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Bridget McLaughlin

Hometown: La Grange Park, Illinois

Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders

Plans after graduation

I am going to do a volunteer program called Friends of the Orphans. They have orphanages in nine different Latin American countries. I will be the speech pathologist in an orphanage in Guatemala for a year starting in July! I am incredibly excited. After that, I'll get my Master's degree in bilingual speech pathology at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. They are letting me take a year off first to go to Guatemala!

How did Augustana prepare you for life after college?

Augustana has prepared me well for life after graduation. I feel extremely prepared to study speech pathology in graduate school, because I have gone through one of the best speech pathology undergraduate programs here at Augustana. We have already had our own clients (with supervision), which usually does not happen until graduate school. Furthermore, I feel as though the Liberal Arts education has given me a lot of insight that I would not have had otherwise. At first I did not like all of the Learning Perspective requirements; however, I changed my mind. Taking these Learning Perspectives challenged me to think, learn, grow, and participate in classes that covered topics such as poetry, philosophy, religion, and intercultural communication. Finally, I have also learned a great deal outside of the classroom. All of the opportunities at Augustana have helped me to grow as a person and gain even more confidence. In particular, studying in Ecuador for a summer helped me to understand people of a different culture - and myself.

What are you looking forward to about life after graduation?

I am most looking forward to volunteering in Guatemala!

What will you miss about Augustana?

I will miss the great classes, the beautiful campus, and extracurricular activities. But most of all, I will miss the people. A memory that stands out in my mind is something that my high school friends said once when they came to visit me: "I've never been anywhere where people are so nice!" And I feel that truly describes Augustana.

What was your favorite memory from Augie?

One of my favorite memories at Augustana was working with my clients at the Augustana Center for Speech, Language and Hearing. With the help of supervisors, I gave speech and language intervention to several children for a year. This was extremely rewarding because I helped to teach them effective communication skills. Conducting intervention also immensely helped me to gain skills necessary for speech pathology.

What advice would you give to current students?

I would tell current Augustana students to take advantage of every opportunity possible - in and outside of the college. If possible, I would especially recommend studying abroad. Living in a foreign country is a phenomenal experience. Experiencing another culture is the best (and most fun) way to learn about it. And you will learn a lot about you own culture and yourself.