Hi! My name is Kelsey Galicia, and I graduated with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies in Spring 2016 as a James Scholar, Senior 100 Honorary student, and Bronze Tablet Awardee. I have since been working at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute as a full-time Rehabilitation Aide, and I am applying for occupational therapy graduate school. When I’m not working, studying, or building my applications, I am usually painting, swimming at the beach, trying new restaurants with my friends, or playing with my cat, Sara.
The ACES James Scholar Program has been an integral part of my success at the University of Illinois. Not only did it support my ambition to earn a high GPA, but it also pushed me to step out of my comfort zone as a quiet, passive student. The James Scholar Program allowed me to work closely with my professors and other experts in the field to personalize and enhance my education, and it gave me the opportunity to actively develop my research interests and chosen career path. For example, I completed some of my early honors credit hours in HDFS 294 with Dr. Jen Hardesty in The Make It! Lab, where I worked with data on female domestic violence victims’ divorce processes. This work sparked my passion for domestic violence and led me to a selective internship with the domestic violence agency Between Friends Chicago. From there, I have been working to pursue a career as a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) for domestic violence survivors.
To any current or future University of Illinois students debating whether or not they should be a part of the ACES James Scholar Program, I strongly encourage and even urge you to join. Step up. Accept the challenge. Take advantage of our university’s research reputation. And above all, make the most of your time and talent as a brilliant student. I promise that as difficult and rigorous as James Scholar Program can be, it is even more rewarding and influential than any words can express. Best of luck always, and go Illini!