Kaitlyn Sewell '15
-story by Lena Wallace '14
Randolph-Macon College student Kaitlyn Sewell ’15 is a psychology major and English/writing minor from Louisa County, Virginia.
First-Year ExperienceOne of Sewell’s fondest memories was her First-Year Experience course (FYE), Identity I & II: Me, Myself, and I; We, You, and Them. The course, team-taught by Professors Joe Mattys (drama) and Kristen Klaaren (psychology), explores dramatic literature, mask work, scene performance, and how individuals think about, influence and relate to one another.
“The professors showed so much care,” says Sewell. “They both spoke about how much of an emotional investment they place in their FYE students, and even now when I see them around campus, they say ‘hello’ and ask me how my classes are going.”
A Caring CampusSewell works as a writing tutor in the Writing Center, under the guidance of English Professor Gayla Mills.
“I am thankful that Professor Mills has pulled me out of my comfort zone,” says Sewell, recalling an assignment in which Mills asked her to give a presentation on creative writing to the student body. “Professor Mills knew I was intimidated by public speaking, but her encouragement helped me overcome my fear. She was very supportive, cheered me on, helped me revise my PowerPoint and attended the presentation for moral support.”
Role ModelsSewell also works as a Higgins Academic Center (HAC) mentor and an assistant to the HAC administrative staff.
“My favorite job in the world is being a mentor,” says Sewell. “I set goals for my mentees and help students through mental and emotional struggles that can interfere with academics. It makes me happy to see my mentees overcome challenges and succeed.” Sewell says that her HAC supervisors, Jack Trammell (director of Disability Support Services and professor of sociology) and Jenny Bruce (director of instruction in the HAC and professor of education) are “great role models.”
Service to OthersOutside the classroom, Sewell is the community resource director at the Care is There company in Charlottesville, Virginia, which provides support for independent and assisted-living senior citizens.
“A big part of Care is There is connecting geriatric patients with the services they need, such as housekeeping, doctors and financial advisors,” explains Sewell. “I help these companies advertise through Care is There by writing advertising articles.”
On campus, Sewell serves as Alpha Phi Omega (APO) service fraternity’s fundraising chair.
“We recently sold bracelets for the Granada Street Kids, a group of young boys in Nicaragua who raise money by making bracelets and sending them overseas to be sold,” says Sewell. “We sold $200 worth of bracelets at Camptown, an event filled with music, food and fun, and sent the profits back to the kids.” Sewell is also an active member of Macon Peer Response. As trained sexual and relationship violence educators, Macon Peer Responders promote educational awareness on the issues of sexual and relationship violence. They also support survivors of violence and provide guidance to students by educating them about healthy relationships.
ScholarshipsSewell is a Presidential Scholar and earned the Louisa County Ruritan Scholarship. She is also the recipient of the Floyd-Mehri Scholarship Fund, which is made possible through the generosity of Robin Anne Floyd ’85 and Cyrus Mehri of Washington, D.C.
“I was overwhelmed by the unexpected generosity of an alumna I had never met before,” says Sewell of the scholarship. “Meeting Robin Anne was a very emotional and rewarding experience. Her kind words about my dedication to education were really meaningful and motivational.”
Making PlansFuture plans for Sewell include a 2014 January Term (J-term) trip to Miami, Florida in conjunction with Comparative Animal Behavior, a course taught by Marshall University Visiting Professor Massimo Bardi, a primatologist, and R-MC Psychology Professor Kelly Lambert. The course explores general concepts and principles of animal behavior.
“I am excited to travel somewhere and study psychology firsthand,” says Sewell. “We will study the maternal bonds of monkeys at the DuMond Conservancy/Monkey Jungle in Miami. We will also study dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key. I am really looking forward to it.”
Sewell also plans to participate in the Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program next summer.
“I want to research the links between children with mental disorders and familial involvement in the children’s mental progression,” she says. “After graduation I plan to attend graduate school with a focus on pediatric clinical psychology. I hope to open a dance school for children with special needs.” Read more Student Experience stories.