Find your calling—through a search engine? Not the typical way to find out where you're going in life, but it’s what helped Katelyn Wagner start her journey at Geneva College.
She had no ties to Geneva but knew she wanted a small Christian school with a communication disorders major. She simply clicked around and landed on the Golden Tornadoes’ website. She applied and three years later, Wagner is still attending Geneva and is deeply engrossed within the communication disorders program.
“Knowing my major played a large part in why I initially considered Geneva,” said Katelyn. “But the thing that finalized my decision was the atmosphere here on campus. The day I came to visit, I knew it was my final decision.”
The field of communication disorders was familiar to Katelyn’s family. Her little brother Ian has autism and attends speech therapy regularly. Through his experiences, Katelyn was exposed to the role of speech therapists and the opportunities they have to work with people on an individual level while helping them regain or develop their ability to communicate. The job seemed like the perfect fit for her.
Through the communication disorders major here at Geneva, students are required to attend field experiences in order to observe and interact with professionals in the field. Katelyn is encouraged in her choice of major each time she participates in field experiences.
“Every time I shadow a good therapist, it just confirms my decision all over again,” Katelyn says. “Seeing the opportunity to impact someone’s life that I will have as a therapist someday is a huge challenge and inspiration.”
Two communication disorders professors have deeply influenced Katelyn’s education at Geneva, Dr. Elaine Hockenberger and Mrs. Susan Layton. “Having so many classes with them, the com dis majors all get to know them pretty well, and they get to know us pretty well to,” says Katelyn. “They care about each of us on an individual level, and they are here to see us succeed.”
Katelyn is also heavily involved in Geneva’s music program on campus. She sings in the Genevans choir, as well as in New Song, a small voice ensemble that tours during the summers.
“It’s a really great way to spend my summer, and combines three things I’m passionate about: singing, traveling and sharing God’s word,” Katelyn says of the program. She is also a member of Grace Notes, a small women’s group within the choir.
As if her major and singing activities weren’t enough to manage, Katelyn is also the vice president of Acting on Aids (AOA) at Geneva. AOA is a club dedicated to educating the people across campus about the AIDS epidemic. She is also an orientation mentor for incoming freshman and has just been accepted into Alpha Chi, a National College Honors society. She lives on the “learning community floor” in the Young East apartments, and she and fellow students meet every week to share about their lives and pray together.
Katelyn’s journey through Geneva may have started online, but her calling became reality from the moment she set foot on campus.
“In my time at Geneva, the phrase ‘calling’ has taken on a much deeper meaning than just a buzzword that I heard way too often and understood a lot less,” Katelyn says. “Knowing that my calling involves a threefold command of serving God, discovering who I am as His creation and serving others has really shaped my life here at Geneva.”
By Sarah Arata ’11
Following graduation in May 2011, Katelyn started her summer by getting married. Katelyn was also accepted into the number one speech pathology master’s program in the United States at the University of Iowa, and currently resides in Iowa City, IA.
“There are all kinds of labs and clinic opportunities, and I am looking forward to getting involved and learning in such a great environment,” says Katelyn. “Since coming here, I definitely feel that Geneva's communication disorders program has prepared me well for this level.”