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Kaitlin O'Brien
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Kaitlin O'Brien

Graduation year: 2019

Hometown: Rolling Meadows, Ill.

Major: Communication studies

Minors: Entertainment and media; theatre arts

Activities: Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity; Delta Chi Theta sorority; Her Campus Media; Advertising Developers (ADs); National Honor Societies: Mortar Board, Order of Omega (Greek), Alpha Delta Sigma (advertising), Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership)

Internships: (1) Ticketek Australia, (2) Arlington International Racecourse, (3) Fresh Films, (4) CAPA The Global Education Network, (5) Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope

Post-grad plans: I will be working as a production intern at Agency EA, an experiential marketing and brand experience agency in Chicago. They created an internship in production just for me!

Why Augustana?

Originally, I planned on attending Bradley University because everyone in my family went there, but then I was recruited to play volleyball at Augustana and everything changed! When I visited Augie in the fall, I instantly fell in love with the beautiful campus, the welcoming students and the incredible professors. Though I didn’t want to break the Bradley legacy, I was in love with Augustana and knew this was the place for me!

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

Absolutely not! One of the main reasons I chose Augustana was to play volleyball and major in communication studies. After suffering through a knee injury and surgery, I truly thought my involvement at Augustana was over. Though I miss playing volleyball, that difficult time opened up so many opportunities, such as interning abroad, joining countless organizations and exploring my passion for entertainment through various internships. I am nowhere where I thought I would be four years ago, but I am so grateful that Augie guided me down a different path!

Who helped you get to where you are now?

It’s not possible to name them all! My family members were definitely my number one supporters throughout my whole journey; they had confidence in me even when I didn’t have faith in myself! My professors and advisors who pushed me to my limits and helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses included Dr. Jessica Nodulman, Dr. Jennifer Popple, Dr. Meg Kunde, Amy Blommer, Dr. Sharon Varallo, and Kelli and Estlin Feigley. Lastly, my forever friends who stood by me and provided endless support through my greatest accomplishments and weakest moments.

Peak experience?

My most unexpected yet humbling experience at Augustana was my Senior Inquiry through my communication studies major titled “Positive Coping Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors.” I partnered with a local non-profit organization called Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope, which is a physical healing house for sexual and domestic violence survivors as well as a social enterprise that sells survivor-made bath and body products! I was able to educate, raise awareness and advocate the crucial coping resources that are typically overlooked. I’ve never felt so strongly about advocating for an issue, and this community full of strong, courageous and influential women inspired me beyond belief.

What surprised you?

I realized that I often underestimate myself. These past four years have been some of the most incredible and difficult times of my life, yet I have persevered through it all and become an even stronger individual. I used to be too scared to acknowledge my accomplishments, but I am so incredibly proud of the courageous and confident person I’ve become. I am proud of my successes in the classroom as well as the knowledge I’ve gained from the diverse opportunities Augustana has blessed me with!

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to intern abroad in Sydney, Australia (and travel to New Zealand)! I worked at Ticketek, the largest entertainment provider in Australia and New Zealand, and was given the opportunity to explore the various sides of marketing and even work a few concerts in Sydney Olympic Park! This internship solidified my passion for the fast-paced entertainment industry and helped me discover my creative marketing skills.

What will you miss the most?

I’ll miss living across the hall from my best friends, the close bonds with my professors, saying “hi” to everyone I pass in the Quad, being involved in countless organizations, Midnight Breakfast during Finals Week, attending classes that I genuinely enjoy and that challenge my beliefs, and even those Andreen stairs that I trekked up for two years. I am so grateful for this unique atmosphere the Augie Bubble has created.

Advice for the Class of 2023?

Never underestimate yourself. Join every organization on campus that interests you because they will be the foundation of your experience at Augustana and will ultimately shape you in return. Also, don’t be afraid to take classes that have nothing to do with your major! Augustana is unique in the sense that you can major or minor in two completely opposite fields. Embrace the opportunities to challenge your own beliefs, enroll in courses that will allow you to expand your mindset, and actually listen to differing perspectives. You will learn so much about yourself if you take the time to actively listen to the perspectives of your classmates!

“Kaitlin shatters the cliché, ‘Make the most of your time at Augustana.' Her four years here have been distinguished by a brilliant academic record full of prestigious honors; faculty that adore her commitment to excellence in her coursework as well as her leadership in the classroom; amazing co-curricular experiences like study away in Australia; and phenomenal internship experiences in diverse entertainment and non-profit organizations. Kaitlin has big, bold, creative ideas that leave you feeling excited to join whatever project she is leading. I know she will light up every path her future endeavors take her on!”

– Dr. Jessica Nodulman, assistant professor, communication studies