Graduate Ready

Josie Garfat '20

Josie Garfat ’20 chose Illinois College because she liked the small, student-centered campus, and the fact that her education could extend around the world.


One of the most meaningful experiences for Josie, a double major in psychology and biology,  was a trip to Cuba the summer before her senior year. Josie says the experience took her outside of her comfort zone, but being there with her classmates and professors gave her confidence. 

“It’s a country that is very different from the US. so it was something I had to adapt to and it helped me learn about another culture and appreciate aspects of their way of life and of our own. Not many people can say they have visited Cuba and it was very meaningful.” 

Josie also found opportunities for meaningful learning closer to home. As part of a psychology course, she volunteered in the Jacksonville community to work with children with disabilities. Not only did she find a way to connect what she had learned in the classroom to hands-on practice, Josie was inspired to pursue a career in occupational therapy. 

She recalls how her professors, especially Elizabeth Rellinger Zettler, helped her each step of the way as she worked to find a master’s program that would help launch her career, even connecting her to alumni in her field to serve as mentors. This fall Josie has been accepted into a master’s program for occupational therapy. 

“I wouldn’t have gotten as high-quality an education that was so personalized anywhere else. Across the board, my professors wanted me to succeed. They showed up to help whenever I needed them. Our professors set aside a lot of time to work with students. I don’t think you can get that at many other places.”