Student Star: Saejin Albright

Junior discovers a new career path through resources at FSU

Name: Saejin Albright
Major: Family and Child Sciences
Graduation: Fall 2022
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

“I know that without the resources available at Florida State University, such as tutoring sessions with the Academic Center for Excellence, office hours with teaching assistants and one-on-one meetings with my professors, I would not have been able to succeed.”

Fast Facts

  1. FSU Sports Moment: Storming the court at the FSU vs. Duke basketball game
  2. Favorite Event: FSU Welcome Week
  3. Academic Accomplishment: On the President’s List every semester at FSU
  4. Coffee Spot: Lucky Goat to study and catch up with friends
  5. Weekend Activities: Walking the trails of Lafayette Heritage Park and playing pickleball at Tom Brown

Choosing what to major in can be a difficult and overwhelming decision for many students, but as Florida State University junior Saejin Albright learned four years ago, it can also mean the beginning of a new and exciting future.

After spending most of her life playing the violin, Albright thought majoring in Music Therapy was the best path to take. However, after realizing her passion for helping others was just as strong as her passion for music, Albright chose to switch her major to family and child sciences on the pre-physician assistant track.

While the decision to change majors was not easy, Albright is grateful for the guidance and opportunities FSU has given her since then. Above all, music continues to be a creative outlet for Albright as she prepares for her future career.

What challenges did you face when switching your major to a new field of study?

I have played the violin since I was five years old and attended a middle school and high school for the arts where I competed in regional and national music competitions. I practiced for hours daily since it was expected I would pursue music in college and become a teacher or soloist. During my senior year of high school, I applied to Florida State University as a Music Therapy major because I wanted to combine my passion for playing violin with my interest in medicine. Even though music has been such an important and formative part of my life, I realized I no longer wanted to pursue a music career after committing to FSU. Despite switching my major, I have been able to use music as a creative outlet while in college.  

My freshman year of college was characterized largely by uncertainty and doubt. With music being such a big part of my life for so long, I felt very unsettled during the first few months of college. However, after extensively researching a medical degree in family and child science, my confidence was restored. It wasn’t until I took an introductory course taught by a physician assistant (PA) in the Spring 2020 semester that I realized it was a perfect career choice for me. 

How was Florida State able to support your academic goals?

As a junior, I know that without the resources available at FSU, such as tutoring sessions with the Academic Center for Excellence, office hours with teaching assistants and one-on-one meetings with my professors, I would not have been able to succeed on the pre-PA track. FSU has provided me with opportunities to go beyond the basics in my classes and apply what I have learned in the real world. 

How has your experience with the FSU Honors Program helped you grow?

I wanted to be a part of a campus community that valued academic excellence and community service, so during my freshman year, I quickly applied to the FSU Honors program for the spring semester. Once accepted, I enrolled in an honors colloquium course that taught personal, intellectual and social development, and ways to apply them to FSU and beyond. My honors colloquium leader impacted me so much that I decided to apply for the leadership role. I was honored to be accepted and after taking a course to prepare me for the position, I taught my own class for the Fall 2021 semester. It was such a rewarding experience to see my students grow in their ability to think and reflect critically on various topics.  

How has your participation in community service impacted the Tallahassee Community?

Being a part of the Service Scholar Program through the Center for Leadership and Social Change has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to enter different communities with an open perspective. The Service Scholar Program has taught me what sustainable change really means when wanting to make a difference in a program or organization. Through this program, I have been able to meaningfully engage in the Tallahassee area and with community partners. 

The Service Scholar program equips students who are already passionate about service with the knowledge and education needed to enter different types of environments. The program is a four-year program that starts in your first year at Florida State and finishes upon graduation. Each year, scholars learn more about service leadership and service education to be able to apply these things to our actual service in the community. The program is dedicated to guiding students along their academic career by showing them how service can make an impact in any community, not just Tallahassee. 

Through the program, I have assembled COVID-19 food boxes for families experiencing hunger with Second Harvest of the Big Bend and worked with Gretchen Everhart on a service-based research project. I also began an internship with Bond Community Health Center (BCHC), an organization that helps people from low socioeconomic backgrounds who oftentimes cannot afford insurance or healthcare. Through this experience, I have been able to see first-hand the disparities in healthcare, which have furthered my passion for helping rural communities and marginalized individuals. 

What opportunities at FSU have helped shape your leadership abilities?

I was invited to participate in an FSU Service Leadership Seminar the summer before my first year. During the seminar, I listened to interesting speeches given by a wide variety of campus leaders. One theme that particularly impacted me was service leadership. Through the various leadership roles I have held at FSU, I have learned that true leadership means leading by example and serving those in need. I carried this lesson with me while a resident’s assistant, helping first-year students navigate both campus and their newfound independence.