Outstanding Senior History Major and Class of 2012 Commencement Speaker: Katie Childs

May 3, 2012

By: Dr. John Williams

The History Department named Katie A. Childs the Outstanding Senior History Major this spring and Katie has also been chosen as the Class of 2012 Student Commencement Speaker. A native of Peoria, Katie has been an ideal history student. Thoughtful and articulate in class discussions, she is also a diligent and inquisitive researcher and a first-rate writer. She has two minors, Women’s Studies and Political Science, and has thrived in both. In addition to her academic achievements, Katie has shown great initiative in her extracurricular activities, which range from coaching young swimmers at the Mt Hawley Country Club and the YMCA to serving as president of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.

As president of the Bradley College Republicans, Katie has pursued her political interests in a thoughtful and bi-partisan way, leading her group in collaborations with the College Democrats and the Bradley Institute of Principled Leadership to encourage political involvement among Bradley¹s students. One of the highlights of her year was being interviewed by National Public Radio’s Don Gonyea during Mitt Romney’s March visit to campus. In summer 2011 Katie was awarded the Ray and Kathy LaHood Scholarship for the Study of American Government, which enabled her to intern for one month in House Speaker John Boehner’s office in Washington, D.C. In that capacity Katie got to attend hearings and write reports on them for Boehner’s staff, do research on issues and problems that were coming up before the legislature and lead Capital Building tours for visitors to D.C.

In April of this year, Katie applied successfully for an internship with the Illinois Legislative Studies program in Springfield. She will spend a year doing research for that program before starting graduate school in American history in fall 2013. Katie feels that because of her experiences at Bradley, she has grown both as a student and as an individual. The BU History program has helped her improve her analytical and writing skills and has challenged her to look beneath the surface in order to view events, ideas, and trends from a number of different angles. History, she believes, helps teach empathy with other people, regardless of their time and place, and warns us not to be stymied by perceived boundaries and differences between people. We wish Katie good luck and Godspeed!