Student Life

WFU gets creative to help students de-stress

Wake Forest University is part of a national trend of universities taking a closer look at mental health. Malika Roman Isler ’99, director of Wellbeing, helped develop a multi-dimensional approach called THRIVE. It includes all kinds of ways to keep students emotionally healthy.

Watch WGHP’s story about THRIVE here.

Thousands hear Cox speak at Wake Forest

Laverne Cox is proud to be a black transgender women, even though she said transgender people face violence and bigotry every day.

“Transgender people can use justice and love today,” Cox said in a speech to about 2,200 people in Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University. “People of color can use some justice and love today.”

Cox, 31, who is best known for her portrayal of Sophia Burset on the Netflix television series “Orange is the New Black,” talked about her life and how she copes with being one of the most visible transgender women in the U.S. “I have often carried tremendous amounts of shame about various aspects of who I am,” Cox said.

Read the entire Winston-Salem Journal story here.

Graduates, students explain what drew them to their colleges

Harsh Patolia, a Wake Forest senior, was one of nine current students or recent graduates to share the factors that helped them pick the right school.

“It took only one visit for me to fall in love with Wake Forest. As a researcher at the school’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, I have worked in a lab to process 3-D images of organs, which allowed me to see some of the cutting-edge advances that technology is bringing to medicine. I am a biophysics major but have thrived by taking advantage of the diverse experiences Wake offers. Two of my favorite classes have included one on Latin American literature and a survey of Slavic literature.

Wake Forest also encourages students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. It is this combination of classroom, research and service experience that has prepared me well for a medical career and developed my interest in public policy.”

Read the full U.S. News and World Report story here.

WFU gets creative about integrating real-world skills into classes

Get the lowdown on college career services, your school’s semi-secret job-getting weapon:

In a Teen Vogue story by Heather Schwedel, Wake Forest’s Office of Personal and Career Development was featured as offering creative ways to integrate career education into classes. “Wake Forest asked professors in traditional academic areas like history to be creative about adding real-world applications to their courses. Some responded by tweaking their lesson plans to explicitly include skills companies look for in employees, like communication and collaboration, so students can draw on their classroom experience in job interviews. Wake Forest also introduced “College-To-Career” courses which allow students to earn credit for career planning and job searching.”

Wake Forest athletes help spread cheer through the Santa’s Helpers program

For nearly three decades, Wake Forest athletes have helped spread cheer through the Santa’s Helpers program:

It all started back in 1986. That’s when WFU football player Chip Rives first saw a Parade magazine article about a holiday toy-giving program in Texas that provided Christmas presents to children in the surrounding community. If it can work at Texas, he thought, why couldn’t it work at Wake Forest? Though the football team connection remains strong, writes Bill Cissna, the 100 Wake volunteers involved nowadays come from many sports teams and often include coaches and coaches’ spouses. Past student-athlete volunteers have included Tim Duncan, Joe Zelenka, and Chris Paul. The Santa’s Helpers program raises about $18,000 annually, and nearly all of the proceeds go toward buying toys.

Inside Higher Ed

All Work and No Play? No More: “We could all use a friendly game of Ping-Pong to de-stress once in a while, especially when we’re juggling three or four classes, a part-time job, extracurricular activities and media stimulation,” writes Inside Higher Ed reporter Allie Grasgreen.

Her story focuses on ways that Wake Forest is working to educate the “whole person” — not just the mind, but the body and spirt as well — by introducing fun and spontaneous ways for students to relax and enjoy community and fellowship.

“We really are aiming to not transform their lives with a capital T, but in a very unobtrusive way introduce elements [on campus] that aren’t announced, aren’t planned, aren’t programmed, aren’t another thing they have to do,” said Wake Forest Provost Rogan Kersh.

“We worry about binge drinking and mindless partying and the whole ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality,” Kersh said — not just of Wake Forest, but of colleges generally. “It feels as if our responsibility to these students does not stop at the classroom door, and so this notion of educating the whole person feels pretty necessary.”

Read more at Inside Higher Ed

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Alternative Networks Challenge Colleges’ Role in Alumni’s Job Searches: Wake Forest University knows the value of professional networking. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Vice President for Personal and Career Development Andy Chan says colleges should offer services that help graduates navigate the job market. To that end, Wake Forest students are encouraged to maintain a LinkedIn profile and coaches are available to help review student profiles and make suggestions on improving them.

The University also uses LinkedIn to connect current students with alumni. “Most college students are not thinking, ‘I need to network. I need to make contacts,'” Chan says. But he has found that alumni are often eager to help: “Employers and young alums are interested in engaging with students because they remember how hard it is just out of school.”


Women’s Field Hockey Aims to End Olympic Drought: Claire Laubach (’09), Michelle Kasold (’09), and Lauren Crandall (’07), three former Wake Forest University field hockey players, head to London later this month with the U.S. women’s national field hockey team to compete in the Olympics.

Below is an excerpt from an NPR story on the U.S. field hockey team’s training and preparation for the event:

Laubach says that while training with the Navy SEALs wasn’t necessarily fun, it provided a sense of unity.

“It’s just interesting to see how everyone deals with the stress that they’re under,” she says. “You will see some people rise to it, and some people will fall to it. But you will see the people who rise to it don’t just go on without the other teammate, they help them along. I think it is interesting to see the dynamics that come out of it.”

Laubach and Kasold are both graduates of Wake Forest University. So, too, is the captain of the team, Lauren Crandall. That gives the small private school in Winston-Salem, N.C., more ties to the 16-woman team than any other school.

Wake Forest coach Jen Averill calls her former players’ accomplishments “ridiculous — it’s just unbelievable pride.”

When Crandall, Laubach and Kasold played for Averill at Wake Forest, they won three Division I national titles. Now they’re taking aim at an Olympic medal — a goal the American team hasn’t reached since 1984, three years before Kasold was born.

“I think about each day individually, but visualize what it would be like,” Kasold says. “I see us standing on the podium because I know that we’re good enough, we’re capable of doing it. So I see it as the final product, the end, the goal.”

Best Colleges Online


20 Colleges With the Best Career Services: Wake Forest University is listed fifth out of 20 colleges offering the best career services support for students on

“Wake Forest University is another school hoping to help liberal arts students learn a bit more about their potential career paths, but in a pretty interesting way. Andy Chan, who runs the school’s career services department, is working directly with professors, asking them to bring students into the career services offices to take part in webinars with successful alumni. The school’s career services department has been a leader in helping to build practical professional skills and career knowledge in students and even hosted a conference called “Rethinking Success: From the Liberal Arts to Careers in the 21st Century.” One look at the career services website will show you that the school takes its mission seriously, offering loads of advice and programs for mentoring, internships, entrepreneurship, and job hunting.”

USA Today

Grads maintain tradition of senior gift: College students may be taking on more debt, and unemployment rates may be daunting, but today’s economic realities haven’t stopped many graduating students from digging up a few more dollars to put toward a senior class gift. On some campuses, they’re giving in record numbers.…Wake Forest University seniors who donate $10 or more get a tour of the school’s otherwise off-limits bell tower and underground tunnel system.