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Focus & Fun

RANDY METCALF/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sedona native Genna Wolin enjoys life at the UA. She plans to graduate in May and said she would like to write a book, as well as become a child psychologist to aid children during their developmental years.
By Blair Lazarus
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday September 12, 2003

Psychology senior loves helping kids, Dave Matthews and working hard as a Yavapai-Apache ambassador

Genna Wolin is a Wildcat with all of her priorities in order. The psychology senior is focused on academics and earning her degree, while having fun and making friends in the process.

Although she just turned 21 and is having a good time exploring all that Fourth Avenue has to offer, Wolin is a dedicated student. She will graduate in May and plans to pursue a career as a clinical child psychologist because she loves children and believes that "in the development years of a life you can make the most psychological progress."

Wolin also has a minor in communication and clearly likes language. She is articulate, expressive and said that she would love to write a book someday. She writes poetry for fun and has kept a journal because she appreciates the opportunity to take "some time for myself" and to relax and prioritize.

While at the UA, Wolin has participated in a youth mentoring program sponsored by the psychology department.

The program, started by Julie Feldman, an adjunct psychology professor at the UA, matches kids from tumultuous backgrounds with students for a semester. After some initial training, the students spend approximately four hours a week with the kids.

Wolin said she worked with an 8-year-old boy last year and this year is working with a 12-year-old girl. Students primarily act as positive role models and, Wolin said, "Give the kids something positive to look forward to each week."

Originally from Sedona, Wolin initially chose the UA in part because of the in-state tuition waiver offered to her for her standing in high school. She said although she hates the hot temperatures in Tucson, she likes the cool summer nights and has explored southern Arizona by hiking and taking a few trips to Nogales.

One of the other perks of going to school in Tucson, Wolin said, has been that she is still relatively close to Sedona, which she said is "the most beautiful place in the world." When she goes back, some of her favorite activities include hiking and swimming in the creeks.

Having attended a high school of only 400 kids, and with a graduating class of 98, Wolin occasionally misses Sedona's small-town feeling. She also misses the cool weather and her family.

Some of Wolin's family members, however, are closer than they used to be. Wolin's older brother is also a UA student. He is studying music and media arts. Wolin said she loves having her brother on campus because he is "my best friend and it's good to have support at school."

In addition to her tuition waiver, Wolin received a full scholarship for her position as an ambassador for the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

Wolin said the nation is able to extend full scholarships for higher education to all tribe members but wanted to give back to the community as well, so they offered one scholarship to a non-Native American at every school in their district.

Wolin applied in her senior year of high school, which was also the first year of the program, to receive the award.

As the recipient of the scholarship, Wolin acts as an ambassador by speaking on behalf of the tribe and letting people know about what it is doing. The tribe pays for Wolin's living expenses, food and travel so that she can focus on her education. Wolin said one of the reasons she works so hard is to let them know that she appreciates all they do for her.

Even so, it isn't all work for Wolin, who enjoys both her education and her social life. Wolin said she is a big music fan and loves the Dave Matthews Band. Other concerts she's attended include the Counting Crows, whom she saw both this summer and two years ago when they played at UA's Centennial Hall. She said she has also recently gotten into Radiohead and has been able to see them several times with her boyfriend of four years, Matt.

The couple met at Camp Alonim, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Simi Valley, Calif. Wolin attended the camp her whole life and then went back to work in the kitchen. She enjoyed working there because she was able to hone her skill working with kids.

The two, who have shared a long-distance relationship all four years, see each other once every month. Wolin admits the distance is difficult, but long ago she made the decision that the relationship is definitely worth the effort involved.

Wolin currently lives off campus in an apartment with her roommate, psychology senior Veronica Placencio, whom she lived with during both her freshman and sophomore years in Yavapai Residence Hall. The two were not assigned to be roommates, but traded with their randomly assigned roommates and have been great friends ever since.

Look for Genna Wolin to someday be listed among the UA's notable alumni. This serious-minded but fun woman has great things in her future.

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