Laura D'Aquin, SSW Alumna, Speaks on Her LSU Experience
Laura D’Aquin, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, graduated from LSU in 2014. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Studies. She currently resides in the Houston, Texas area working as a Certified Child Life Specialist at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.
“My decision to attend LSU and to follow the path of Child and Family Studies is one that I did not take lightly and will never regret."
My LSU Experience
D’Aquin describes how her experience led her to be culturally adept due to the wide array of ethnicities present on campus. Peer students and professors were included in a multitude of diverse backgrounds. During her practicum for a college course working at a local children’s hospital, D’Aquin interacted daily with patients and families not only from Louisiana but around the entire country.
“Due to all of these exchanges, my familiarity with various cultures prepared me for my future job as a Certified Child Life Specialist while making me more knowledgeable about cultural differences.”
As a member of Chi Omega sorority, Laura D’Aquin held the role of philanthropist chairperson which forced her to work collaboratively with other officers on a weekly basis. Additionally, it put her in situations in which she had to make decisions for the good of the majority versus her own personal needs. Now working in a hospital, D’Aquin is again faced with being part of a team whose role is always to work toward a common goal versus their own individual wants for patients and their families.
At the time, LSU did not have the child life-specific courses needed for her certification. Because of this, the connection D’Aquin had to make out of necessity with professors transformed from a strictly professional one-voice relationship into a two-sided one in which she says she felt heard and validated.
“I trusted that my voice and heart were being taken at value, and they provided me with the resources I needed to make my dream become a reality, namely, transforming me into my current career as a certified child life specialist.”
One professor that stood out of the crowd to D’Aquin would be Dr. Marks who taught Child and Family Studies courses. Not only did he instill the knowledge of how to be a respectable citizen in today’s world, but also, he taught how to raise our future children to be so as well, according to D’Aquin. She says that he took his message beyond the four walls of the classroom into future homes. D’Aquin can still recall specific ideologies he taught that she currently incorporates into all facets of life.
The LSU Tradition
Since her father, mother, and two sisters all attended Louisiana State University and relayed memories of their own journeys, attending LSU was the obvious choice for D’Aquin. Growing up going to LSU sporting events, she could not wait to make her own personal memories as an LSU tiger. She even parlays this college experience into her professional life.
“Now being in Texas and hearing of all the different colleges my colleagues attended, I am still confident that LSU was the only place for me.”
D’Aquin’s favorite LSU tradition is Homecoming Week. She can remember as a young child driving down sorority row before the big game admiring the decorations on each lawn. She never could understand how they created the colorful paper scenes and always wondered the process behind the finished product. When D’Aquin was a freshman, she was finally able to be fully engaged in the process and got to see what work went into it behind the scenes and the decades-old tradition of pomping came full circle.
“Now I love to see my patient’s eyes light up when they know it is craft time especially after a painful hospital experience. Seeing their final masterpiece reminds me of waking up early on homecoming day to see all of our effort come to life. I hope to share my love of the deeply-held tradition of homecoming with my own children one day."
An Ideal Career
Now working in Houston, Texas, as a Certified Child Life Specialist at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, D’Aquin’s role is one who provides an extra layer of support by changing the intimidating hospital into a less threatening and more patient and family-centered environment. Merely because of the definition of her job, she is in constant communication with individuals, families, agencies, communities, and kept up to date on policies. Advocacy for patients and their families is her primary focus and allows D’Aquin to provide them the resources needed for their journey ahead.
“I always thought it was cheesy when everyone stated, ‘Forever LSU’ but I cannot emphasize it more. LSU is not a four-year destination; it is a lifetime home that I know will always welcome me back when it is time to visit.”