Auburn Spotlight, Kate Hardman

"I got the best of both worlds by going here: excellent preparation for my dream career and an atmosphere of my dream college experience."
Kate Hardman
Miss Homecoming

Spotlight Interview

Why did you choose to attend Auburn?

I chose Auburn because of the nursing program. I was drawn toward a school that was welcoming, refining and full of people I wanted to be surrounded by, which put Auburn at the top of my list. I was choosing between Auburn and another school similar to this campus’s atmosphere, and I ultimately picked Auburn because of the nursing school, which has an incredible reputation. I got the best of both worlds by going here: excellent preparation for my dream career and an atmosphere of my dream college experience.

Tell me about your experience of campaigning for Miss Homecoming. Why did you choose the Make-A-Wish Foundation as your platform?

Campaigning for Miss Homecoming was one of the most incredible weeks of my Auburn experience. I have never felt so loved and so supported. Never once was I anxious or stressed and that is a huge testament to the team I had behind me and how hard they were willing to work. I had so much fun hearing students’ passions and dreams through our wish wall when they wrote their “one wish.” The wall opened up conversation and I got to hear their dreams, along with the numerous students who have been impacted by Make-A-Wish. 

I chose Make-A-Wish because it is an organization I have been involved with for a while. I began my involvement in high school and continued it through college. With my dream of being a pediatric oncology nurse came a period of anxiously waiting to have an impact on the children I was going to be working with one day. I could not wait until my four years of education were over to help them, so I got involved with Make-A-Wish because it allowed me to provide hope and strength to the children here and now. It is an organization that aligns with my dream as a nurse, it provides children with hope, strength and joy. The wish process allows them to feel like a child again and forget about their illness. All these are goals of mine as a pediatric nursenever to let my patients identify with their illness, but rather how they can find strength to conquer it and regain as much of their childhood as possible. 

What was it like when you heard your name announced?

My reaction was complete shock. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness. I wanted to reach out to every person in the stands that made my name being called possible, and give them all the recognition because they deserve it. My name being called was never the goal for the end of the week, so when I heard it I was completely taken aback. I really could do nothing but smile and give an abundant amount of thanks to everyone who supported me and encouraged me the whole way through. It is an absolute honor and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity given to me! 

What do you hope to accomplish as Miss Homecoming?

I would love to continue raising money and awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I would also love to help Make-A-Wish Alabama start an organization on campus called Wish Granters. Wish Granters allows Auburn students to get involved in not only the fundraising process, but also the process of organizing wish experiences for children and meeting them to reveal their wish. It is an incredible opportunity for students to see firsthand how this organization impacts children and for them to get connections to a possible future job or internship opportunity with Make-A-Wish. 

What is your favorite part of working with Make-A-Wish Foundation?

The way Make-A-Wish allows a child to regain their childhood through the hope of a wish experience. Being a child with a life-threatening illness can be completely overwhelming and something a child finds their identity in, making it hard for them to experience the joyful lifestyle of a child. By providing a child suffering from a life treating illness an opportunity to be a kid again provides them with strength to fight harder. It increases their overall health, and that is why I support the organization. It allows children to find further reason to fight their illness and get their childhood back. 

Apart from working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, how do you spend your time?

When I am not studying for nursing school or in clinicals, I spend most of my time with friends, creating memories that we can only have in college. In my last year at Auburn, I am trying to say yes to every moment and opportunity I have with the people here. I love to spend my time cooking, goofing off and making weird videos, dancing, running, drinking coffee and taking trips to the beach or lake with my friends. I really just love to be with people so I am always down for anything. 

What is your favorite Auburn memory?

My favorite memory is so hard to choose, especially after Homecoming week because I have loved every single second of it. I would say Homecoming week, the people that have loved me so well and the amount of people I have met may make the top of the list. Before this week, it was definitely the last night of my sophomore year. My roommates and I sat in our dorm room on our sorority hall the very last night before we moved out to go our separate ways for the summer and reflected on our first two years of college. We talked about all the struggles and victories we walked through together and all the silly little moments that bonded us as best friends. We encouraged one another, prayed over each other and prayed together over the next two years that we would spend together in Auburn. It is forever engraved in my brain as a true picture of friendship and the Auburn Family: a group of people who serve one another, refine one another and encourage one another. It was the sweetest moment. It was a promise fulfilled of why I came to Auburn.