Can you please introduce yourself and share a bit about your background and the major you’re pursuing?
My name is Kaitlyn Byrd. I’m from Malvern, and I’m a junior vocal music education major.
Are you a first-generation college student?
Yes, I’m the first in my family to attend college.
What inspired you to choose your current major?
I came to Henderson without declaring a major, but I had so many credits from AP courses in high school that it was difficult to find classes for me to take. I had been in choir since middle school and was in choir my first semester at Henderson and just wanted to learn more about how music functioned. I decided to get a music minor to fill my second semester with classes. I ended up loving all my music classes and understood what was going on, so I decided to major in music education.
Why did you choose Henderson to pursue your degree?
I chose to attend Henderson because I had been on the campus so many times with various school trips and loved it. I received enough financial aid that covers the cost of everything, and it's close to my home.
What has been your favorite class so far, and why?
My favorite class so far has been piano. When I started my first semester of piano, I didn’t know anything, and I’ve loved being able to look back and see how much I’ve learned. I’m currently in my fourth semester of piano classes and this class has been so important and helpful for the rest of my music classes. While piano has been very challenging, it’s also been very rewarding.
Are there any professors who have had a significant impact on your college experience?
The entire music department faculty has been amazing. A few professors who have really made an impact on my time here at Henderson have been Dr. Bill Higgins, Dr. Jonathon Barranco, and Dr. May Tsao-Lim. These professors have all been so instrumental in helping me grow as a musician and future educator.
Are you involved in any clubs, organizations, or extracurricular activities on campus?
I stay very involved on campus. I'm currently serving my second term as Chapter President of Alpha Sigma Tau, I’m the treasurer for Tau Beta Sigma, a member of the Showband of Arkansas, choir, choir council, and Heart and Key.
Please share something intriguing about yourself that many people don’t know.
I'm a lifetime Girl Scout and have earned the Girl Scout Gold Award. This award is earned by only about 5 percent of eligible girls and is equivalent to an Eagle Scout. My Gold Award project was building and installing the food pantry here in Arkadelphia by Feaster Trail.
What advice would you give to incoming students to make the most of their experience at Henderson State?
Get involved on campus. Coming to college can be an overwhelming experience, but I think getting involved in an organization, whether that's an ensemble, Greek Life, a religious group, or something else, makes adjusting to college life so much easier.
Is there anything you wish you had known when you first started college?
I wish I was more prepared for how much responsibility I suddenly have. You have to get yourself up for classes, make sure you're eating, do your laundry, and get assignments submitted and study for tests. There's not someone there to wake you up or make sure you get homework done before hanging out with friends.
What are your career aspirations or plans after graduation?
I plan on teaching music at a nearby school and eventually getting a master's degree.