When Kaitlin “Katy” Unger of Greenfield graduates from Morehead State University, she will share that proud milestone with more than 1,200 degree-earning peers.
Impressively, she will have earned her Bachelor of Science degree within four years. When you note that it was a double major that she completed in that length of time (agri-business and mathematics), then she further stands out for doing something that only around 1.1 percent of her cohorts will have done. Even so, Unger’s achievement has yet another aspect that makes it even more remarkable.
She has Attention Deficit Disorder and Developmental Dyslexia. Sustaining focus on complex material and reading with accuracy and speed are central to succeeding in college, so it is understandable that she struggled with the reading and language arts components of many of her courses. Her strategy was to make liberal use of the tutoring services that are available to every student, to use her academic accommodations when needed, and to rely on her long-established self-discipline toward putting in the necessary study time.
Unger credits her parents for helping her to build those positive habits early on, both through encouragement and by letting her participate in sports as a reward. Her seriousness toward coursework and a 3.27 cumulative GPA notwithstanding, she still found her way to a well-rounded college experience. Her extracurricular activities included intramural volleyball, softball, and ultimate Frisbee, the Baptist Campus Ministry, serving as the president of both the Sigma Alpha Professional Sorority and the Agriculture Ambassadors Team, and student employment at the campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
Having grown up on a family farm, she missed the connection to agriculture if she stayed away too long, so she also made time to participate in the collegiate chapter of Future Farmers of America.
Unger’s preparation has prepared her to be successful in her chosen career path. She has already accepted a position with the Ohio Department of Agriculture that coincides with her final semester.
She reports that every decision she made along the way was focused on not holding herself back for any reason.
Asked for her advice to undergraduates, especially those with learning-based disabilities who might be struggling and discouraged, she replied, “Your limits are what you set for yourself.”
Learn more about the services MSU offers for students with disabilities by contacting Evangeline Day, Disability Services coordinator, at 606-783-5188 or visit www.moreheadstate.edu/disability.
Jason Blanton is the media relations director at Morehead State University.