BKW salutatorian hopes to offer the help they once wanted

HILLTOWNS — Katie Joslin says that when they were young and in search of help, mental health professionals were difficult to find. Now, as salutatorian of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo class of 2024, Joslin is on their way to Binghamton as a psychology major with expectations of becoming a clinical psychologist so they can fill the role that was lacking for them early on. 

“When I was younger, I struggled a lot, like being on my own and whatnot, and lacked support in regards to counseling and things like that, because I had tried getting help but nothing ever worked out,” they said. “As I grew older, I recognized that gap and wanted to become the support that I knew I needed as a kid so that other kids don’t go through what I went through.”

Becoming a psychologist means getting a doctorate, which is four to seven years of schooling on top of an undergraduate degree. Even though it’s possible to offer mental health counseling with a master’s degree, Joslin says that extra training is worth it to be “best situated to help people.” 

“It’s almost like the difference between a nurse and a doctor,” they said, explaining that, while nurses and social workers are “amazing,” the doctors in each field have a knowledge base that can’t be beat. 

Joslin said they are interested in working with teenagers “because it’s the formative years of your life” where personality and identity begin to solidify. 

“If you can help kids at that stage, you’re really setting a good foundation for the rest of their lives,” they said. 

In addition to psychology, Joslin will likely be minoring in tech design, having greatly enjoyed their time working crew on musicals at BKW, particularly on the sound boards.

“I did a lot more than a typical person would do because we didn’t have a lot of people, but I cued music and ran the soundboard, which is, like, 20 mics,” they said. “It’s a whole slew of things that take a lot of concentration.”

“I definitely want to do more of that in college,” they said, adding that it obviously won’t turn into a career, but that they may “volunteer for community theaters and stuff, helping them with things like that.” 

Joslin also said they’re excited to explore other areas in college, having lots of free slots since much of their general-education requirements have been fulfilled by college level Advanced Placement classes taken at BKW.

“I adore Greek mythology so I really want to do that,” they said. “I want to do more musical theater stuff. I’m really looking forward to all the club opportunities and classes, and really exploring myself educationally.”


More Hilltowns News

  • Berne-Knox-Westerlo kicked off the 2024-25 administrative school year at its reorganizational meeting on July 1, where the board of education elected Matthew Tedeschi as its president, and heard from the new superintendent, Bonnie Kane, on the district’s new block-scheduling format.

  • In a 3-to-2 vote, the Westerlo Town Board got rid of the town’s planning board — which Supervisor Matt Kryzak has described as “rogue” — despite opposition from residents and the Albany County Planning Board.

  • Pop culture and family phrases took center stage at the Berne-Knox-Westerlo graduation this year, as speakers quoted family, the comedian Kevin Hart, and the song “Respect” in their parting messages to the graduates. 

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