|Caitlin's activities: Varsity soccer, Athletes Giving Back, Phi Rho sorority, Best Buddies, Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, Augustana Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Major: Communication sciences and disorders (CSD)
Post-grad plans: Obtain a master's in speech-language pathology
Are you where you thought you'd be four years ago?
Four years ago, I was completely unsure of where I would be come graduation day. I came in as a biology major interested in different health-related fields, but I hadn't really found my niche. I was lucky enough to have a summer job that sparked my interest in speech-language pathology. I took an introductory course in CSD my sophomore year and quickly fell in love.
What did you learn about yourself in these past four years that surprised you?
Coming into college, I was really nervous about finding a major that could lead me to a career that I was passionate about. I was so unsure about what I wanted to do and what direction I would go, and I felt like I was running out of time. Through my academic, clinical, extracurricular and athletic experiences, I think I found a new confidence in myself as a leader and discovered a lot more about myself as a person. This experience at Augie helped me to find an area of study that I can truly say I am passionate about and I am excited to do for the rest of my life.
A peak experience?
I have so many great memories that stand out for different reasons. Traveling to Europe and making it to the Sweet 16 with my best friends on the soccer team were incredible experiences that I will never forget. However, I think my peak experience was traveling to Australia this past winter term. As an intern at The University of Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences, I was able to give speech therapy to a 4-year old girl with childhood apraxia of speech and actually had to fake an Aussie accent to do so.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
I have an incredible support system of family and friends from home and at Augie who have always encouraged me in everything I do and have always been there for me. My CSD professors and clinical supervisors have been amazing mentors and teachers throughout my undergraduate academic experience. I have learned so much from them and have formed relationships on a personal level as well, something that I think is a unique quality of professor-student relationships at Augustana. My soccer coach, Scott Mejia, has also been a crucial aspect of the quality of my athletic experience at Augie. He has pushed me to be the best leader I can be on and off the field.
Advice for this fall’s incoming class (Class of 2016)?
It's the best and fastest four years, and college is completely what you make of it. Sometimes it may seem like it's only week three and you just can't wait for summer, but some day you will be wishing you were moving back into Westerlin.