Loyola University Chicago

The President’s Medallion

Johanna Doreson

PHOTO: Natalie BattagliaWant to get the most out of college? Then take Johanna Doreson’s advice. “Invite people to study with you,” says Doreson, who has been on the Dean’s List since 2012. “It’s a great way to make friends—and get better grades.”

School of Education

Johanna Doreson

Johanna Doreson loves being in the classroom—both as a student and a teacher.

She’s been on the Dean’s List since 2012 and is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit universities. But she’s also found plenty of time to mentor others, from tutoring at-risk high school students on the South Side to assessing the literacy levels of English language learners at a local elementary school.

Here, she talks about the importance of a strong role model, how study groups can help you get better grades, and why she’ll miss hanging out at The Coffee Shop.

What’s your favorite Loyola memory?
My freshman year I wound up having only essays for finals, so I finished school more than a week before everyone else. One of my close friends had a similar situation, and we both opted to stay on campus until the last possible move-out day. We made itineraries and spent every day exploring a different part of Chicago. It was so fun to play tourists and scope out all the places we didn’t have time to visit during the school year.

Talk a little about a professor or mentor who inspired you.
There are a lot of ups and downs in education, and it’s so important to have a strong role model who can guide you along. Professor Brigid Schultz is someone that we’ve all gone to for professional advice. She is amazingly well-versed in everything education related—and she knows how to laugh and say “You’ll be fine!” in a way that makes you believe it.

Tell us about your volunteer/service work and what it means to you.
I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a lot of different activities, from working in Residence Life to tutoring high school students on the South Side. I’ve always tried to pick projects that have some tie to education, and it’s been eye-opening to see how multifaceted the field is. It’s really been great to see the many ways counselors and educators can impact student achievement.

Any advice you would give students about how to get the most out of their education?
Invite people to study with you. It’s a great way to make friends—and get better grades. I’m really shy and probably wouldn’t know anyone if I hadn’t started asking people to meet for coffee and study sessions. You should also hit up your professors’ office hours whenever you can. They’re some of the most brilliant and fascinating people you’ll ever run across, and this is probably the only time in your life that you’ll have access to them.

Any spots on campus or in Chicago that you’ll miss?
I don’t plan on leaving Chicago, but if I do, I will definitely miss Lake Michigan. Most of my best college memories took place there. And where will I find another café with the eclectic charm of The Coffee Shop? It’s one of my favorite places to sit with my laptop and pretend I’m being productive.

And finally, what do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
Wow, that’s a difficult question. I mean, I don’t even know what I’m going to have for breakfast tomorrow. I’ll probably teach for a while, though I imagine that I will be back in school before too long. I’ve thought about pursuing a PhD in English or education policy, and I’ve always had an interest in law, so ... either way, I’ll be in a classroom somewhere.