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April 8, 2021 at 5:26 pm

Class of 2021 | Katy Campbell Finished Strong with Thesis, Work and an Internship

Katy Campbell and her cat, Zimmie

Katy Campbell and her cat, Zimmie

For Katy Campbell, the onslaught of COVID-19 was almost like putting the brakes on, but then she hit the accelerator and powered through.

She spent her final semester with 16 credit hours, working eight hours a day each weekend, babysitting during the week, going to an internship, and writing her thesis paper.

“I overcame this simply by chugging along and having a lot of support from my professors and adviser,” says Campbell, who will graduate this spring with History Department Honors for her History major, a Sociology Minor, and two certificates — Diversity Studies and Museum Studies.

Q: What stands out in your mind as you think about graduating despite COVID?

A. Honestly what stands out in my mind is losing the entirety of my senior year to the pandemic. I have had one course meet in person, a one credit Astronomy Lab, and everything else was online. Because of this, class time was cut way short, and I was not able to really meet anyone new. Despite this, my professors did a great job adjusting, although the workload was exceptionally heavy in order to make up for the lost class time. It also feels harder to get my foot down in the real world and land a career when so many things are on hold or online, especially in the museum field. I’m glad I made it but it wasn’t like there were really any other options anyhow.

Q: What are your next steps/future plans?

A. My summer after graduation will consist of me saving money through working as a server, and then I am moving to Denver at the end of summer. Career wise I haven’t started the search because so many museums are online currently, but I assume there will be a spike in new exhibits and such when the pandemic ends. I am planning on using my free time after graduation this summer to really search.

Q: Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 

A. The professors at OU are the most important part of the university as a whole and there are many that I have really enjoyed learning with.

  • One is Dr. Robert Ingram with whom I took God and Science in the West, which ended up being one of my favorite courses here, despite being online.
  • Another was MaryKathyrine Tran, who taught my first Diversity Studies class, also online. She was so kind, understanding and inclusive.
  • Also, Dr. Paula Miller-Buckner, who I had for SOC 3500 and Class and Inequality, again despite being online, she taught me a lot and was super supportive.
  • Also, Edward Pauley, who led my museums studies class and our friend Jeff at the Kennedy Art Museum. Although, through no fault of their own, the class was unable to produce the expected results, they provided me with a wonderful experience and creative environment.
  • Finally, Dr. Chester Pach, who I had for a 1960s America class and is my thesis adviser. He was very fun in class and has been a great help and very supportive and understanding while I’ve been writing this thesis during all of the turmoil of the past year.

Q: What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

A. I don’t know if I will have that moment until the minute my name is called at graduation.

Q:  What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

The hardest hill I’ve had to climb has been the entirety of the past year. On top of my college experience being completely flipped upside down, I have been the busiest I have ever been. I have consistently taken 15 credit hours per semester, and this year I’ve continued that as well as working two jobs and writing a thesis. I am currently in my last semester with 16 hours, serving for 8 hours a day over the entire weekend, babysitting during the week, going to an internship and writing the 40- to 50-page paper. I overcame this simply by chugging along and having a lot of support from my professors and adviser.

An emotional blow from COVID was when it first shut us down it caused my Museum Studies class to cancel the real exhibit, moving to a virtual one. After working all year, I was unable to build what we were so close to finishing putting together. My summer internship was postponed and I had to fight to do my internship in person in my last semester. Thanks to the hard work of Michelle Clouse in the History Department and Brad Davis at the Southeastern Ohio History Center, I was able to work in person and gain the experience I lost last year in the Museum Studies Program. I am deeply thankful for them.

Q: What are your favorite OHIO memories?

One of my favorite experiences in my college career was studying abroad. It is a privilege to have the opportunity and ability to do it, but it was the best semester of my life. I went to Hawaii and lived in Honolulu from January to May and attended school at Hawaii Pacific University. People would sometimes tell me that Hawaii isn’t abroad because it is part of the United States, but the culture there is so strong, unique and different, it felt like I was in a different country. I made two of my best friends there, who I still keep in contact with and go on trips with. It sounds cheesy, but it really changed my life.

Q: What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

I would tell a new student to get involved in the community. The Athens community is so tight knit and full of wonderful and interesting people that want to help you and give you opportunities. On top of that I would tell them to respect the community and remember that this is people’s homes, not just a little vacation spot.

Also, do all the unique to Athens things! I waited until my senior year to do a lot of things and then everything shut down, so is a lot I missed. (Specifically thinking of ’80s night at Casa). Take advantage of all the time you are here and go out of your comfort zone. Also, make sure to see all the nature in the area! We are so close to Hocking Hills so go on some hikes! There are much greater things to see in the Athens area than the CI basement.

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