Psychology graduate Noelle Wisdom earns first Triton Traditions Keeper Medal for completing challenges in and around the UMSL campus

by | Dec 18, 2023

The new Triton Traditions Keeper Challenge features 63 challenges designed to help students explore campus, get involved and connect with UMSL’s history.
Noelle Wisdom
Noelle Wisdom, who graduated summa cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in psychology, was the first student to complete 40 of the challenges in the new Triton Traditions Keeper Challenge. (Photo by Derik Holtmann)
Psychology graduate Noelle Wisdom earns first Triton Traditions Keeper Medal for completing challenges in and around the UMSL campus

by | Dec 18, 2023

The new Triton Traditions Keeper Challenge features 63 challenges designed to help students explore campus, get involved and connect with UMSL’s history.

When Noelle Wisdom walked across the stage at the Mark Twain Athletic Center Saturday afternoon during the fall commencement ceremony for the University of Missouri–St. Louis, she sported some new hardware – the very first Triton Traditions Keeper Medal.

Wisdom, who graduated summa cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in psychology with two minors in studio art and child advocacy studies and a certificate from the Pierre Laclede Honors College, was the first student to complete 40 of the challenges in the new Triton Traditions Keeper Challenge, earning her the medal.

In honor of UMSL’s founding in 1963, the initiative, which launched on Red and Gold Day in September, features 63 challenges designed to help students explore campus, get involved and connect with UMSL’s history. The Office of Alumni Engagement collaborated with the Office of Student Involvement to come up with the different challenges, and also solicited feedback from alumni about their most reverential memories from UMSL.

Students must submit a photo demonstrating that they’ve completed each challenge and can log their progress through TritonConnect. They’ll receive a window cling for completing 10 challenges, a water bottle for completing 20 challenges and a Triton Traditions Keeper Commencement Medal for completing 40 challenges.

“The idea is to get out and experience as much as you can – all the ways that make being an UMSL student unique,” Associate Director of Alumni Engagement Mary Bosnick said. “It can be anything from finding your favorite study spot in the Mercantile Library or talking to your advisor or rubbing the book on the Wayne Goode statue for good luck. Some things that are existing tradition and some things that we hope will become some core memories for students, like cheering on their fellow Tritons at an athletics game. It’s really designed for people to do throughout their time at UMSL and hopefully things they’re naturally doing as part of being a student, but we want to give them swag for it.”

Despite being the first student to earn the medal, Wisdom nearly missed the Triton Traditions kickoff on Red and Gold Day, as she had been attending the Fall Internship & Job Fair on campus. She stopped by the Millennium Student Center just before the event ended and – even though she would only have three months to complete 40 challenges – decided to go for it.

Noelle Wisdom

Wisdom completed 40 challenges around the UMSL campus, earning her the first Triton Traditions Keeper Medal to wear at graduation. (Photo courtesy of Noelle Wisdom)

“As I looked at the list, I realized I was halfway done from my previous semesters, just taking pictures and going to events, volunteering, donating canned goods to the Triton Pantry, that kind of stuff,” she said. “I thought, if I’m already halfway here, I might as well go ahead and try it, and then it ended up becoming really fun. I tried to get a lot of my friends in on it too. I just wanted to make the most out of my last semester. I didn’t have a whole lot that was on my plate this semester, and I felt like it would be something fun to keep my morale up throughout the semester and get me excited to graduate.”

Wisdom is no stranger to getting involved on campus, having been a member of many student groups including UMSL’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, Psi Chi and KHAOS, a K-pop dance group. This past semester, she served as the vice president of leadership for APO, hosting workshops on topics such as resilience and burnout as well as a goal and vision board event. She transferred to UMSL midway through her college career in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and said getting involved on campus took her college experience to the next level after months of classes held over Zoom.

“When I first came to UMSL, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in person,” she said. “But then I joined the Honors College, and I started reaching out to a lot of student organizations like Alpha Phi Omega, and from there I feel like my experience just got a thousand times better. I was very active on campus, and that really helped me become more outgoing and explore putting myself out there to have a better college experience.”

Wisdom, who received the Dennis Bohnenkamp Award and the John J. Boswell Psi Chi Award, two merit-based scholarships created by UMSL donors, as well as the Psychological Sciences Chair’s List Award, also earned a certificate in trauma studies. She hopes to combine her passions for psychology and art to become an art therapist working with kids and adolescents. She’s always wanted to help people but didn’t feel she was suited for the medical field. Working with students in the Wentzville School District as an aide before school and during recess has shown her firsthand that art can be a valuable tool in helping children express themselves.

“A lot of kids don’t want to talk to you or open up, but if you start painting or you’re doing a craft together or you’re creating something together, kids are more willing to open up and talk to you,” she said. “Sometimes you can connect more so over drawing than just talking to them.”

Wisdom plans to take some time off to explore her options after graduation, as working with kids has opened her mind to different career paths such as a teacher or guidance counselor. Either way, she knows her path will eventually lead to grad school, either for therapy or education.

Reflecting back on her days at UMSL – many memories of which were captured through the Triton Traditions Challenge – she encourages other UMSL students to get involved on campus and branch out from their usual routine.

“Go out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to try new things,” she said. “That definitely made a difference in my years at UMSL for sure, especially during the pandemic.”

For more information about the Triton Traditions Challenge, click here. A scavenger hunt, designed to help students complete more than a dozen challenges, is scheduled for Thu., Feb. 29.

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Heather Riske

Heather Riske

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