Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

Meet New HDFS Grad Olivia Saleh

This year 382 students graduated with a SoHE major. One was Olivia Saleh (’18), a Brooklyn, NY, native who earned a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Learn more about this recent grad and new SoHE alumna.

How did choose your HDFS major?

I am incredibly curious about how and why people become who they are and this major provided a plethora of different frameworks through which I can assess human development.

Now that you’ve graduated, what are your plans?

I am lucky enough to say that I have the opportunity to work as an assistant to the child life specialist that I had the pleasure of working with last summer! Child life specialists function as advocates for children who are admitted to the pediatric ER or pediatric unit in hospitals by helping them cope with various procedures, treatments, and emotional hardships.

Congrats on that great opportunity! Now let’s talk about UW-Madison. What’s a SoHE memory?

My favorite SoHE memory has to be when I sang “Sorry” by Justin Bieber in my HDFS class with Kristy Burkholder. To this day I do not remember why I was prompted to sing that but it was a moment in which I realized what a comfortable environment SoHE and the SoHE staff members cultivate for their students.

What got you through your hardest classes?

The knowledge that my professors were always looking out for my best interest whether that was by asking if we needed an extension on certain deadlines or holding longer office hours when final projects were due!

What’s your favorite place on campus?

My favorite place in SoHE (besides all of it) is the bathrooms on the first floor, which sounds super weird, but it has a really tranquil British nature theme where you can hear birds chirping and deer galloping and every stall looks like a phone booth. It just showcases the creativity that SoHE houses!

Do you have out for a SoHE professor?

I’d like to give HDFS Professor Kristy Burkholder a shout out because she is the epitome of warmth, compassion, expertise, humility and kindness. She is able to recall information about every student that she has had in her classroom and in every class in which I’ve had the pleasure of being taught by her, she has shared her lived experiences and the wealth of knowledge that they have thrust upon her. She so readily acknowledges that every moment in life is a chance to learn something that you did not know before. Her ability to care for everyone she has ever met is infectious and I aspire to have one tenth of the empathy and gratitude that she has. Thank you, Kristy!!!

Last, but not least, what local establishment will you miss the most on campus?

The food place that I’ll miss the most on campus will definitely be the Colectivo on State Street because I’ve probably spent a total of two years studying there if you were to add it all up. Not only am I my most productive self there, but they have a veggie pesto breakfast burrito that won’t QUIT, their oatmeal is delish, and they have these cappuccino almonds that put a little pep in my step if I need a study snack.