Courtesy: Keiser University
As an honor student and winning Seahawk athlete, Keiser University Flagship Campus Salutatorian Karina Braathen says family members have inspired her to pursue a career in service as well as the motivations provided by her psychology program courses and the life skills she’s gained as a winning athlete. The commencement ceremony will be held at Keiser University’s Flagship campus on Friday, April 28th from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Braathen will be available for interviews before and after the ceremony.
Braathen swam four years for Keiser, winning an NAIA title on the women’s 800 free relay in 2022. This past season, she placed seventh in the 200 free, 13th in the 100 free and 18th in the 500 free at the 2023 NAIA National Championships.
While noting it was the early memories of watching her mother serve as a nurse in their hometown of Skotselv, Norway, that motivated her to assist others, Braathen shared that she began working as an extern at Positive Behavior Support (PBS) Corporation in West Palm Beach, Florida after earning her Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) certification. There, she effectively assists nonverbal patients in developing life-changing communication skills, improved social interactions, and more, through applied behavior analysis therapy. In a recent case, she and a patient enjoyed a breakthrough after several sessions as the child began to count and ask for directions by use of a touch screen tablet. “It makes me feel motivated and happy when the person successfully asks for directions and continues to reach milestones. It is big. I feel like I’m doing something right and really getting through,” said Braathen who will team with fellow co-salutatorian Nate Loven at the upcoming commencement ceremony.
In addition to serving autistic children and adults, Braathen has dedicated countless hours toward supporting nursing home patients with disabilities and fellow students as a peer tutor.
In addition to direction from a variety of professors and coaches throughout the years including Keiser University Applied Behavior Analysis Program Director Dr. Shannon Shea, Psychology Program Director Dr. Robin Schupper, and others, Braathen credits her role as a college athlete for helping to reinforce some of the qualities that will carry her far in the professional world. A Seahawk Women’s Swim Team NAIA All-Conference 800 Free Relay winner, she shared that the early morning alarm clocks, juggling of numerous and varied responsibilities, and team building and time management skills all will come into play as she launches a successful career.
Now preparing for the professional world, Braathen looks forward to further immersing herself in optional practical training opportunities at PBS while preparing for her certification as a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. She will then return to Norway and apply much of the athletic resilience and experience she’s gained in psychology and applied behavior analysis to perpetuate her family service tradition.
Keiser University’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology offers a diverse curriculum that provides a broad-based education in many facets of behavior, mental processes, communication, research, and writing. Courses include forensics, sports, positive psychology, and the traditional courses needed to prepare students for graduate studies. Students may select from six major tracks/concentrations, including Human Services, Developmental Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, Health Care/Fitness, Business, and General Psychology.
Keiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving nearly 20,000 students at 21 Florida campuses, online, and two international sites. Co-founded in 1977 by Chancellor Arthur Keiser, Ph.D., and Evelyn Keiser, Keiser University currently offers more than 100 degrees from associate to the doctoral level. Keiser University is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in providing Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Report in 2023.