Name: Casey Lewis
Westminster College was just another name on the list of colleges Casey Lewis applied to. She was considering a number of colleges around the nation—small, medium and large institutions. When she toured Westminster, her mindset was, “I might as well visit and rule it out.” But after seeing the campus, she had a complete change of heart. The campus beauty, setup and offerings were exactly what she wanted.
Nestled in the Sugar House neighborhood, Westminster is minutes away from downtown Salt Lake City and within an hour of the mountains. On a campus of approximately 2,000 undergraduates, Casey’s courses rarely exceed 20 students—allowing her to interact with professors and classmates. “You really benefit a lot more from being in a small intimate environment,” she says.
Like many students, she started college undecided. But after exploring the campus’s various course offerings, she quickly found a degree best suited for her—environmental science. “It just makes sense to me,” she says. “I like the science aspect of it.”
During fall 2009, Casey participated in the School for Field Studies Marine Resource Management Studies program based in Turks and Caicos. The program, which she came upon during Westminster’s Study Abroad Fair, was environmentally orientated.
Each program deals with five-year projects. For Turks and Caicos, she continued a project “focused on helping the locals prepare for when tourists will come to the island and help do it in a sustainable manner.”
Casey, along with 25 other students, participated in weekly community service activities, field studies that involved swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving and directed research projects.
Casey’s three months abroad did not go unnoticed by the campus community. When on campus, she is active in a number of outdoor and campus activities. Since moving to Utah, she has become an avid outdoorsman—skiing, rock climbing and camping. “I didn’t think I enjoyed being outside until I came here,” she says.
Casey also fills her schedule with several clubs and organizations. She is a member of the Associated Students of Westminster College (ASWC), Associated Residents of Westminster College (ARWC) and Common Ground Theme Committee, where she works with other students to plan activities for the campus community.
Representing the ASWC on the Food Service Committee, Casey acts as a food critic to campus dining. She helps Sodexho, the campus food service, determine what menu items are most appealing to the campus community. “It’s awesome because I love to eat,” she says.
For the past three years, she has also been a self-defense instructor for V-Day at Westminster College. A second-degree black belt, Casey started doing martial arts over five years ago. She is certified and has taught children as well as women. When Casey learned about V-Day, a global movement to stop crimes against women, she was quick to offer her services. “It’s a really cool cause,” she says.
Each year, Westminster holds a two-week event to raise awareness and money in support of anti-violence organizations. “Ninety percent of profits raised from Westminster’s V-Day events go to the [Salt Lake City] Rape Recovery Center,” according to the Forum, Westminster’s student publication.
While Casey’s busy schedule is overwhelming to some, her energy and positive attitude keeps her going. Everything she is involved in has truly enhanced her college experience. “I’m running around like crazy this year, but I love it,” she says. Westminster is everything she wanted out of a college. All she needed was a tour to make her realize it. “I’m so happy that I came out here,” she says.
Currently, Casey is doing a summer internship with the Utah Division of Water Quality—collecting water quality samples in E. coli contaminated watersheds in various parts of Utah, such as Emigration and Parley’s Canyon.
Casey is excited for her last year of college—especially with a majority of her courses being held in the new Meldrum Science Center, which opens for classes fall 2010. “It's a big difference from the old building and is much more conducive to learning along with collaborating,” she says.