. “But overall, it’s very rewarding when you see the student gets it and understands. We get a lot of feedback from students saying ‘thank you’ and about what they have learned. That makes it worth it.”
Ruschhaupt, a Victoria resident, started as a writing tutor at the Academic Center in spring 2008 and became the lead tutor in the fall. She is a member of Psi Chi, the honors society for psychology students, and would like to be a counselor at a mental health facility when she graduates.
“I've been interested in psychology since I took my first basic course as an undergraduate,” she said. “It was very interesting to learn how you could read a person’s feelings just by their body language. Now I’ll get to work with people suffering from depression and other problems, and I'll get to help them through it. For me, it's always been about helping people.”
The UHV Outstanding Student is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact UHV Communications Manager Paula Cobler or call 361-570-4350.