Graduation year: 2017
Majors: Art and psychology
Minor: Women’s and gender studies
Activities: Sigma Pi Delta sorority, Student Government Association
Internships: Department of Corrections internship, Scott County Jail clinical experience
Post-grad plans: I’ve decided to take the summer and look for something that fits me. I’ve been applying for jobs in the criminal justice field. I want to spend two or three years being a residential officer or a probation officer and then go back to school. My end goal is to do mental health counseling with those who are in the system and to set up art therapy programs for them.
Augustana was the only school I visited. I was accepted to other schools and had plans to look at them, but I felt like I was at home when I stepped on Augustana’s campus. That feeling never went away.
Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
I’m way further than I thought I would be. I wasn’t sure how college would go for me; I had a lot of anxiety and feared I wouldn’t be successful. Four years later, I feel prepared to enter the “real” world and help those around me. I wanted to do art therapy for children when I started at Augie; now I want to do art therapy for those who are in the criminal justice system. Things shift, and that’s a good thing.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
My family. They are so supportive and are always there when I need them most. They cheered me on, but also reminded me to stay humble.
A peak experience?
I’ve found that each year brought new surprises and experiences. It is hard to pinpoint a peak for me. I’ve grown in a lot of different ways, and I’m thankful for that.
What surprised you?
I’ve learned a lot about myself within the past four years. I never thought that I would want to work in the criminal justice field. I’ve really pushed myself to find my passions. I have always loved being around people, and I have finally been able to channel that into a career. I found that I can connect with a variety of people on a lot of different levels. That is something I want to continue to work on. Being a woman of color, combined with all that I’ve experienced at Augustana and in my life in general, has given me a really amazing outlook on life and has influenced me in all aspects. I didn’t realize how much that intersectionality influenced me and how I live and work until just recently.
How did you use your Augie Choice?
I went to Guatemala over spring break my junior year with the psych department. There I visited a variety of schools and communities, gaining cultural competence, understanding what it means to be empathetic. I also traveled to India with the women’s and gender studies department. There we learned about grassroots activism and feminism.
What will you miss the most?
I always think about how hard it will be to be out of an academic setting. The classrooms that I’ve been in at Augustana invite conversation and room to think, explore and grow. I’ll miss being able to learn in that kind of setting.
Advice for the Class of 2021?
Be uncomfortable! There are so many times I wish I would have been more vulnerable sooner, but I kept holding myself back. Whether it’s academically or socially, don’t be afraid to take a chance. Staying comfortable doesn’t get you anywhere.
“McKee exudes passion. In her time at Augustana, she has blossomed into a confident learner, artist and difference maker. She sought out multiple internships and study abroad opportunities, which have furthered her passion for serving marginalized populations and individuals in the criminal justice system. McKee models humility, zest and deep concern for social justice in all she does, while also gently pushing others around her to think deeply about their impact. I’m excited for all that she will do for our world!”