Her proper title in May 2022 will be Dr. Yergeau. An excellent student at Davis & Elkins, Kaylee Yergeau ’19 is in her final year of WVU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. If anyone needs reminded of the quality of a D&E education and the leaders who are the result, sit down with Kaylee Yergeau for a conversation as I did recently.
I initially met Kaylee soon after my arrival at Davis & Elkins College. Her warm and gregarious personality was the initial attraction, while the story of her journey from her home in Washington state was certainly memorable. Recruited to play on the women’s basketball team, Kaylee flew from Seattle to Washington Dulles where she was met by her future coach. Crossing the mountains in snow and in awe of nature’s beauty, meeting the team, and talking with professors sealed the deal. The next fall she was in West Virginia and is still here seven years later.
The influence of her father, a firefighter, led young Kaylee to want to help people when she grew up. Discovering her sense of vocation, she decided early on in life she wanted to work in a health-related field. During high school, largely as a result of her many years as a student athlete, she knew physical therapy was her calling and D&E had a strong preparatory program.
Starting college is a big adjustment and moving 3,000 miles from home at 18 years of age makes it even more so. Her first semesters presented challenges. The homesickness was helped by many at D&E, but particularly Angie Scott’s brownies and tender loving care. Adjusting to the rigors of college classes eventually happened with the help of caring professors. By her sophomore year, Kaylee had settled in and become a resident assistant, a student ambassador, a respected student-athlete, and active in numerous campus activities.
She participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and discovered an avenue for deepening her relationship with God. She credits Dr. Jennifer Riggleman with influencing her and introducing her to a local church that nurtured her spiritual journey.
Leadership development resulted from four years as a student athlete. Teamwork, sacrificing for others, and taking young players under her wing was her experience playing athletics at a NCAA Division II level.
Deciding to pursue her graduate work at WVU was influenced by several D&E friends who were already in Morgantown. Though family was still on the West Coast, Kaylee’s D&E family kept her in the Appalachian Highlands. The romantic relationship she began on campus her senior year at D&E has continued, and she indicates she is excited to see the next steps in that relationship as her boyfriend prepares to graduate from D&E this spring.
Kaylee Yergeau is an exemplary illustration of the transformative educational experience that D&E provides. Vocation and career are joined, horizons are expanded, lifelong friends established, spiritual questions are explored, and a young adult emerges prepared for a meaningful and productive life.
Soon-to-be Dr. Kaylee Yergeau has a promising life and career ahead of her, thanks in no small part to D&E. Thousands of others, just like Kaylee, have similar life-changing experiences in their futures as D&E students.
The journey continues….
Chris A. Wood
Davis & Elkins College