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More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Jessica Gallagher

Graduation year: 2020

High school: Glenbard North High School

Hometown: Carol Stream, Ill.

Major: Communication sciences and disorders

Minors: English, psychology

Activities: Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, Epsilon Sigma Alpha International, Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Reading/Writing Center tutor, Phi Beta Kappa

Internship: Student clinician for three terms at Augustana's Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing

Post-grad plans: Attend Elmhurst College to pursue my master's in speech-language pathology

Why Augustana?  

I chose Augustana because I was looking for a small campus and a tight-knit community. From the first time I visited, I absolutely fell in love with Augie's campus. I immediately felt accepted, and I especially loved walking by the Slough. I knew that Augustana would be an environment in which I could thrive and bolster my education.

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

Definitely not! I had no idea what I wanted to major in or what I wanted to be involved in when I first came. Shortly after, I discovered that our CSD program was exceptional, and speech-language pathology quickly became my calling. From there, everything sort of fell into place. I began my college experience as a timid first-year student, but Augie and the incredible people here provided me with the perfect environment to find my voice.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

There are many people who have supported me during my college journey. Thank you to the entire CSD department for providing me with endless opportunities. Both faculty and students have challenged me and bolstered my sense of empathy and dedication. Thank you to my CSD peers for the endless support and laughter.

I also have to thank the faculty in both the psychology and English departments for fortifying my education and expanding my confidence. Thank you to everyone at the Reading/Writing Center for creating the most wonderful work environment.

I cannot thank my best friends at home and at Augie enough. They have always been my biggest fans. Thank you to my roommates for supporting me through difficult times. It has been a privilege to live in a home full of strong women.

Finally, thank you to my family. I would not have been able to succeed in my college career without their love and support.

Peak experience?    

Two of my favorite experiences at Augie have been studying abroad in Guatemala and working as a teaching assistant for Dr. Jakielski.

My study abroad experience expanded my knowledge on childhood development, Guatemalan history and ethical traveling. During our visit, I was overwhelmed by the sense of community, optimism and acceptance.

My time as a teaching assistant challenged me to be a better leader and student. This opportunity increased my confidence, and I am so thankful for it.

What surprised you?    

I was surprised to find my calling at Augustana. Before attending college, I had never heard of speech-language pathology. As I learned more about the field, I was surprised and extremely happy to hear that the college I had chosen had a very strong CSD program. It might sound silly, but it felt like fate. Choosing Augie was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

How did you use your Augie Choice? 

I used my Augie Choice to study abroad in Guatemala during spring break of 2019. We visited various cities and a number of non-profit organizations. One of my favorite experiences included visiting ADISA—a school/center defending the rights of individuals with disabilities.

What will you miss the most?    

I will miss being a student at Augie. I already miss walking to class every morning, stopping at the Brew for coffee and sitting in class with my peers. I will miss working at the Reading/Writing Center. I will miss walking the halls of the Brodahl Building and talking with my peers and faculty members. I will miss living in a home with my closest friends. I will miss living in the Quad Cities. Honestly, I will miss everything—even the Olin stairs!

Advice for the Class of 2024?    

Trust yourself! College is a very stressful time, so surround yourself with people who will support you, challenge you and make you laugh. Work hard, but make time for the fun stuff, too. Eat as much Whitey's ice cream as you can. Walk by the Slough often—even in the winter. Enjoy your time here!

"As Jessica's clinical supervisor for the past two years, I have witnessed the tremendous work ethic and determination she puts forth within her clinical practicum. Jessica is a compassionate, sensitive and insightful clinician, and these qualities have served her well. She is also the quintessential liberal arts student who seeks to nurture mind, body and spirit. She has held leadership positions in several organizations. Jessica is resilient, bright, kind, self-reflective and well deserving of any and all acknowledgement for the standout student she is."

– Madison Logan, instructor and clinical supervisor, communication sciences and disorders