Student Spotlight: Kyrsten Marie Athan

Photo Credit: Kyrsten Athan
by Brooke Adam March 20, 2019

Major(s): Philosophy and English (concentration in creative writing)

Minor(s): Psychology and Communication Studies

Hometown: Lincoln, NE

Why did you select your majors and minors?
I chose to declare my majors/minors because they align with my passions.  Multiple experiences, including conversations with my Explore Center advisor and the CAS career coaches, helped to convince me to declare in these areas of study.  Overall, it was taking classes for ACE requirements and exploring my interests that helped me to decide.

What are your favorite courses you have taken from your programs?
One of my favorite courses is Interpersonal Communication because the teacher (Jaclyn Marsh) did a great job of making the material interesting, helping us apply the concepts we were studying in class with activities, and providing a space to practice public speaking.  Another favorite course of mine is Introduction to Philosophy and Current issues, because the subject material was relevant to social problems.  Learning the ways in which philosophical discourse applied to civic engagement was enlightening, because in high school there weren't any classes offered that taught philosophy.

Who have been some of your strongest mentors or role models?
My Explore Center advisor, Megan Carroll, was one of the strongest mentors during my freshman and sophomore year at UNL.  She gave useful advice along with helping me to understand that it is okay not to know where your path ends to begin exploring.  There are also many instructors who have been inspirational along my path of studies.  Joseph Goecke is an example of a professor who has been a role model in the classroom.  His lectures were inspirational and when discussing each text, there were underlying metaphors to current issues.

Other inspiring teachers I've had include Jaclyn Marsh, Allison Bonander, Kelly Stage, Julia Schleck, Rebecca Harbison, and Jonis Agee.

Have you had an internship/job? 
I have had a couple part time jobs throughout my career as an undergraduate, including working in the kitchen at Raising Canes and at Panera Bread.  My jobs helped me with my communication skills, which aided in my decision to explore Communication Studies.  Now, apart from being a fulltime student, my only job is as an Explore Center Ambassador at UNL, which is a position I am proud to represent.

What are you involved in on campus?
On campus, I am involved as a College of Arts & Sciences Ambassador.  This program is full of inspiring students and faculty.  I am proud to have been able to volunteer for this activity. Giving presentations and sharing my experience about being undecided to declaring my dream majors is fulfilling work, and I am grateful to have been able to join this program.  

What are your plans after graduation? 
After graduation, I plan on writing and hope to publish either poetry, short stories, or a larger work in the future. I might take a year off of studying in order to work, but I'm tentatively planning on going to graduate school for creative writing.  Authors have inspired me ever since I was a child, and it has always been a dream of mine to be able to publish my writing someday.  I would also love to work at a college like UNL in the future, but my plans after graduation are multifaceted and I am waiting to see what opportunities are open when I graduate.  Regardless of what happens in the future, I am grateful to have been able to study at UNL.  My experiences at this university have changed my life for the better, and I will always look back with fondness at my time as an undergraduate.