Zoe Blanchard began her UConn career at the Avery Point campus before transferring to Storrs to complete her studies in the Department of Allied Health Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. As a commuter student, she found many ways to become involved in the University community, including sailing and ballroom dancing. She then built a lasting connection to UConn, first as a student worker and now as a full-time employee in Human Resources, where she helps ensure faculty, staff and students are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What attracted you to the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources?
I was attracted to the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) because of their Allied Health program. I was always interested in high school with the idea of learning more about Allied Health and using what I learned to pursue a career working with a University or Hospital. I also really liked the broad range of subjects that were included in CAHNR. During my time at UConn, I was able to learn about many different fields of study such as nutrition, environmental health and genetics.
What is your major, and why did you choose it?
My major was the Allied Health Sciences Standard Plan. I chose this major because it allowed me the greatest reach to learn about many of the different options offered in CAHNR. I was able to learn about environmental and public health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as what we can be doing to make our planet a sustainable place for future generations. Additionally, I was able to learn about nutrition, which was fascinating. I find myself using information I learned in the classes almost daily when it comes to choosing foods.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why?
I think the most memorable job I’ve had at UConn was working for UConn Human Resources and UConn Health. At the end of my first year, I was offered a student job. I immediately loved the work I was doing there and worked there through the rest of my undergrad. When I graduated in December, I was offered a full-time position in the department where I currently work now! Go Huskies!
Tell us about two other experiences that have enriched your studies.
Two other experiences that enriched my studies were, firstly, the ballroom dancing club that I attended during my first two years at UConn. It was a great experience! This club was an awesome way to destress and distract from the stress of college! Secondly, I was a commuter student all my undergrad time and I started at UConn Avery Point in Groton. It was there I learned to sail, first as part of a university class and then what turned into a fun hobby I looked forward to and hope to find a way to continue.
What has been the biggest challenge in your UConn career?
I think the biggest challenge for me was being a commuter student. You really do have to push yourself to get involved because it is worth it. I had to get over being nervous about talking to people because I realized that they were just as nervous and in a similar situation. I also found that joining clubs greatly increased my ability to get to know people because you already all know you have that thing in common and from there it gets much easier!
When do you expect to graduate? What then?
I graduated online in December 2020. I was offered a job continuing my work with UConn Human Resources, where I continue to work assisting with the burden that COVID-19 has put on the University’s staff and students. I would like to continue my studies and hopefully be able to get my master’s degree from UConn. Now just to decide what I want to do it in!
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your studies or research?
The pandemic has greatly affected the course that I thought I was going to be taking in terms of both graduating and joining the workforce. While the pandemic itself is a negative thing, and I was initially upset that I would be finishing up my time at UConn from home and that I didn’t get to walk at graduation, I borrowed my fiancé’s UConn gown and found a clear day in December to take the classic graduation pictures at the new UConn sign. They honestly came out as good as they would have had I walked for graduation and the most important thing is to come out with a degree, right?
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I think if there is anything else to know about me is that I am getting married in December of 2021. I couldn’t be more excited! My fiancé, James, is the kindest, funniest and most amazing person who I am very excited to spend the rest of my life with! Also, I am hopeful that things will get better so that we can spend that day with our families. I know that things can be uncertain, especially now, and I know it’s cliché to even say, but things really do work out the way they were meant to.