Katelyn Derby '18: Where Are They Now?

Katelyn Derby ‘18

Majors: Communications Disorders & Special Education

Graduate student at MSU-Moorhead for Speech-Language Pathology.

Why did you choose Augustana University?

A:  I initially chose AU because of the phenomenal professors, programs, and the opportunities it offered to students. Augie was the last college I was going to visit my senior year, and after visiting ten other undergraduate programs, Augie definitely came out on top. Entering college, I knew I wanted to be a speech-language pathologist, and Augustana offered a unique, hands-on program that piqued my interests. I also loved that Augustana really encouraged students to explore their passions. For me that meant joining the Angelus Choir, gaining impactful hands-on experiences in the Sioux Falls community, and studying abroad in England, Greece, and Norway.

What was your favorite class?

A:  My favorite class at AU was chemistry in our changing world. Science has never been my favorite subject, but this class really enlightened me on how important chemistry is and how it’s used all around us. Dr. Stranjord and Dr. Klose made this class memorable because each Friday we took field trips to places such as a crime lab, ethanol production company, Sanford research lab, and even a brewery!

Did you have a favorite professor?

A: It’s hard to choose a favorite professor at AU, because I had and continue to have great relationships with many of them. Dr. Matt Johnson in the special education department was an impactful mentor to me and I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Norway for his class! He is the kind of professor who makes everyone feel appreciated and takes the time to know his students on a personal level.

What’s your favorite memory during your years at AU?

A: When I was studying abroad in Greece my freshman year, a group of us wanted to hike up the 999 steps to the Palamidi Fortress to see the sunrise. When we heard the early alarm, we were all so excited we practically jogged up the entire staircase. Believe me, it’s a lot of steps. Although I was very out of breath, the view was incredible and it was easily the most breathtaking sunrise I have ever seen.

Do you have a favorite classroom experience?

A: I had the opportunity to provide speech therapy services in an elementary classroom in Sioux Falls my junior and senior years. It was such a reassurance to me that I was excited about my future occupation and absolutely loved what I was doing. 

Now that you’ve graduated, what are you currently doing?

A: I am currently a graduate student at Minnesota State University Moorhead studying speech-language pathology. In this new academic chapter, I feel that Augie did a great job preparing me to be a lifelong learner and successful student. Grad school has been a whirlwind, but a highlight for me in my first year has been serving on an evaluation team to assess children who do not have the ability to communicate with verbal speech. I have had the immense blessing of seeing children light up when they are given alternative access to communication and be able to express their thoughts and feelings with loved ones. I am in the most amazing field and could not be more passionate about it!