Student Spotlight: Sophia Klymkowych

Sophia Klymkowych

Sophia Klymkowych
Major: Communications

Sophia Klymkowych is an example that skills learned in one program can affect any career you choose.

She earned her Associate in Arts degree, focusing on Communications. While at College of DuPage, she was involved with the Theater program and was a member of the Forensics Team. She received a transfer scholarship to DePaul University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism with a minor in Professional Writing. She also holds a bachelor's in Business Administration and attended the Paramedic program at Loyola Hospital.

"I was perpetually searching to make a difference in the world and fit it around my work schedule," she said. "At one point I was working in sales. The money was phenomenal and my theater background was a large part of my success, having strengthened my confidence levels when appearing before prospective buyers to make presentations.

"But something was still missing. Finally, the revelation came that I wanted to help people for a living. The lesson here: Follow your passion and you will never work a day in your life!" 

Klymkowych enrolled in an EMT-Basic class while researching nursing schools. Upon hearing about an opening in a fire department, with only three days to submit an application, she decided it was a good fit and gave it a try.

Four months later she was hired and then worked hard to finish the fire academy and candidate program. Finally she became a paid-on-call, part-time, engine-manning firefighter.

"The first day I fell in love with the job," she said. "I decided to take a stab at becoming a full-time career firefighter, attending Paramedic program at Loyola Hospital. Once I had my medic license I tested for a full-time union department, made the list -- and most importantly was hired off the list."

In addition to the fire service, she is also a teacher at The Dailey Method, a barre practice incorporating principles of yoga, Pilates and ballet, all orthopaedically based. She is considering a return to academia in order to study psychology for counseling or life coaching opportunities. 

Despite an evolving educational and work history, Klymkowych credits College of DuPage for pushing her in the right direction.

"I decided to attend COD out of high school because I was undecided about a major/career path and wanted to explore my options without breaking my bank account," she said. "I was able to iron down a major, maintain a full-time college schedule, as well as a part-time job that paid for classes without having to apply for student loans. I was incredibly pleased to see many credits transfer to both DePaul and Benedictine. I think that is a testament to the quality and reputation of COD." 

Klymkowych signed up for Introduction to Theater with a friend. Connie Canaday Howard was the instructor, and Klymkowych immediately took a liking to the class, continuing to study theater and then becoming involved in student productions.

"A theater class is about much more than getting up in front of an audience and emoting lines from a script," she said. "The program at COD helped build my confidence through fostering a safe and supportive environment of performance in each classroom. Students in a theater class here bond and maintain friendships after the term is over because theater study at its foundation is interaction -- a priceless gift for an underclassman in a large new school.

"Theater students learn body awareness in a way that one can't grasp in a sport -- how the human body moves through space, nonverbal modes communication. A theater class studies modern and classic scripts, so there is an added element of literature study. A greater understanding of writing is gained because students aren't merely reading quietly, but watching words come alive from the page. Theater study for a young adult on the cusp of letting loose in the big world helps gain an understanding of human nature and what drives egos and hearts.

"The friendships I made here are some of the strongest and most supportive, some of whom remained in theater on stage or behind, some like me who didn't but cherish the experiences. It gave this floundering freshman girl a solid base from which to start."

More about the Theater program