Alumni Spotlight - Stephanie Hyde

Alumni Spotlights feature MHS Alumni who have been nominated by others for the work they are doing or how they impact their community. Stephanie Hyde has been nominated for her collegiate endeavors as she participated in an exciting study abroad trip in South Africa this summer. Warrior Nation cannot wait to see how she continues to grow in her field!

Stephanie Hyde

Class of 2015 

1. What has your college experience been like? 
The most impactful aspect of my college experience has been the diversity of experiences it has allowed. This was done academically through the extended variety of course that are offered, socially through the diversity of people I am able to interact with and social issues prevalent in our society, and mentally through the array of problems that are presented to me in class or around campus. These experiences have allowed me to find my field of study and become more involved in my community and society.

2. What is the purpose of your trip with UW-Madison to South Africa? Include details about what you will be doing and the group you are going with. 
The study abroad program I will be participating in is a 4-week long paleoanthropology field school at the cave site Swartkrans in South Africa. This is located in what is called the "Cradle of Humankind" which is a World Heritage Site as it houses fossils of our immediate ancestors Homo erectus and a related hominin lineage. Not only will I actively participate in field work such as excavation and analysis, but will be provided the opportunity to visit other cave sites, local universities to view their fossil collections, and Mapungubwe National Park to participate in a three-day ecology and archaeological tour. I chose this particular program as I had taken a few anthropological courses previously and was eager to find other opportunities to continue my studies in this area. I will be joined by other students with similar interests led by Dr. Travis Pickering of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

One incredible aspect of my experience was the people I was able to connect with. One group included other students from UW-Madison and other universities around the country who, although we all are very different, share a common interest in paleoanthropology. We were also able to work along side a student from a university in South Africa who was able to provide us with a different perspective through out our experience. Lastly, the experts in the paleoanthropological field that we were able to learn so much from such as Travis Pickering of UW-Madison, Kathy Kuman of Wits University, Ron Clarke founder of Little Foot, and Bob Brain. 
Having this hands on experience in anthropology not only helped me to have a deeper respect for the archaeological process but expanded my understanding of paleoanthropology's role in shaping our knowledge and world view.
Overall, my time abroad had given me incredible experiences such as cuddling big cats, finding ancient bovid bone, and having a herd of elephants cross my path that wouldn't have been possible without this opportunity. 
3. How did your time at MHS impact your college experience? 
The largest way in which my time at MHS has impacted my college experience is by creating a foundation in which to grow. This was done in many ways, the foremost being academics. MHS offers many challenging classes, most particularly AP course. These classes allow me the opportunities to increase my knowledge base, dive further in an area of interest, and work with like-minded individuals, all while preparing for a college work load. Another area in which MHS created a strong foundation is in offering and encouraging extracurriculars. A variety of clubs, sports, and societies are all active in the MHS environment; with these, I was granted the ability to further explore my interests, was involved in leadership roles, and quickly learned time management. I am grateful to have had these experience to prepare me for involvement on my college campus.
4. Are there any specific teachers who had a great influence on you during high school? In what ways did they influence you?
During my time at MHS, I was very fortunate to have encountered many wonderful teachers who impacted me greatly; two of which I strongly recognize are Mr. Beckman and Ms. Climer (Mrs. Olis). I had Mr. Beckman and Ms. Climer as my band directors for all of my four years at MHS through participation in the concert bands, jazz bands, pep band, and marching band. Mr. Beckman has the ability to bring so much positivity into a situation no matter the circumstance. Ms. Climer showed deep caring and respect toward her students making her a relatable mentor always willing to provide guidance. They both take time to recognize, acknowledge, and play your strengths. They also are very encouraging when it comes to your weaknesses and are your biggest advocates. Another teacher who greatly impacted me was Ms. Pyne. I was able to study AP Psychology under Ms. Pyne in my junior year. Her enthusiasm for the subject is infectious and helped guide me on my path to choosing an area of study. Also, her investment in both your academic and personal success is unrivaled.
5. Any advice you would like to give current MHS students.  
The biggest piece of advice I have for current MHS students is to take time now to establish a support system. This can include parents, siblings, extended family members, friends, teachers, mentor, etc. During times of transition, such as moving away and/or starting college, they will be constant sources of support and encouragement. 

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  • Gail Levin
    Oh, that is sooooo wonderful!!! A trip of a lifetime. And your advice to establish a support group is right on.