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"So much attention is given to the young, and many times the elderly are forgotten. They have much worth and need to be loved and cared for until the end."
Almost everyone in Katie Chitwood's family has some tie to the medical field. "My Dad is chief physicians' assistant of the Air Force. My Mom and Grandmother are registered nurses, and my Dad's parents are pharmacists." Katie, however, did not acquire an interest in Medicine until her junior year of high school, although she has "always been more attentive to those who are not noticed or cared for."
In her early teens, she became very close to her maternal grandparents. "My grandfather taught me many life lessons, including the importance of believing in yourself and living each day to the fullest. So much attention is given to the young, and many times the elderly are forgotten. They have much worth and need to be loved and cared for until the end. I want to give back to the elderly what my grandfather gave to me." To do so, Katie plans to become a doctor, specializing in Geriatrics.
As an Honors student, Katie was given the opportunity to perform research in her first year of college. Accepted into the Honors Chemistry II Research Lab, working under Professor Jack Saltiel, Katie gained "invaluable" experience. "At first it seemed like a foreign language. I had to figure out what to do, but I learned that asking for help is sometimes necessary to succeed."
That first year she was also elected to the Honor's Council, a small group of students who organize social events for Honors students. "We strive to bring a sense of community to the Honors College"—those students who have met certain academic criteria.
Katie believes "it is important to work hard to reach your long term goals"—she maintains a 4.0 GPA—"but it is also important to enjoy college life." She has been heavily involved with her sorority Chi Omega, helping to plan various community service projects—the volleyball tournament Sandslam, Walk for Wishes, and the Shamrock Scurry.
Through the Center for Civic Education and Service, Katie has been involved in two outreach projects—LOVE and ECHO. "Project LOVE is especially enjoyable because it allows interaction with the elderly—reading, taking walks, and assisting in recreation activities. On Project ECHO, I interact with children. During the week I get stressed and grow tired of studying. ECHO allows me to experience children's joy, to appreciate the good things in my life, and not be brought down by small stressors."