Graceland graduates make the world a better place

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Horizons - Winter 2018

December 17, 2018

Christine Trewhitt '14Christine Trewhitt ’14 is no stranger to the impact a nurse can have on one person — patient or otherwise. Trewhitt has known the value of nursing since she was young; ever since she watched nurses in her home attend to her mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. She found that the presence of a nurse was a positive influence on both her and her mother. “I kind of correlated the two — a nurse in the house and my mom feeling better,” she recalls. Trewhitt has taken this lesson with her throughout her life and into the career she has today.

The decision to become a nurse seemed a simple enough choice for Trewhitt. She is confident in her decision and finds that students can sometimes question whether they have made the right choice in their careers.

As far as choosing a university, she chose Graceland because of its highly ranked nursing program. She was familiar with Graceland already since her parents, grandparents and many members of her extended family have also been graduates. Her parents, David Trewitt ’80 and Carol Noffsinger ’80, are in teaching and social-work professions. Trewhitt feels as though nursing is a combination of both, which revolve around helping people.

 I really feel like it was a calling. I couldn’t be anywhere else.

She took the opportunity to begin her altruistic experience while attending Graceland. When Trewhitt was a student, she took trips to Guatemala and Jamaica with other Graceland nursing students for cultural diversity credits. There, she spent a few weeks immersed in the culture — she and her classmates stayed with Guatemalan families, helped in clinics and visited hospitals. “We got to see nursing from a whole different perspective,” she says, remembering her experience. “It makes you very grateful for everything that we have.”

Trewhitt received both her BSN and MSN from Graceland. Currently, Trewhitt works at Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, as a registered nurse and continues to feel inspired in her profession. “It’s important to have a meaningful profession, just for your own spiritual growth. You’re always going to be learning, you’re never going to be bored.” Trewhitt says she enjoys the diversity of the tasks a nurse can provide, and she likes interacting with a variety of patients.

As a new family nurse practitioner, she recently accepted a job with Saint Luke’s Medical Group on the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, where she will do just that. There, she will give primary care to a diverse community of patients and collaborate with some of the best health care providers in Kansas City. In regard to her future, Trewhitt knows there are many avenues to take within the nursing field. She is excited to see what direction she will go, but is interested in becoming involved in professional organizations that promote legislation to protect nurses, patients and the right to affordable health care for all.


Aaron Richards '11

Graceland grad Aaron Richards ʼ11 lives in Orange, California, with his wife, Leigh Richards ʼ12, their one-and-a-half-year-old son, Owen, and long-haired miniature dachshund, Rudy.

For Richards, there was never another option considered outside of Graceland University for his college experience. He knew from the time he was a child that Graceland was the place for him.

It is a legacy. My brothers, parents, grandparents and other family members attended Graceland. Hearing all the stories growing up impressed me so deeply, I didn’t even apply to any other colleges.”

Earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management and minor in communications, Richards uses the knowledge he gained in his business courses – specifically operations management and organizational behavior – to successfully lead his team as quality assurance manager for States Logistics. He and his team deploy continuous improvement projects throughout their operations in Southern California and Phoenix, working to improve processes, cut out waste and create a more efficient operation empowering employees to help problem solve alongside their team.”

From his time on “the Hill,” Richards says he hit the lottery when he met his wife, Leigh. He also gained a lot of experience on his residence hall, especially taking advantage of leadership opportunities. In fact, his advice to current students is to get involved in their residence hall. Richards belonged to Closson House – the same house both his brothers were in – and shares that the house system played the largest role in his “education” at Graceland. He served as intramural representative his sophomore year, house president his junior year and Graceland Student Government (GSG) Community Outreach Coordinator his senior year, which Richards describes as irreplaceable experience leading, working with all walks of life, managing a budget, understanding how to handle stress and responsibility, conducting business with community leaders and many other skills.

The connections Richards continues to make through Graceland have made a profound impact on his life both personally and professionally – they are invaluable. He stays in touch almost daily with friends he and his wife made at Graceland. Close friend Daniel Harmon meets Richards nearly daily for their early morning runs. Harmon and his wife made a move to California and linked up with Richards through their Community of Christ congregation where Harmon pastors and Aaron and Leigh remain very involved and engage in humanitarian causes.

Richards is a product of the history of Graceland. He hopes to see his son and any future children follow in the footsteps of the family legacy someday. This little family loves the Southern California weather and where they live. Their desire is many more years of hiking, running, camping and going to the beach together. And professionally, Richards is excited to see where the logistics/supply chain field takes him.


Brittany St. Louis ʼ11

Health communications graduate Brittany St. Louis ʼ11 is the operations manager for a health care facility in Colorado, where she runs the daily operations of the practice. She knew she always wanted to work in management in a health care setting and her bachelor’s degree from Graceland University helped set her on the right course to reach her dream.

“I love having a client-facing job. Interacting with different people on a daily basis makes my job much more interesting. I’ve seen patients grow up right before my eyes, and it’s great to know I am helping them.”

A soccer scholarship for the women’s varsity team brought St. Louis to Graceland. Even though she didn’t know a soul, the intimate size of the Lamoni campus gave her an immediate sense of a family environment. It helped her make the choice between several college offers. The family feeling was extended as her professors were understanding when she had to miss classes for soccer games all over the Midwest.

With an interest in psychology, St. Louis took a biopsychology class, and she was hooked. She says learning about how the brain and nervous system influence behavior taught her to be more sensitive toward others – an imperative skill in the success of her career.

It is very important in my career to understand why people do what they do. To have been educated in this area has prepared me and given me the confidence to be successful.”

Life balance is another significant tool St. Louis learned at Graceland. Time management – balancing a job, family, friends, etc. – was difficult with her tight schedule of classes and athletics. At Graceland, lessons are learned in the classroom, on the field, in the residence halls and as a student-worker. Managing the stress of pinch points when projects or presentations were due, along with game schedules, helped to prepare her for the challenges in her career.

St. Louis hopes current students realize that a successful college career requires hard work, dedication and sacrifice, which translates to a successful career outside of college. She advises, “develop good habits early, and the results will be a great payoff. And get involved! You will meet new friends, gain new perspectives and be open to learning new things.”

Brittany remains close to her two college roommates; having been bridesmaids in both of their weddings and they in hers. She and her husband, Mike Davis `10, have mutual friends from their days at Graceland and keep in constant contact. A highlight is an annual ski trip to the mountains of Colorado with a group of alumni friends.

“Because Graceland is so diverse, it is important to make connections in every class, because you never know where you might end up living. Graceland graduates are spread all over.”

In 10 years, St. Louis’ goal is to be in a high position of management for a large-scale hospital. She knows this goal is in reach because of the preparation Graceland provided her. She was able to intern in the summer, which gave her insight to the behind-the-scenes operations in a business that most do not have access to. Armed with her degree and experience, Brittany has scored success with the resources she needs to help people and to create positive change in the health community.


Clay Hines '09

Clay Hines ʼ09 work can put people to sleep – don’t worry, it’s a part of his job.

Hines is an anesthesiologist in Texas. He graduated from Graceland in 2009 with a double major in biology and chemistry, and recalls the hard work he put into achieving his accomplishments.

“The path to getting into med school and being a physician has been anything but straight and easy for me,” Hines says. Also a member of the Graceland football team while studying organic chemistry and microbiology, Hines felt his studies take a toll and considered giving up the sport. However, it was with the help of his coaches and professors that he was able to take time to focus on his classes. “It should not matter how difficult a goal is if it is important to you,” he advises.

When asked about what he remembers most about Graceland, Hines has a simple answer: the relationships. Professors and coaches were not the only people at Graceland who Hines remembers fondly. Graceland is a close-knit community with many family and generational connections – Hines is no different. He had many members of his family and friends already on campus when he arrived – but he also made longstanding friendships outside of those bonds.

“That circle of close friends grew quicker and has lasted longer than I could have imagined,” Hines says. He has attended several alumni weddings and even his own wedding to his wife, Makayla, in 2016 hosted many Graceland friends.

Besides building relationships, Graceland also gave Hines the initiative to join in its student activities.

I never considered myself very outgoing, but everything about Graceland invites you to grow as a human being.”

Because of the welcoming environment, he joined several clubs, including SIFE. Now known as ENACTUS, the entrepreneurial organization allowed him to see many parts of the world, including Thailand, Peru and Paris. The opportunity gave him a chance to impact others’ lives, which, in turn, affected his own.

Now, Hines has the chance to help others every day through his career. After graduating from Graceland, he attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston from 2009-13. From there, he went on to his residency at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center from 2013-17. He finished his anesthesiology residency in June and is currently working with a group of anesthesiologists in Beaumont, Texas. Hines says he enjoys the practice because he can provide anesthetic care to patients in a variety of ways; from delivering anesthetic to those in open-heart surgery to administering obstetric anesthesia to expectant mothers, he has many opportunities to use his skill.

In the future, Hines plans to have many adventures with his wife and their daughter, Aubrey. He also looks forward to being able to give back to Graceland. Because of those who donate to Graceland, he was able to have the experiences he did and wants to make sure others have the chance to share in what Graceland has to offer as well.


Alex Cash ʼ12

It is a common process for students to be unclear on the path they wish to follow at the time they begin their college career, and that was definitely the case for Alex Cash ʼ12

Cash, who graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Information Technology, began his Graceland experience as a music education major.

I think it’s pretty normal to not be 100 percent sure what you want to do when you get to college and Graceland allowed me to experiment and make sure I was getting the degree I wanted.”

Cash, a software engineer in Silicon Valley, has used his Graceland education at Nest, a Google subsidiary, and now at Apple, two of the largest and most famous technology companies in the world. He writes software that ships on hundreds of millions of phones and tablets every year, and he gets to work on products that, in his view, truly change the world.

Perhaps surprisingly, it is a U.S. Foreign Relations class that stands out among his favorites at Graceland. The class covered the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and almost immediately, Cash knew it was a mistake.

Having spent the last couple years in mostly all computer science courses, he was not comfortable taking notes and didn’t have the confidence to write a paper. “I was in the deep end!” he recalls. But the subject matter was fascinating to him, so he asked for help. He found a study group of history majors willing to take him in, and the professor met with him several times.

“It wasn’t my best of grades,” Cash recalls, “but I passed!” He says he enjoyed the experience and believes it taught him a lesson he still uses every day in his professional life: humility. “It’s a strength to be able to ask for help.”

Other important lessons came to Cash through Graceland’s “house” system. He was a member of Agape House, and he felt like his competitive personality fit right in. “I always aspire for the best in anything I do, and I’m happiest when I’m on a team with people of a similar mindset. Even outside of scored events like IMs or air band, we would look at everything we did and say ‘How can we turn this up?’ We wanted to be loud, proud and over the top. I loved it.”

Cash made many friends in Agape, and the connections were strong. However, he feels he learned an even more important lesson through his connection to his house: how to respect, cooperate with and appreciate those with whom you aren’t that close. He says, “the house system is very much like a family in that way. You don’t choose your family; and that can be a good thing. Everyone comes out the other end a better person for it – both the harmony and the friction.”

Cash would tell current Graceland students that their time at Graceland is what they make it. “If you put in more effort, you’ll get more out. If you want to learn about something the curriculum isn’t directly covering, you can engage directly with the faculty to study it both inside the classroom and out.”

In the end, Cash went into software instead of music education, he says, because “there was an end product that I could point at – something people could use.” He believes he’ll still be in the business for several years, “building things that others can use and enjoy.”


Andi Chatburn '06

While she was at Graceland Andrea “Andi” Barber ’06 Chatburn discovered that her understanding of death and dying was different than most. In Bob Mesle’s class Suffering and Meaning, discussions around death revealed her difference. As a girl, Chatburn lost six great-grandparents within a few years. She experienced the care and love given to her great-grandparents, and, because of the inclusion in these intimate beautiful deaths, she understood death as a natural part of life.

In Mesle’s class, she realized that most of her classmates had not been around very many people who were dying and that she was uniquely prepared for an emerging field in medicine; one that would merge her biology, theology and ethics classes. The same year that Chatburn was entering medical school (2006), Hospice and Palliative Medicine became an official board-certified medical specialty.

The Suffering and Meaning class at Graceland resonated with the reality that all life involves suffering and that our purpose in life and in relationships is to create meaning out of suffering. Not that I’m thankful for suffering, but the class gave me a safe place to explore and a chance to create meaning and new understandings.

Another class at Graceland, Medical Ethics, helped to make the connections for her to go into the field. Her strong foundation and support from faculty was encouraging, even when she received criticism and judgment from some for going into an odd sector of medicine. Dying was a subject that the medical field and much of society would rather hush than delve into and recognize as a natural and even beautiful part of life.

Dr. Chatburn is a Regional Medical Director for Ethics at Providence St. Joseph Health. It is the third largest nonprofit health care organization in the country with 50 hospitals from Anchorage to West Texas. There are six professional ethicists in the theology and ethics department, and she is the regional ethicist covering nine hospitals across eastern Washington and western Montana. This position and field of medicine didn’t exist while Chatburn was studying what she loved at Graceland. During medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (2010 Honor Graduate), she also got a master’s degree in bioethics, knowing she would need the ethics education for best practices in palliative care. Her instinct was right, even though she didn’t realize that the two would become a paired specialty.

“If I had been an undergrad biology major at any other school than Graceland, I probably wouldn’t have taken philosophy or religion classes,” commented Chatburn, “but they were something I was deeply interested in, and they absolutely fit with my career.”

The Graceland community gave her the grounding she needed to explore and discover her unique contribution. Chatburn discovered her strong voice in a place where she could be her most authentic self. “At Graceland, I received a sense of belonging and being a part of something bigger than myself. When we moved to Spokane, we connected with some Graceland alumni that we didn’t know previously, who are now some of our best friends. We had a common understanding of what it felt like to be a part of the Graceland community, and, as an ethicist, relationships are everything.”

Andi and John Chatburn ’03 live in Spokane, Washington, with their Bernese mountain dog, Fairbanks.

Chelsea Tobin '11

Who is changing the world?

Field Manager Chelsea Tobin ʼ11 and activist in the Denver area, shares her story.

  • What are you doing now? 
    I’m working for The Blue Bench in Denver, Colorado. It is the Denver-metro rape crisis center and serves the nine surrounding counties from downtown Denver. It is the only fully comprehensive prevention and care center for those counties and is a licensed nonprofit for the state. I am a field manager for the organization, which means I train activists on communication, programming, common responses, etc. We do door-to-door outreach in the communities the organization serves. The goal with the outreach is a combination of fundraising for the organization’s programs, connecting survivors and their families with services, and to shift a culture and society that blames victims and perpetuates the problem of rape and sexual violence in this country. It is the only organization in the U.S. that does outreach like ours, and I’ve had a great time working with them the past few years.
  • Is it related to your degree? 
    I completed two degrees while at Graceland — English and studio art. I am a professional communicator and activist, and my English degree 100 percent aids in that. Empathy, meeting people where they’re at, compassion, being able to make connections, communicating well with various people from a wide array of backgrounds; all of these skills relate back to my English major. As far as art, I’ve had a lot of opportunities in Denver to explore and share both my love for the visual arts as well as the music scene. I’ve focused mostly on my activism the past few years but will be working more on art this coming year and hopefully will be in a few shows, creating zines and chapbooks.

It makes life exciting that there will always, always be something new to learn about the people around us and the world in which we live. That curiosity is what gets me up every morning.”

  • What are a few top takeaways from your time at Graceland?
    The importance of community and to always be a student. This is an age of growth and technology, of constant expansion with information and accessibility. I’m a big fan of being a lifelong learner, of always having the humility to learn something new, and to change based on new information and discovery. It makes life exciting that there will always, always be something new to learn about the people around us and the world in which we live. That curiosity and the scope of the “gray” (rather than perceiving everything as black or white) in the world is what gets me up every morning, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  • Your favorite class and why?
    It’s a hard tie between Cultural Studies with Brian White, Suffering and Meaning with Bob Mesle and The Structure of English with Jerry DeNuccio. I always tell folks it was just as hard to leave my professors when I graduated as it was to leave my friends. Cultural Studies and Suffering and Meaning shifted my ideology in significant and life-altering ways, and the Structure of English (which is about, perhaps, potentially the driest topic: grammar) was so much fun because DeNuccio was such an excellent teacher and exemplified something I admire greatly in others: the capacity for delight in the seemingly mundane or boring.
  • Are you still in contact with other Graceland alumni?
    Of course! [Graceland] alumni are everywhere! I have friends in Denver from Graceland, and just the other day I randomly ran into two alumni in the same week while out around the downtown area. I love my Graceland family!

Jeremy Graybill ’98

Graceland’s strong liberal arts education helped prepare Jeremy Graybill for success.

Jeremy Graybill ’98 revealed that he wasn’t really the best student when he came to Graceland. He had some areas that needed improvement and said he was thankful for the “patience and guidance” of Professor Emeritus Dr. Ron Smith, who taught several of his math classes. It was the Graceland community, the men’s volleyball team, the guys on the hall and his family who helped to form the leader that Graybill has become today.

In order to spend time with his younger sister and to help her learn the ropes at Graceland, Graybill took a year off and waited to enter his senior year so they could share time together on “the Hill.” There were several Graybills at Graceland during his time there, including his brother, sister and adopted siblings. Relationships and family still keep this successful Graceland graduate grounded and balanced.

Graybill graduated from Graceland with degrees in mathematics, computer science, computer engineering and a minor in physics, all of which are directly related to his current career. “We are using a number of advanced techniques in the areas of deep learning, machine learning, statistical analytics, big data, mathematical modeling and other emerging fields to provide value to the business in a number of different ways.”

Our data scientists and data engineers are working on a number of exciting and challenging problems in order for us to produce oil and gas resources safer, faster and more efficiently.”

“I am leading the data science and data engineering efforts for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in The Woodlands, Texas,” explained Graybill. “Our data scientists and engineers are working on a number of exciting and challenging problems in order for us to produce oil and gas resources safer, faster and more efficiently.”

Graybill shares that, when he was at Graceland, he didn’t really see where his career would lead, but that learning how to be flexible and to think critically was what has really allowed him to stay in front of this instantaneously changing field. Graceland’s strong liberal arts education, where critical thinking is paramount, really helped prepare Graybill for a field with constant change.

“When I started my career,” explained Graybill, “knowledge was very important in my field. However, knowledge has become much more of a commodity in this field over time, given the increases with how computers can store, retrieve and process information. While some knowledge is still fundamental, it’s the critical thinking and the ability to process and apply knowledge to other areas and domains that has become more vital to success.”

Graybill lives in Spring, Texas, with his wife, Mendi, and their three young boys, Christian, Caden and Chase.

Moriah Jones ’13

“I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher until I took my Advanced Placement (AP) history classes in high school.” Moriah Jones ʼ13 recognized the powerful impact teachers can have on students and decided her best approach in life would be to follow their example.

“Nursing and social work were too heavy on my heart, so teaching felt like the right fit for me.”

Jones knew she could make a positive impact on her students’ lives because she was fortunate to have dedicated teachers who were great examples; who mentored, lead, supported and affirmed her.

Gleazer School of Education Professor Michele Dickey-Kotz remembers Jones as a bright student and relayed, “I enjoy working with students who have a sense of direction in their lives and who take responsibility for making things happen. Moriah is a woman of many talents who has decided the best way she can make a difference in this crazy, mixed-up world is to teach. Her drive to succeed is superseded only by her desire to promote positive change in a world that cries out for rebuilding/restructuring. I am proud to call her my colleague.”

When Jones was at Graceland, she gravitated to history because she enjoyed the research. “I feel like no matter how much I study or how much I know something about an event or person in history, there is so much more I can find out. It’s the hunt to always learn more that makes me enjoy the subject the most.”

The best thing I like about my job is really getting to know the students. I form a bond with high school students because I can relate with their struggles – trying to figure out what to do with their lives, trying to balance and figure out where they’re going to college, or even if they want to go to college. I also like to see them grow and gain experience. I didn’t realize how much I would get attached to them!”

This year, Moriah accepted a more challenging teaching schedule with AP history classes and had to take a break from another one of her favorite jobs: coaching volleyball. She was still able to give private lessons but plans to continue her coaching role next fall as a coach for sixth- and seventh-grade volleyball teams.

Jones was involved with athletics while at Graceland and, at first, was worried that Lamoni might not have many people from places outside of Iowa. “I met so many awesome people from all over the world and formed a family on our team. Graceland volleyball was all year round basically, and we bonded from that teamwork.”

After she graduated from Graceland, Jones taught two years at Center School District in Kansas City with the placement help of Dickey-Kotz. She jumped at the opportunity to move to Texas and teach 10th-grade AP World History at IDEA San Benito in Brownsville, Texas. IDEA was recently named America’s Best Charter School Network.

Jones has found her niche and plans to stay in teaching. “I would like to be the course leader – the teacher in charge of all the other teachers in the region – for AP world history. The pedagogical side of education is really like coaching; something I really like to do.”

Kevin '08 and Lora '07 Potter

Kevin ’08 and Lora Toncheva ’07 Potter are a duo that makes Graceland proud.

With successful careers, two young boys (and another one on the way) and their sights on improving the world, this couple is making a difference.

Kevin, from Missouri, and Lora, from Bulgaria, met at Graceland — in the middle of everywhere. After graduating, Kevin worked at DuPont Pioneer, where he developed a passion for research. He went to Iowa State University for graduate school and graduated with a PhD in molecular, cellular and developmental biology in 2015. Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Fellow funded by the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Initiative, where his research focuses on understanding how a plant hormone called cytokinin regulates diverse aspects of plant growth and development in rice. After Graceland, Lora earned an MBA from the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business in 2014 while working full time at DuPont Pioneer. She now works as a project analyst in the Regulatory and Stewardship department at Pioneer, ensuring that the work necessary for getting new products approved in different geographies around the world is completed on time.

The knowledge gained from my research may be used to improve rice yields that are needed to combat hunger and keep up with the future food supply and demand.”
– KEVIN POTTER

Both Kevin and Lora — coming from different places and studying completely different fields, biology and business — feel Graceland provided a solid undergraduate experience that prepared them for the next steps in their careers.

“My education prepared me well by pushing me to develop problem-solving skills, teaching me how to work well with people from different backgrounds and cultures, and how to be flexible and adjust easily to whatever each day brings,” explained Lora.

Kevin felt that the housing system gave him brothers to lean on. He was in Agape House and remarks, “AGAPE! I learned that putting a bunch of college boys together on a hall leads to a lot of craziness! Kidding aside, I think that by having a close community of friends to provide guidance and support definitely allowed me to perform well in my classes.”

The Potters, who currently live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, plan to follow Kevin’s research. Lora isn’t sure where that will take them, but she is prepared and flexible; ready and excited for new challenges and opportunities. Kevin explains, “My hope is to obtain a professorship at a major research university and manage my own research program. I hope to have a well-funded laboratory that enables my trainees to answer broad questions related to plant biology. Also, I hope to have a house with two refrigerators to feed my three (the third is due in April) growing boys…”

Tara Grubbs ’05

At the end of the game, with just a few minutes left on the clock, Tara (Eskridge) Grubbs ʼ05 ran across the field to attend to the opposing team’s player who was down.

When Christian Lerma collapsed, Grubbs instinctively thought it was a concussion, a common reaction from a hit during a soccer game, but the players surrounding him claimed he hadn’t been hit.

Grubbs helping fallen athlete. Photo courtesy of Albert Peña“When I got to him, he wasn’t responding to me or his coach and then he started having trouble breathing,” explained Grubbs. “The coach was already on the phone with EMS when I remembered that labored breathing can be a sign of cardiac arrest and immediately yelled – someone bring me the AED*! It felt like I had tunnel vision around me and was solely focused on the athlete in front of me. There were two doctors and a nurse in the stands that all rushed down to the field to help after they heard me yell. I knew his life was on the line. I just never thought I would see that.”

Grubbs is the head athletic trainer at J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas, and has become a local celebrity after a soccer game in February when she saved a young man’s life. She was prepared and ready in the moment of emergency. “I’m thankful for my coursework in athletic training from Graceland!”

Late in her Graceland career, Grubbs found what she wanted to do. As a freshman, she thought she wanted to be a veterinarian, so she started out as a pre-med major. But after helping out in her aunt’s vet practice, she knew she might want to consider another path. “I was at her clinic helping take a grass seed out of a dog’s paw. I remember the smell of ammonia being really strong, and next thing I knew I had fainted and was on the ground,” laughed Grubbs. “I loved animals so much, and I didn’t think I would be able to put animals down.”

She loved playing volleyball and thought she wanted to coach, so she switched to biology and secondary education, but that wasn’t quite right either. Then, in the second half of her junior year, after speaking with GU athletic trainer John Bartholomew, Grubbs found a career that combined both her love for medicine and her love for sports. Grubbs stayed an extra year to complete a rigorous degree in athletic training (AT), which required over 1,000 hours clinical practice in numerous sporting events focused on the different extremities or parts of the body where injury might occur.

I love that I found something I can do that included my love for sports and love for the medical field. I get to help students on a daily basis and form lasting relationships with them and see them grow into adults. AT has some grueling hours, early mornings and late evenings, but I love what I do.”

The Graceland experience allowed Grubbs to find her way and prepared her for a career in which she became the right person at the right time, and with the right skills to save a life. “I’m very thankful for my time at Graceland. It’s something I’ll never forget. Some of my best friendships to this day, are friendships that were formed during my time there.”

*An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses the life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia, and is able to treat them through defibrillation, the application of electricity which stops the arrhythmia.

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