University Community

OHIO senior and learning community leader encourages others to embrace opportunities

Audrey Brockwell remembered feeling lost and confused as a first-year student when she started at Ohio University.

That feeling, plus wanting to provide a better experience for current students, led to her becoming a Learning Community Leader last fall and continuing this fall.

“I feel like I’ve gone through a lot of experiences in college that are pretty common, from changing your major to changing your roommate situation. At the time, I personally didn’t have a great mentor,” Brockwell, who is now a senior Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) major in the College of Health Sciences and Professions, said. “I feel I am a good resource because of those changes. I just wanted to be more welcoming and hopefully help my students benefit and get more comfortable on campus.”

As a student leader for Learning Community Programs, which is housed under the Office of First-Year and Student Transitions within University College, Brockwell leads a small group of students enrolled in similar courses to help them adjust to college and life in Athens. Learning communities allow students to connect with other students in similar educational and major interests during a critical time of transition from high school to university.

Last year, Brockwell had a little under 20 students in her community while this year she has a little over 20. She plans events for her group every week, whether it’s a social event or study event. This semester, Brockwell even hosted a panel with some CSD faculty members so students had a chance to make early connections with professors.  

Being able to coordinate various events for her learning community showed Brockwell how helpful they really are for new students, she said.

“I was a different major my first year, so I didn’t really get that experience and I don’t really talk to people who were in my first-year learning community. The year I switched majors was when COVID hit, so it delayed me in making those connections,” Brockwell said. “Being able to make these connections early on and grow them is so beneficial to the students. It’s a good support system to have as a first-year.”

Brockwell changed her major after learning that OHIO had classes surrounding American Sign Language (ASL) in the CSD program. After taking ASL classes in high school, Brockwell wanted to continue learning more of the language.

After changing her major, Brockwell became active in the ASL Club on campus and got involved in an independent study course alongside a deaf faculty member.

She is also a part of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), a student organization directed towards OHIO’s CSD majors and minors to keep members informed of information regarding speech-language pathology and audiology.

“It’s really been a good learning experience and a welcoming environment that I wouldn’t have been involved in if I hadn’t changed my major,” Brockwell said. “[Getting involved] with the ASL community here is probably one of the best things to come out of changing my major.”

Brockwell is also involved with Creative Expressions, a student-run organization that works on arts and inclusion with children in Athens schools.

Outside of her student organizations and learning community involvement, Brockwell serves as a lab leader in the undergraduate anatomy physiology course taught by Dr. Andrew Krause, professor of anatomy in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. She assists with teaching and learning anatomy laboratory experiences for CSD students. Krause noted he offered the position to Brockwell because of her enthusiasm and concern for others.

“Audrey has a passionate desire in caring for others and a deep curiosity for people and their human condition,” Krause said. “She is a very grounded and well-rounded pre-professional student with a strong grasp of anatomical knowledge and how structures and systems function. She asks meaningful and thoughtful questions about clinical anatomy and its applications to patients with hearing, language and speech disorders.”

All of these experiences, from helping students through organizations, teaching in lab, or leading a learning community, reaffirmed her passion for being a mentor.

“I really like supporting a good learning environment and facilitating questions and conversations, and being a point person that way,” Brockwell said. 

Brockwell encourages other students to get involved as much as they can, whether it is a student organization that aligns with your major, hobbies, or social interests. She encourages students not to be afraid of trying something completely new, too.

“I’ve always valued hands-on and in-person experiences and once COVID hit, I really appreciated those a lot more. Relationships are a big part in college, whether with your professors or peers in your class, that can help you along the way,” Brockwell said. “It’s really important to venture out and get knowledge from other areas. Different experiences can help you on the way, and you can really learn a lot about yourself in college from diving into those different interests.”

Through all of these experiential learning activities, Brockwell has gained personal and professional skillsets that will help her in her next step of applying for graduate school. Learn more about experiences being offered at OHIO at

November 9, 2022
Jalyn Bolyard