Senior Shaelynn Cauthen grew up on a ranch in the small town of Ash Fork, about an hour west of Flagstaff. She spent her summers riding horses and herding cattle, sometimes running around barefoot with her siblings as they played with the water hose outside. She dreamed of becoming a cowgirl.
During the school year, Cauthen was incredibly involved—student council, sports, national honor society—and was excited to graduate high school and go to college. She visited NAU in high school and knew her destiny was to become a Lumberjack.
Taking advantage of the dual credits offered at her high school, Cauthen earned many college credits through Yavapai Community College before finishing high school, so once she graduated, she decided to finish her associate’s degree before transferring to NAU.
Feeling at home in the pines and the mountains but only being an hour away from home was perfect for Cauthen. She continued to be heavily involved. She was a Transfer Jack, worked in the special education department at a local charter school, was part of NAU’s First-Generation program and was president of the NAU 4 All club. She decided to put her boots and cowgirl hat in the closet and pursue a degree in psychology with a minor in disabilities studies.
“Throughout my involvement with extra-extracurriculars, one of the most important things that I took away from my participation in those organizations is to give the best version of yourself to the people who are around you and who are willing to help you,” Cauthen said.
As a student leader for NAU 4 All, Cauthen learned about how to support, advocate and build awareness for people of all abilities. As the president, she organized events to help build a more inclusive campus and teach others what it means to be inclusive, pulling from what she learned in the classroom and spreading it to others.
“Everyone deserves a world that accepts them and a world that has no barriers, whether that be someone with or without a disability,” she said.
Professors at NAU really demonstrated what life after graduation could look like for her, with endless possibilities and career opportunities. Through an internship at The Guidance Center, Cauthen learned about therapy, counseling, case management, behavior analysis and skills training, illuminating the myriad of work someone studying psychology can pursue.
“NAU has continuously reached out with resources that are needed to take those next steps after graduation, which helps make graduating a little less scary,” Cauthen said.
She was inducted into Psi Chi, an international honor society for students studying psychology that has a lifetime membership. She plans to attend graduate school to earn a master’s degree in psychology with a focus on mental health or behavioral analysis.
McKenzie McLoughlin | NAU Communications
(928) 523-4789 | McKenzie.McLoughlin@nau.edu