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Health, Wellness, and Behavioral Sciences Graduate Wins Top Award

By Clarke News  |  May 3, 2024

If you’ve toured Clarke in the last few years, there is a chance you’ll recognize Isabella “Izzie” Peterson. She has been a tour guide and intern for the Admissions Office since 2021. Izzie said she wanted to work for Admissions because she remembered how her own tour of Clarke impacted her.

“I had considered a few other schools, but I remember feeling so welcomed at Clarke. You could feel that it was genuine,” Izzie said. “The more people I met, the more it reinforced that feeling of comfort. It made me confident this was the right step for me.”

Beyond her work in Admissions, Izzie contributes to Clarke’s positive campus culture in many ways. She played point guard for the basketball team all four years, including their National Championship run in 2023. Off the court, she and her teammates volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dubuque, Iowa Special Olympics, Dance Marathon, and more. Thanks to the recommendation of her teammate Skylar Culbertson, Izzie took that involvement to the next level with the Clarke Compass scholarship program, which promotes student-led community service.

“Sky earned one of the scholarships in 2023 and I enjoyed helping her with some of the projects, so I decided to try,” Izzie said. “We were able to hold a resource drive for some local organizations, as well as volunteer with East Dubuque Elementary School. I’ve enjoyed the work, and it’s made me more confident in my ability to lead and contribute to my community.”

Izzie’s drive to help others is evident in her coursework as well. With her major in Health, Wellness, and Behavioral Sciences, she has explored many ways to serve patients’ overall wellness needs.

“Through classes, I’ve gained an understanding of how our mental and physical health affect one another,” Izzie said. “I also completed an internship with Statera Integrated Health and Wellness Solutions where I was able to shadow professionals working in mental health, life coaching, nutrition, reflexology and a variety of services. That really helped me narrow my professional pathway to mental health counseling.”

Izzie’s extensive involvement in the classroom and community earned her the 2024 Francis J. O’Connor Award, Clarke’s most prestigious recognition for a graduating senior.

“I don’t need an award for the work to feel rewarding, but to have my passion recognized in this way means a lot,” Izzie said. “This community sees that authentic commitment and celebrates it, which motivates me to keep growing and doing more.”

Following commencement, Izzie will begin graduate school for mental health counseling at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. She discovered the program with the help of Professor Tim Boffeli and Clarke alumna Logan (Hoyt) Wissing ’17, who earned her master’s from Adams State in 2021.

“Tim was a huge help throughout my time at Clarke and with that step to graduate school,” Izzie said. “He’s just one of many. I know there are people here I’ll stay connected to the rest of my life.”