Weslee Kersey

What’s your name, major and where are you from?

Hi! My name is Weslee Kersey, I am graduating this term with my B.S. in Radiation Health Physics and a minor in Organizational Leadership, and I grew up in Tracy, CA. 

Are you part of any clubs, sports, or student organizations? Do you have a job?

I am a member of the American Nuclear Society, and I actually have three jobs. I am a shift supervisor at the downtown Corvallis Starbucks, a Teaching Assistant for Project Management, and I am an Undergraduate Learning Assistant for the College of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Outside of this, I am a Sergeant in the Army Reserves.  

Why did you choose Oregon State?

I fell in love with OSU’s campus, and we have one of the top Nuclear Science programs in the world, especially with a reactor on campus. OSU was actually the only college I applied to.  

What’s an expectation you had before coming here and how did it turn out?

I honestly did not know what to expect. Neither of my parents went to college, most of my family has never left California, and I did not know anything about Oregon. I remember being anxious and nervous but was never afraid of coming here, because I was absolutely sure I had made the right decision. I guess the only expectation that I had was to ‘live the college experience’ that you see on tv, and it turns out that the college experience is truly whatever you want it to be.  

If you were leading a campus tour, what’s one thing you’d want to mention?

As a radiation health physics major, it’s basically a law that I mention the OSU TRIGA Reactor! Other than this, I would mention that American Dream, Bomb’s Away, and Allan’s Coffee are all top tier places for food and drinks. I would also mention that the railroad tracks next to Dutch Bros are, in fact, not a road to drive on.  

How do you want to make a difference in our community? This could be current or in the future.

I want to spread a message of self-confidence and empowerment! One of my biggest beliefs is that a person’s mentality and confidence are the most powerful or hurtful aspects of themselves. Being a gay man in the Army, studying nuclear science, and working three jobs, I have experienced a lot of adversity, yet I am still going. If you let whatever other people say about you or do to you impact your entire persona, it simply deteriorates your willingness to grow. Do not allow other people’s perspectives to cloud your personal values, beauty, or self-love. The value we place upon ourselves should stem beyond our physical appearance, it should come from our work ethic, our personalities, our support systems, our intelligence, and anything else that make you unique. The energy you give off to others should reflect your secureness within yourself. I learned that if at any point I tell myself “I can’t do it” or “I hate my….”, it will cause a chain reaction of self-criticism, belittling, and anxiety. Be DAM proud of who you are and how far you have come! 

You’ve overcome many challenges to get you to this point. If comfortable, please share a challenge and briefly comment on what you learned from it or how you got through it.

One of the hardest challenges that I continue to deal with is accepting that I grew up too fast. I struggle to find a balance between my responsibilities as a sergeant, supervisor, and student-faculty member and reminding myself that I am just 23 years old. I have had a lot of fun memories, filled with day trips and friends, and other great adventures, but I have also missed out on a lot of experiences due to work.

I often reflect and remind myself to stop being so grown up all the time, it is okay to not be the leader, and just send it. I have learned that it is okay to have free time and to be bored, it is also okay to be in charge of multiple things at 23. Some trick to help me get through is set a ‘stop time’ every day, for example, every day I will stop working at 6pm. Another thing that has really helped me is my friend group because they have supported me and always send an invite because they understand my lifestyle. Support from others, mixed with spontaneity and good time management have allowed me to accept the duality of my personality.   

What’s your favorite college memory you’ve made so far? 

My favorite memory from my time at OSU has to be meeting so many people from all types of communities. I have friends from Greek life, my different jobs, athletes, ROTC, the College of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and people I have randomly met!  

If you could give one message to incoming students, what would you say?  

College is a time of growth. Try new things, meet as many people as you can, get involved with anything and everything that sounds interesting, and most importantly take care of your physical and mental health. It is okay to put yourself first sometimes.  

In the next year of your life, what do you look forward to most? Do you have any dreams after college?

I am actually moving all the way across the country to Florida. This upcoming August, I will start my Ph.D. program in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Florida with a focus in Nuclear Security, Forensics, and Nonproliferation.  

If you could deliver one message to your peers, what would you say?

My hot take: Networking will get you farther in life than your GPA…..