Hometown: Franklin, TN
Anticipated Graduation Date: August 2018
How did you react to the news when you found out you were chosen for a Child Life Practicum at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital?
To be completely honest, the first words out of my mouth were, “Are you serious?!” I just could not believe that the practicum I had been working towards for so long was finally happening. I was and still am so excited that I was given this opportunity. I feel extremely blessed and cannot wait to begin this new journey!
What are you looking forward to about this practicum the most?
I’m looking forward to making connections and building relationships with not only patients but all the staff I will work alongside. I am also extremely excited to make the children and families entering in the hospital feel loved and valued through the stress. Being in a hospital can be scary or heartbreaking to some, but I hope I can be a bright light in someone’s dark place and serve as the best emotional support as I can.
How does a Child and Family Studies degree fit into your life’s plans?
My CFS degree is going to help me tremendously as I start my path to becoming a Child Life Specialist. I will be able to apply so much of what I have learned through this major directly to the care of my patients one day!
What have you learned from other students?
I have learned that although all of us come from different backgrounds, that we are all working towards the same honorable goal: helping others. I have learned so many valuable things from my peers and a lot of them I will carry for the rest of my life. Since this major is tight knit, a lot of my peers have become some of my greatest friends. I am so thankful for that.
Who is your favorite professor or staff member at UTK so far and why?
This is a very difficult question to answer because I truly believe every single professor in the CFS College are the absolute best on campus. However, Dr. Hunter, Dr. Nownes and Dr. Johnson have forever impacted me. Each of these professors have made me feel capable and valued. They have celebrated me at my highest and have lent helping hands when I have been struggling. These professors truly care about their students and I know this because they take the time to get to know each student on a personal level. As apart of the CFS major, I have never felt like I was in the dark or not known; these professors know you by name and want to see you reach your absolute highest potential, not only as a student but also as a person.
What have you learned (or are learning) that’s made a difference to you?
I learned so much in my CFS 211 and CFS 213 classes. I have always been fascinated by the development of children’s brains, personalities, etc. I absolutely loved those classes because I will be able to apply everything I learned from those classes to my future career. I also really enjoyed my CFS 405 class. Dr. Nownes taught me so much but my most important takeaway from her was to just be kind to others no matter the circumstance. That is something I will not only take with me into my career, but for the rest of my life.
What are you most thankful for from your time as a CFS student, so far?
I am thankful for the professors who dedicate so much of their time to making our major such a positive and fun learning environment. I am also just thankful for the major itself. Child and Family Studies has taught me so much about our world and the people that make it up. In many of my classes I have learned about topics that have truly humbled me as a person. Ultimately I am thankful for the major because it has given me an outlet for my passion of helping others.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
This truly is a special major! I feel so fortunate to have become apart of the CFS family because it really such a supportive community of peers and professors. Get involved, become a CFS ambassador and take classes out of your comfort zone, I promise you will not regret it! I owe a lot of my fondest memories to the people that make up this major so I encourage each incoming student to open their minds to new ideas.