Southern Belle

Southern Belle

Ally Drake ’11 knows what she wants to do after college. The communicative disorders major will go on to obtain her master’s degree in speech pathology, with the goal of becoming a certified speech and language pathologist. “I plan on working with the autistic community in either hospitals or schools,” says Ally. The native of Georgia says that she is very passionate about her major. “My youngest brother T.J. is autistic and this inspired me to pursue my career as a speech pathologist. I was so excited when I found out that Saint Mary’s was offering communicative disorders as a major for the first time this year.”

Ally says her favorite class is introduction to sociology taught by Professor Leslie Wang. “Dr. Wang has such a passion for sociology and you can tell this the moment you step into his classroom,” says Ally. “The course material is so interesting because it directly relates to our lives and those around us.”

“The best experience of her life,” says Ally is the time she spent studying abroad in Rome. “There is not a day that goes by where I do not think about my wonderful experience in Rome—we call this ‘Rome Sickness,’” says Ally. “I remember before we left Dr. [Peter] Checca held a meeting and told us to look around the room because these girls, who we didn’t know at the time, were going to soon be our best friends. I would be lying if I said I believed him then because I didn’t. However, looking back on that day, I realize that he couldn’t have been more correct. All of us who went abroad that semester share a special bond that I know can never be replaced.”

Ally stays active on campus, participating in the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s Best Buddies Chapter. “Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-on-one friendships,” explains Ally.

When it comes to choosing what she likes most about Saint Mary’s, Ally is hard-pressed to narrow it to one thing. But if she had to choose, she’ll tell you she really values the women she’s met here. “Because I’m from Georgia I came here not knowing too many girls or what to expect. I cannot express how happy I am with my decision to come to Saint Mary’s because it has more than surpassed my expectations—and I still have two more years to go.”