Triangle Copy careerplus-badges careerplus-degree Created with Sketch. careerplus-employers Created with Sketch. careerplus-faq Created with Sketch. careerplus-individuals Created with Sketch. careerplus-local-experts Created with Sketch. careerplus-pricing careerplus-registration Created with Sketch. careerplus-responsive Created with Sketch. careerplus-self-paced Created with Sketch. careerplus-stackable Created with Sketch. + Facebook LinkedIn PinterestRSS Instagram Twitter Vine

Senior Celebrates Found Family

By Clarke News  |  April 29, 2024

When students are asked to describe Clarke, the number one answer is “it feels like family.” For senior Brianna Laughlin, that is not a statement she takes lightly. 

“In 2016, my older and only sister passed away in a car accident,” Brianna said. “Even eight years later, it is still hard to be without her. But coming to Clarke and joining the softball team was like gaining 30 new sisters. Even as a transfer student, they welcomed me. We have our ups and downs, but we’re there for each other, no matter what.” 

As a senior outfielder for the Clarke Pride, Brianna has worked to develop her voice on the field and in the dugout. Despite injuries that forced her to miss much of her sophomore season, Brianna credits the team for helping her come out of her shell and become a leader.  

“People meet me and they see that goofy side, but I haven’t always felt like I could be myself,” Brianna said. “Coach Garland has told me I’m a flower that bloomed, and that really stuck with me. The people at Clarke aren’t afraid to show you they care and I want to repay that by sharing my best self.” 

Brianna brings that same attitude to the classroom. As a Health, Wellness, and Behavioral Sciences major, she said she’s found joy in classes like Care and Prevention with Dee Higgins and Psychology classes with Tim Boffeli. And while it may have been among her most challenging courses, she’ll never forget Oral Interpretation. 

“I was dreading that class, but Jenn Hogue made it so fun and flexible,” Brianna said. “For one assignment, we had to pick a monologue and really get into character. She let me do Clarke Griswold’s rant from Christmas Vacation. I had everyone rolling. Being able to connect with something that had meaning to me and my family made me want to give it my best.” 

As graduation approaches, Brianna is looking forward to continuing her education with the Master of Athletic Training program at Loras College. It allows her to pursue her career and stay close to her family in La Motte, Iowa. But as she looks ahead, she said she’ll never forget the people who got her here. 

“When Clarke says they are a family, they truly mean it,” Brianna said. “Of course, that means my team and my roommates, but also people like Mary Ellen and Julie Cirks. The people here care about students and their success.” 

 “Sometimes I think about my sister and all she’s missed. I promised I’d take every opportunity for her,” Brianna added. “I’m only the third person in my family to go to college, and the first to be a college athlete. I’m proud of what I’ve done, and I will keep chasing every opportunity I get.”