May graduate Madilynn Woodham supports Honors freshmen as a peer mentor and resident advisor

by | May 11, 2020

For psychology major Madilynn Woodham, living on campus made her college experience enjoyable. After earning her degree, Woodham will work full time for Edward Jones.
Madilynn Woodham

After graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology, Madilynn Woodham will begin a full-time position in the Rotational Development Program at Edward Jones. (Photos by August Jennewein)

Madilynn Woodham’s college decision came down to a coin toss. When she received acceptance letters from two schools her senior year, she agonized over deciding between them until her guidance counselor suggested flipping a coin.

While the coin was still in the air, Woodham chose the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Her other option won the toss, but she stuck with her decision.

The College of Arts and Sciences and Pierre Laclede Honors College student will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology this week and will soon begin a full-time job in the Rotational Development Program at Edward Jones.

Woodham decided to focus on industrial-organizational psychology when she discovered a passion for both business and psychology during her junior year of high school.

“The really important thing to figure out early on when you’re a psych major is what you want to do with your degree,” she said. “I know it’s important for every degree, but with psych, there are a lot of different ways you can go.”

Woodham’s interest in industrial-organizational psychology inspired her to apply for an Edward Jones operations co-op position she found on TritonCareers. Since August, she’s helped plan career fairs for the university recruitment team, scheduled interviews with contractors and created invoices for human resources.

In her new position at the company, she’ll spend three months studying for licensing exams and nine months rotating through different areas of the company to learn a wide range of skills. Her final placement will allow her to apply all of the knowledge she’s gained.

Experiencing different aspects of the company mirrors how Woodham approached her time at UMSL. In addition to classes, she was a member of the Student Government Association and Student Activity Budget Committee. She was also active in the Honors College and Pierre Laclede Honors College Student Association, serving as a peer mentor and resident advisor.

Madilynn Woodham, Sarah Wilson and Monique Edwards

Madilynn Woodham (left), pictured with fellow Honors College students Sarah Wilson (center) and Monique Edwards, was active in the Honors College, a place she described as bringing “the best sense of community.”

“I love the Honors College so, so much,” she said. “I know people probably say it way too often, but it really brings the best sense of community. I came from a small town and my parents worked in the school district, so I knew everyone super well. Being in the Honors College gave me that sense of familiarity with everyone.”

Woodham used her experience as an Honors student to mentor freshmen. She and other peer mentors stopped by their classes about once a week, met with them one-on-one a couple times a semester and offered feedback on their papers. During the transition to remote learning, Woodham continued to meet with students through Zoom.

“We’re here to provide them with the tools for success in class,” she said. “Some of them might not feel comfortable talking to a professor, but they’ll talk to me because I’m a student too and I’ve been in those shoes before. I’ve gotten to see all these freshmen go through their first year of college and see how they’ve changed. It’s really neat to have this wholesome experience of seeing the process.”

Woodham fully immersed herself in life at UMSL by staying in the dorms, and she’s served as an RA at Villa Hall North. The Welcome Picnic and University Program Board Welcome Party at Oak Hall are among her favorite memories. She also fondly recalls hosting programs with Honors faculty, like when professors brought their dogs to visit the dorm.

Over the next few decades, Woodham plans to take road trips to national parks around the country, pursue a master’s degree and work in a business setting with a focus on finding ways to motivate employees.

She credits her positive college experience to the scholarships she was awarded, such as the Chancellor’s Scholarship and a scholarship from Multicultural Student Services.

“Without the scholarships, I wouldn’t have been as involved on campus,” she said. “I would have had to either move off campus or ended up moving back home, which is an hour away. I would have missed out on a lot of opportunities to meet new people and make connections with other students and my professors. Scholarships were crucial for me.”

Karen Holman

Karen Holman