I Want to Be a Role Model

May 13, 2014 | by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Senior Kellie Orr, a speech-language pathology major from Wilmington, says her involvement with the Niebuhr Center opened her eyes to injustice in the world and helped her find her calling in life.

Mother Knows Best
In high school I wanted to go far away to college and have a big adventure. But my mother kept putting brochures from Elmhurst up on the refrigerator door. Then they started showing up on my bedroom door! When you’re 18 you think you know what you want, but it turns out my mother knew me better than I did. She wanted me to go somewhere where I would be a part of a real community. And that turned out to be Elmhurst!

On the Right Path
In college you’re still figuring out who you are and what you believe. What helped me was a Niebuhr Center class on ministry and callings. It made me think about what I wanted to do with my life. It solidified my interest in speech-language pathology. And I learned that I like to work with children. I like that they say exactly what is on their minds. I want to be a role model for them.

The Power of Goofy
Last spring, I had an internship with a service organization for children with communication disorders. That led to a summer position as a classroom aid. I learned a lot of practical skills there. But I also learned the importance of being a little goofy! You have to be enthusiastic and fun when you are working with children. Sometimes a little goofiness helps.

Seeing Injustice
Being involved in the Niebuhr Center has helped make me more aware of injustice in the world. I spent January in Israel as part of the course. There we were, surrounded by all these holy places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, but we were also surrounded by injustice. It was sad to see how people in Palestine live—so many of them with no public services and very difficult lives.

What Can Be Done
It’s such a complicated problem. But there are small things I can do to help even if it’s just helping others understand what is going on in that part of the world.

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