Among the many standout students in Wittenberg's class of 2010, few have made an imprint upon the university quite like Jeff Boucher.
Wittenberg was the first stop on Boucher's college tour, and he immediately felt at home. At the urging of his mother, however, Boucher kept his options open and did his due diligence in researching other colleges and universities.
"I remember leaving Wittenberg on my visit and thinking to myself I am going to come here," Boucher said. "After filling out about 14 applications to schools and taking half a dozen college visits all over the East Coast and Midwest, I ended up going to the first school I looked at, Wittenberg.
"I first started looking at Wittenberg because of its size, location and athletics. Everything Wittenberg had to offer matched up with what I was looking for in a school. Once I stepped on campus for the first time as a prospective student, I quickly saw myself fitting into the campus environment."
Boucher settled in quickly and found Wittenberg had much to offer. He earned varsity letters in each of his first three years as a member of the Tiger men's lacrosse team. He has pursued a variety of academic interests to great effect, compiling a sparkling 3.97 grade point average while carrying two majors (Russian and Central Eurasian studies and political science) and a minor in sociology. And he has immersed himself in numerous extracurricular campus activities, including work as a community service coordinator, peer mentor and political science tutor.
Boucher has even found time to train a service dog through Wittenberg's partnership with Four Paws for Ability, providing a positive outlet for a student who has been inducted into six national honor societies while at Wittenberg, including the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa organization.
"Time management and support from my friends and family have been the largest factors in my success at Wittenberg," Boucher said. "I have had a lot of fun in my time here at Wittenberg, but I also remember why I am here, and that is to be a student first."
Among a wide variety of academic achievements, Boucher collaborated with Professor of Sociology Keith Doubt to publish a paper on the current social system in Iraq titled "War in Iraq: Is It Sociocide?" It was published in a recent issue of the journal Forum Bosnae titled "Unity and Plurality in Europe: Multiculturalism and Coexistence" after Doubt presented it at the 2009 American Sociological Association's annual conference in San Francisco, Calif.
After consistently going above and beyond in his academic career, Boucher was encouraged to apply to become a prestigious Rhodes Scholar. With help from his advisors, Boucher submitted an application for the program, which provides students the opportunity to pursue post-graduate studies in Oxford, England.
"Despite not getting selected, I found the application process to be an extremely valuable experience," Boucher said. "Although I did not receive the scholarship, I am in no way disappointed. Through the experience I now plan on applying to Oxford next year."
Boucher hasn't simply taken notes while sitting in a classroom during his college years. He has traveled extensively, starting with a month-long study abroad experience in Russia in 2008 that led to a presentation of his research findings at a conference in Canada. Last year, he was selected by the Department of Political Science to participate in a week-long conference at West Point.
Boucher also said that his work with the National Outdoor Leadership School has made a significant impact upon him. He led groups mountaineering, hiking and kayaking in Alaska in 2008 and Wyoming in 2009, applying lessons in leadership techniques, outdoor skills, risk management and environmental ethics.
Boucher is in the process of applying for law school, and he hopes to attend one that offers a dual degree option with either Russian area studies or international relations. He credits his tremendous academic success and personal growth during his collegiate career to the unique environment Wittenberg provides and faculty and staff members who have helped him along the way.
"Wittenberg is special because of the many different opportunities that I have been able to experience in my short four years here," Boucher said. "Most importantly, I think the people here at Wittenberg are what make this such a great place to be."
- Written by Trent Brunic '10
- Photo by Erin Pence