Sophomore Katie Priest hasn’t wasted any time diving into campus life at The University of Olivet. Aside from finding her fit in the classroom, Katie joined a Greek house, the Marching Comets, Art Alliance and Gay Straight Alliance. In addition, she serves as an OC Stories student blogger and was even selected for the invitation-only President’s Leadership Institute, a yearlong training program dedicated to developing top leadership in Olivet’s students, as well as enabling them to become the principal professional and community leaders of the future. No matter which club or group Katie is a part of, she says The University of Olivet offers a welcoming campus community that allows her to be herself and lets her personality shine.
Katie has big goals for her future career, with the overall objective to become an art therapist specializing in working with children. While she isn’t sure where her career will take her, she is planning to volunteer at schools, hospitals and counseling centers to help solidify her path. The University of Olivet is one of the only schools in Michigan to host an undergraduate program in art therapy, offering the course of study within the visual arts dual discipline major. Students in the program study to enhance their own art skills, while also taking psychology courses and learning how to create a relationship between the two. For Katie, the academic setting at OC was enough to make her a Comet. The opportunities to get involved are just the cherry on top.
“I chose to go to Olivet because not only was it one of a few colleges in Michigan to offer the pre-art therapy program I was looking for, but I was fortunate enough to qualify for several scholarships. One even for joining the The University of Olivet Marching Comets as a member of the color guard,” Katie explained. “I enjoyed my college visit and loved the campus, and was excited that the additional assistance helped make it possible for me to attend Olivet.”
Following a near life-long passion, Katie jumped at the chance to join OC’s developing Marching Comets in the color guard and hasn’t looked back since. Her older brother, Tim, played the flute growing up and was so passionate about marching bands he even became a director himself. Katie is following in his footsteps and even dabbled in playing the guitar, bassoon and flute before finding her niche in the color guard.
“As part of the Marching Comets, my overall college experience has been enhanced in such a positive way! Through band, I was able to meet some of my best friends and people who are now my Greek brothers and sisters,” Katie exclaimed. “To come to college as a freshman a year ago, going to band camp was a way for me to get comfortable with being away from home. There is nothing like a band family and marching band is my favorite time of year!”
Katie realized she had lots in common with the members of Alpha Lambda Epsilon, known on campus as Alpha E. For her, joining a Greek house was a way to make OC truly her home away from home – joining a real family and having a space to make memories in, but she didn’t stop there. As a member of the Gay Straight Alliance, Katie strives to help recognize and foster diversity and inclusivity on campus, and her OC Stories blog allows her to have an even larger platform to share her OC experiences.
Determined to get more involved this year, Katie jumped for joy when she was invited to join the President’s Leadership Institute. While the class is usually exclusive to upperclassman, Katie proved her eagerness to become a leader on campus.
“What I have enjoyed most about PLI has been getting to work with students that I normally would not! This group has a selection of majors that OC offers and I think that it is really neat that this program has us working together and being able to know more people on campus,” Katie said. “I enjoy having President Corey and Dr. Davis as professors because you get to know them more as well. PLI lets you get to know yourself as an individual and how you work through situations and I feel that it is really beneficial. Even right now I am trying to apply what I am learning there in my other classes and groups that I am involved in. I am looking forward to working with my project group to see what we can collaboratively come up with and present at the end of the year.”
For the remainder of her time in college, Katie is looking forward to enjoying the ride and solidifying her career goals. She already has become a friendly face on campus, and couldn’t be more excited to welcome new students into her classes, Greek house, Marching Comets and clubs.
“Attending The University of Olivet is one of the best decisions that I could have made!” Katie said assuredly. “The smaller campus allows you to get to know your professors and your fellow classmates and that has been something that I love about Olivet. I love that the campus has such a rich history! As an art student, I think the buildings and surroundings make for the perfect place to enjoy my college years. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”