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Hannah Meinen graduated from University High School in 2012 and from Butler University in 2016. She currently lives in Madrid, Spain and works in a secondary school teaching English to over 300 students. Below Hannah answers a few questions about her college experience and how University prepared her for life at Butler.

What have you been up to since leaving University?

After University, I attended Butler University where I recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree and majored in Science Technology and Spanish. During my time at Butler, I held three internships, and I was highly active with various campus organizations and held four executive positions in my senior year. Some organizations I was involved in were Best Buddies and Butler Ambassadors for Special Olympics. I also was selected for Phi Sigma Iota, which is a foreign language honor society, and achieved placement on the Dean’s List. I graduated from Butler in May 2016. Since that time, I have been living in Madrid, Spain working as a Language and Culture Assistant. I work in a secondary school teaching English to over 300 students. It’s been a really eye-opening experience that has allowed me to travel to eight countries and 26 cities in a year. I’m now in the middle of my second term and am looking forward to my students taking their entrance exam to college and my parents visiting in April.

How do you feel University best prepared you for college?

University was by far one of the best decisions I ever made. The school challenged me in ways I never thought possible. I transferred in for my junior and senior year, so there was a bit of an adjustment period; however, the faculty, teachers and my mentor were all super supportive and helpful. The study methods, testing techniques, and styles that I learned at University were so helpful when I went to Butler. Although there was an adjustment period my first semester of college, I know that University was the platform for my future success in college.

Do you see that the core values you learned at University still apply to your life now? How?

The core values that I learned at University still apply to my everyday life. When I was in college, a few that were really prevalent in my life were diversity because I served as a student-elect for the Student Disability Services and we worked hard to create a space of diversity and safety on campus. Commitment to excellence was always something I strived for and received when I earned the Dean’s List. Stewardship is a core value that I learned greatly at University and try to show throughout my day-to-day life. I volunteer and help others as much as I can, whenever I can which relates to the mutual respect, support, and trust because I try and do at least one good deed every single day. Now that I am an English teacher, personal responsibility and creativity are always on the forefront of my mind. I try and instill these values in my students because I think it is important to for my students, and myself, to have a personal responsibility for whatever we may be involved in and encourage all to be creative with their work.

Please share your best University memory.

My best University memory was my senior year when I was captain of the basketball team, and we ended up winning sectionals. No one would have ever thought we would win because our competition was always so tough; however, we came together as a team and won. The celebration afterward was so memorable because the entire University community came together to celebrate the victory. That’s something I will never forget.

Do you regularly volunteer or do service work? If so what do you do?

Volunteer work is something that I value greatly. I found my passion for serving others when I was at University and continue to strive to serve others today. When I was in college, I served as a peer buddy for Best Buddies which means I was paired in a one-to-one friendship with an adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). I also volunteered with Special Olympics which allows individuals with IDD to participate and compete in every type of sport you can imagine. Now that I’m in Spain, I have been volunteering a few weekends to teach English in a small village about an hour outside the city. It’s a great way that I can contribute and give back to a country that has given so much to me.

Have you done an internship? If so, where was it, what did you do and how do you think it is going to help you in the future?

During college, I held three internships. My first internship was with Susan G. Komen Central Indiana. Through this internship, I conducted semi-structured interviews with health care professionals about the barriers of care for breast health. This research was published by Susan G. Komen, and I got to present the results at the Undergraduate Research Conference in 2015. My second internship was at Dove Recovery House for Women. I served as an advocate for women of addiction and coordinated fundraisers. Because of the passion and determination I showed, the executive director offered me a part-time position after my internship ended. My third internship was at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. I worked in the immigration section of this clinic. Not only did I serve as a paralegal, but also I aided immigrants seeking a variety of services regarding issues such as cancer and mental health.

What has been the most valuable experience you have had since leaving University?

There are so many valuable experiences I have had since leaving University that it is hard to pick just one. Everything that I was involved in at Butler has helped shape who I am today — from the academics, Greek life, executive positions in organizations, and even attending every home basketball games — they all have been in part because of University and the way this school has formed me into a better student and person. The experiences at Butler would not have been possible without the help of University. These experiences are some that I will cherish forever. When you hear someone say that college will be the best four years of your life, they aren’t kidding. Butler was the best decision I ever made.