Celebrating transfer students – part 1

Leslie Lazaro- Padilla, a junior, transferred from Madison Area Technical College.

Transferring to UWL puts student on the career path to help others

National Transfer Student Week is celebrated October 21-25. With more than 1,100 transfer students enrolled at UWL, the university has a lot to celebrate.

Each day of the week a UWL student’s story will be highlighted, learning about their transfer journey and the reasons why they chose UWL’s beautiful campus, nestled in the bluffs.

This is the first story in the series.

UWL junior Leslie Lazaro-Padilla
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Transferred from: Madison Area Technical College
Post-graduation goals: Apply to graduate school in psychology.

A realization that her passion is helping people led Leslie Lazaro-Padilla to UWL. The UWL junior initially pursued a culinary major out of high school, but says her parents and non-profit work with first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities led her toward a career path in psychology instead. She aims to become a bicultural therapist.

Lazaro-Padilla specifically chose UWL because of its close location to family and its small size that would allow one-on-one interactions with professors. Also, she saw UWL had support for students through programs and resources. Her advice for incoming transfer students is to find a mentor and use those resources such as TRIO/Student Support Services, the Office of Multicultural Student Services and other organizations.

“It’s important to have a support system and to always have someone to trust and confide in,” she says. “If I found that support here, I know future transfer students can too.”

One of Lazaro-Padilla’s biggest surprises coming to campus was how independent students are when it comes to studying. “I think that’s what surprised me the most is that students here don’t help out each other because honestly we are all in the same boat,” she says.

Lazaro-Padilla is grateful for her mentor, Molly, from Trio/Student Support Services, and her advisor Lynette Lo.

“They have helped me cope and with my transition with picking my classes, giving me support whenever I need it, and helping me with adjusting to UWL,” she says.

Also, Jose Rubio-Zepeda, transfer retention specialist in UWL’s Office of Multicultural Student Services, helped with the transition. “He has been a huge help this past semester. He has helped me gain more friends, introduced me to a new space where I feel welcome, found some new resources, and is someone I can confide in,” says Lazaro-Padilla.