Posted 4:01 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

UW-La Crosse psychology major Abby Kuna, a junior from Brookfield, has been awarded $2,300 as a recipient of the prestigious Tommy G. Thompson Leadership Scholarship.

Abby Kuna earns statewide award

A UW-La Crosse psychology major is among the 13 students from each campus in the UW system to earn a Tommy G. Thompson Leadership Scholarship.

Abby Kuna, a junior from Brookfield, has been awarded $2,300 as the UWL recipient of the prestigious honor.

Scholarship recipients were awarded for exemplifying Thompson’s spirit of tackling big problems through teamwork and determination to make Wisconsin a better place. They display dedication, inventiveness and leadership, and are expected to impact their communities.

Kuna knew she wanted to pursue a degree in psychology and work with older adults after being influenced by her grandmother, who attended many of Kuna’s events during her K-12 education.

“Because I was around my grandma so much growing up, I believe that it led me to become interested in older adults,” Kuna says. “I want to pursue a career in geriatrics because it is important to me, and I enjoy spending time with older adults.”

She says since coming to college, she has become more independent and open minded, as well as better in addressing conflict. Kuna attributes much of that growth to serving as a resident assistant, where she has learned patience and understanding while helping roommates experiencing conflict.

“I help people communicate with their roommates in a respectful and productive way,” she explains. “This can help me in my future career when I work with older adults such as those who have dementia. I can communicate with them in a positive way and be more open minded about their situation.”

Kuna expects to take what she has learned about leadership from her job as a resident assistant and as president of the Gerontology Club into her career.

“It is important to assess the needs of others when being a leader,” she notes. “I focus on my residents and take into consideration their needs and wants when making decisions.”