With her small-town roots and big-campus dreams, McKenzie Capouch ’17 is not unlike many UW–Madison students. For her, home is Ettrick, Wisconsin, population 1,300. That’s roughly a hundred more people than live in Witte Hall, the residence hall where Capouch lived freshman year.
“I moved in on my own, and I was a little bit scared,” she recalls.
But Capouch quickly warmed to Madison, and she makes it a point to take in as much as she can. She also took the chance to study abroad in Sri Lanka — her first time outside of the country. “It was eye-opening,” she says. “It helped me realize that my perspective is not necessarily always correct.”
Now a seasoned Badger, and already preparing to graduate in 2017, Capouch says nothing she has encountered along the way has changed her mind about why she came to UW–Madison in the first place: nursing school.
Being able to bring the benefit of my education back home is important to me.
“I feel like I’ve kind of always known it’s what I wanted,” she says.
As the first member of her immediate family to attend a four-year college, she remains nervous about tuition costs and related expenses on campus. Money was often tight at home, and there were less expensive routes to becoming an RN. But UW–Madison, with its rigor and reputation, always seemed like the smartest choice.
Fortunately, Capouch applied for and received enough financial aid to keep her going. After graduation, she is considering the many options a UW–Madison degree will offer her. And one of the options she’s weighing includes returning home and building a career in or near Ettrick.
“Being able to bring the benefit of my education back home is important to me,” she says.