Amazing Students

Kelsey Brown

Kelsey Brown has a love for theatre and an academic passion for speech-language pathology. Throughout her undergraduate career she has been able to combine those fields in very creative ways.

Hometown:

Lexington, KY

High School:

Henry Clay High School (Liberal Arts Academy)

Degree objective:

B.S. Ed. Communication Sciences and Disorders
B.A. Theatre

I plan to go to graduate school for speech-language pathology next fall. As my career advances, I hope to use my theatre background to consult with professional children’s theatres on inclusivity in their programming. One day I would love to work to facilitate theatre programming for young people with communication disorders, using theatre to meet speech therapy goals.

Other degrees:

Instructional design and technology certificate

Expected graduation:

May 2017

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

On campus, I have been involved in many groups, most notably Alpha Gamma Delta, Children’s Theatre Troupe (social media director, treasurer, communications correspondent), College of Education student ambassadors, Relay for Life (Alpha Gamma Delta team captain, Luminaria Committee), the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association, and Special Olympics.

As for awards, I received a Sustainability + Arts grant from the Office of Sustainability for the spring of 2016. Through this award, I was able to write and direct a play focusing on sustainability, creativity and innovation. The Children’s Theatre Troupe produced the show, which we toured to Campus Community, Camp Kudzu (at Camp Twin Lakes), Thomas Lay Afterschool Program and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Our public performances were held at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at its new Theater in the Woods performance space. I worked alongside students in Gretchen Thomas’ College of Education courses to develop a makerspace after the show, where the students and their parents were encouraged to solve challenges similar to those faced by the characters in the play. They built forts, floating boats, signal devices and art by reusing boxes, bags, cardboard, bottles, etc.

I was also featured in November for UGA’s Commit to Georgia campaign, helping to raise funds to enhance the learning environment for students.

Current Employment:

I am currently working part time at Athens First United Methodist providing child care for infants through 4 years of age.

Last summer, I worked at Lexington (Kentucky) Hearing and Speech Center as an assistant with the Early Childcare Center. I taught young people from infants through preschool, many who use cochlear implants/hearing aids or have autism spectrum disorder. Each Thursday, I developed a music curriculum for each class 18 months through 5 years where we did instrument play, exercises and imaginative games.

My sophomore and junior years I taught a Music and Creative Movement class at reBlossom Mama and Baby Shop. I developed and facilitated book-centered programming for pre-preschool children, where I focused on language, creativity, social skills, following directions and other goals that would ready them for a classroom environment.

I worked as an arts and music program leader at Camp Twin Lakes in the summer of 2015. There, I facilitated drumming, dance, radio, ceramics, improvisation, archery and biking for young people with disabilities, serious illness and life challenges. Last year, I continued my relationship with CTL by working weekend family camps throughout the year. I hope to work a few weekends this year as my schedule allows.

Family Ties to UGA:

I have no family ties to UGA, but I am proud to say that I have made Bulldawg fans out of many of my friends and family members (as long as Kentucky’s not playing)!

I chose to attend UGA because…

I applied to 12 schools for undergraduate. I had no idea where I wanted to go; just what I wanted to do. I toured schools and communication disorders programs all over. I liked that the CMSD program here is placed in the College of Education and I loved the spirit of students and faculty. Everyone I talked to wanted to be here and genuinely felt like they were in the right place. I was fortunate to get a great scholarship and was accepted into the Honors program. It just seemed like the best fit, and I’ve never regretted my decision.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

I try to see as much theatre as possible. Between the University Theatre season and the myriad student groups, the theatre department always has something fun going on. Groups like Children’s Theatre Troupe, Thalian Blackfriars, Next Act, Improv Athens and the Baptist Christian Ministries Dinner Theatre have put on some great work both on campus and off, and I love watching them do what they love to do.

My friends and I have also taken a couple of cooking classes at the Health Center. They are a great way to learn about incorporating healthy choices in the college diet, and I wish I had time to go every month.

When I have free time, I like…

I love a good movie night. My roommates and I will invite people over, bake cookies and spend a relaxing evening together. I also love movie events hosted at Tate or with the Student Union.

The craziest thing I've done is…

I was part of my sorority’s SDT Greek Grind team my freshman year. While I loved musical theatre in high school and took a couple of dance classes, I never would have guessed I would go out for something like that. It introduced me to a lot of people and I got to perform on the Classic Center stage! While I haven’t been able to make the commitment since my first year, I’ve loved being in the audience and cheering on the groups.

My favorite place to study is…

I like to study at the amphitheater behind the MLC. It’s a lovely spot and usually pretty quiet. I can easily run inside to grab a peppermint tea or a muffin from Jittery Joe’s and get to work!

My favorite professor is…

Gretchen Thomas in the College of Education is my favorite professor; so much so that I’ve taken two courses and an independent study with her. She is a strong supporter of service-learning, and always makes material relevant. I love how her EDIT classes encourage an active use of technology to better the world for students, teachers and community members. I was able to experience firsthand students expanding what they think of learning through building obstacle courses, programming robots and making unconventional art. I was able to apply Gretchen’s makerspace course to my sustainability grant, working closely alongside her students to design challenges to support the content of my play. She supported my project from the beginning, offering her own services as well as those of her students to teach me a lesson in delegating tasks. I appreciate the passion she has for her work and her students — especially in her role as my mentor for the past three years.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

Any of my friends would know that my favorite celebrity/singer/philanthropist is Dolly Parton. I love her music, her movies, her personality and her take on life. She is such an inspiration to women everywhere, building an empire for herself out of kindness, confidence and intelligence. Not many people would say no to Elvis to keep the rights of her work! She has created countless jobs for the people of her hometown and given away thousands upon thousands of books, many to children who would otherwise be unable to afford them. One of my favorite Christmas presents was getting to see her in concert, and my roommate even made a poster of her head for my “sign night.” One day I would be satisfied to hold just an ounce of the legacy she carries.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… buy an old house and renovate it as a space of learning for people of all abilities. Theatre, music, art, technology, job training and special topics would be presented for young people with disabilities to get the opportunity to develop passions, make a community and become well-rounded. I would hire my insanely talented friends to teach seminars in their respective areas and tailor each course to match the speech/OT/PT/social goals of the participants.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… also go to graduate school for Theatre for Young Audiences. The world of professional children’s theatre has had a strong impact on me from my time as a high school student at Lexington Children’s Theatre, and I would love to have the time and money to explore that world professionally. During my time as an intern at the American Alliance for Theatre and Education conference in Boston last summer, I realized how important it is for people with my skill set and passion to bring the worlds of communication disorders and theatre for young audiences together. While I fully intend to do so, it will have to be with a graduate degree in SLP and undergraduate degree in theatre … for the meantime.

After graduation, I plan to…

I am currently applying to graduate schools for speech-language pathology. I hope to go somewhere that has a professional children’s theatre nearby where I can volunteer and keep current in both worlds. While I have loved my time here at UGA, I am excited to see what the next couple of years have in store as I finally discover myself as a clinician.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

My freshman year, UGA played UK at home right before Thanksgiving break. I had not been home or seen any of my friends and was so happy when they said they wanted to come visit. My dad and some friends drove down and I was able to show them the campus, my beautiful sorority house and the crazy fun spirit that is a UGA football game (one of them even wore red and snuck into the student section with me). I was so delighted to have them here and proud to show them the place where I now live. Every year, that game has been special to me: making the weekend drive to Kentucky twice and having Kentucky friends come visit me twice. My UGA and Kentucky lives collide for one weekend every year, and it is truly special to be surrounded by so many people and things that I love.

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