Wartburg helped me grow as a person, professional

NAME: Abby DeBaillie  
CLASS YEAR: 2020
HOMETOWN: Orion, Illinois 
MAJOR: Chemistry and secondary education

ON-CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT:  I was a General Chemistry (CH 113/114) Supplemental Instructor for two years. I have been a member of the Wartburg Track and Field team for four years. I have participated in a Wartburg Service Trip and also led a service trip and am part of Catholic Knights here on campus.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I actually transferred into Wartburg after my freshman year at the University of Missouri. I happened to be searching for Division III schools online and came upon Wartburg by chance. I visited during spring break that year and decided to make the change.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJORS: I came into Wartburg as an “Exploring Major,” which means that I was undecided. After taking an introductory education class, I decided that teaching was what I wanted to do. I loved chemistry and it had always been something that interested me. I put the two together and declared my major in chemistry and secondary education.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: After graduation in May, I am hoping to have a teaching job in place. I am currently looking to teach internationally for my first year and am still in the process of determining a location. Science teachers are in high demand,  which is very encouraging for my career outlook right after school.  

Abigail DeBaillie

HOW HAS YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR THE NEXT STEP: My experience at Wartburg has been amazing in so many ways. I have met some of my best friends here and made so many connections with professors, administrators, coaches, and students who have shaped me as an individual. I never would have thought that attending Wartburg would truly make me different that other grads, but I thinkit has. The classes that I have taken have given me knowledge in a variety of disciplines and prepared me to be an educated member of society as well as a person with integrity and self-confidence.

WHAT EXPERIENCES HAVE YOU HAD IN K-12 CLASSROOMS: I have been in classrooms ranging from grades 5-12 which has opened my eyes to student development, the education system, and how I want to impact students in the future. I completed most of my field experiences in rural districts around Wartburg where I saw classrooms and students similar to where I grew up. I am finishing up my student teaching right now and am at Bunger Middle School in Waterloo. My time there has truly refined my teaching in ways that I didn’t even know existed. I have learned about student culture, teacher cooperation, and common goals that you have to keep in mind every day. Some days are better than others, but I remember leaving the classroom after my second or third day of student teaching and almost tearing up because I knew that I had chosen the right career.  

HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING A STUDENT AND AN ATHLETE: Being a student-athlete has helped me manage my studies, work, and leisure time very efficiently. My track coaches have always emphasized that we are student-athletes, and our academics always come first. Communicating with my coaches and knowing that I have flexibility to get my workouts in is very comforting. Going to practice is one of my favorite times of the day. I get to see my teammates, let go of some of the stresses of school, and get better at the sport I love.  

HOW HAW PARTICIPATING ON AN ATHLETIC TEAM ENHANCED YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: I met my best friends through my team and have made those lifelong connections that will continue after we leave Wartburg. They are the people that I have gone through the ups and downs with and always made me feel like I was a valuable person to our team. Athletics has given me another opportunity to represent Wartburg and to be proud of the school I attend. Important life skills and lessons that I have learned like persistence and being mentally tough have carried over into every area of my life.  

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: My most memorable Wartburg experience would definitely be both of the service trips to Madison, Wis., that I was a part of and winning titles with my track and field family. It is always the people who I met and did those things with who made those experiences special. The relationships that I have made here at Wartburg are the biggest treasure that I will take away.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I don’t think that I would have ever imagined being able to travel to Barbados. I had the opportunity to go to Barbados with Wartburg Track and Field in December 2017. It was a blast and I got the experience of studying abroad and competing all in one week!

WHY HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WORTH IT: My experience as a Wartburg Knight has been worth it because after my four years here, I can say that I have grown as a person, a professional, and become an educated member of society. Wartburg has prepared me to pursue my career goals and helped me identify my talents that I can share and use to help future generations. I have truly grown into the person that I wanted to be someday, and I can’t thank Wartburg enough for that.