Caroline Strolic: Outstanding Graduating Student

Caroline Strolic of Phoenix, Arizona is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She is an honors student majoring in art history with a minor in history. A member of the women’s swimming and diving team, Strolic has been team captain for the past two years, and a member of the 2020 America East All-Academic Team. She holds records in the 200 and 400 medley relays. Her honors also include the Robert Thomson Memorial Thesis Fellowship and Zillman Art Museum-University of Maine Curatorial Internship. Her honors thesis is “Benjamin West and His Studio: The Making of an Anglo-American Identity.” Strolic has interned at the Hudson Museum on campus and at the American Independence Museum in Exeter, New Hampshire. She also has been a student mentor, lifeguard and swim instructor. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in art history and museum studies. 

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals? 
I think the plethora of academic opportunities and the professors have certainly helped me obtain my goals. I know I would definitely not be where I am today without the help of my teachers who have supported both my academic and athletic goals without any hesitation. They were always incredibly understanding of my athletic schedule and worked with me to balance both athletics and academics. They also pushed me toward opportunities that I do not think I would have taken had they not been there to encourage me. The small community aspect of the school with the large university perks has given me the chance to be a part of something much bigger than myself, for which I am so grateful.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?
I am so grateful for the Honors College when it comes to how it changed my perspective of the world. I am forever thankful for the different people and experiences I have encountered and learned about through the discussion-based classes in the Honors College. It opened my eyes in a way that I did not think possible. I have learned so much about myself and what I believe in. Those discussions facilitated by the college have allowed me to participate in tough conversations that I did not think I would ever have the opportunity to be a part of.

Why UMaine? 
Living in Arizona my whole life, I knew I wanted to go to a college on the East Coast, but I wasn’t really sure where. I heard about UMaine through swimming, as I knew it had a good team, so I reached out to the coaches and was able to come on a recruiting trip. When I arrived, I fell in love with the place. The atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for — not too big, but not too small — and the concept of having four seasons excited me, as I never really experienced a spring or a fall or even really a winter in Arizona. The team aspect definitely drew me in as they seemed like a family, which is exactly what I was looking for. Once I heard UMaine had art history as a major, I was sold and knew this was the place I wanted to be. Plus, I have family in New Hampshire, so I never really felt alone, even though I was hundreds of miles away from home.

How would you define the opportunities for student success at UMaine?
Any person who comes to UMaine has the opportunity for success. If you’re like me and need a little push to find those opportunities, that is totally OK! Some people can naturally find it, while others need a little guidance. If you’re willing to look, there is always something that can help achieve those goals. If you think there is something worth pursuing but don’t see any options, there will always be someone else with the same interest. Or you could bring it to the attention of a teacher and they can help you establish it at the school. For me, both the Honors College and the Athletics Department have helped me succeed. The Honors College provided me with the tools that I needed for my major, whether research skills, public speaking or engagement with others, while the Athletics Department provided me with the resources I needed to succeed at school. The academic counselors were incredibly supportive and always willing to help whenever I needed it, and I couldn’t have done it without them.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?
I’ve worked with so many amazing teachers and mentors who have helped me succeed during college. I would have to say I am incredibly grateful for my coaches, Susan Lizzotte, Linda Costello and Jeff Wren, for making this whole college experience way more fun than I ever thought it could be. They encourage me every day to be a better person, student and athlete, and I am so thankful for the opportunities and support they have given me during my college career. On the academic side, I am thankful for my adviser Justin Wolff and all of the support he has given me the past four years. I have had the opportunity to have him as a teacher every semester, and now he is my thesis adviser. He has always been so incredibly understanding of my crazy schedule and has been so helpful every step of the way throughout this thesis process.

What advice do you have for incoming students to help them get off to the best start academically? 
College is very different from high school. Be prepared to work hard in a much different way than you expect or are used to. If you do not achieve your goals or do as well as you wanted to in your first year, that is OK! What matters is recognizing what you have to do in order to succeed. Most importantly, remember to have fun! It really does go by quickly and you do not want to live with regret.

Contact: Margaret Nagle,