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Callie Gospeter

UMD graduate Callie Gospeter learned to fly fish while studying abroad in New Zealand.

UMD graduate a model of scholarship and courage

By Susan Beasy Latto

Published on May 20, 2005

When 21-year-old Callie Gospeter walked down the aisle at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD) commencement ceremonies May 14, she celebrated some stunning accomplishments. She maintained a 3.8 grade point average and graduated magna cum laude in only three years. She was a UMD Best of Class Scholar and a Goldfine Scholar. She also survived cancer.

Today Gospeter is healthy. She carried an average of 20 credits per semester and studied abroad in New Zealand, where she hiked extensively, mountain climbed, bungee jumped, and learned to fly fish.

But the road to health was far from easy. When she was four years old, Gospeter was diagnosed with leukemia. Many years of her life consisted of rounds back and forth to the hospital for procedures like spinal taps and chemotherapy.

To get herself through the treatments, Gospeter says she developed a system of self-hypnosis by concentrating "really hard" and by "schrinching my toes."

"I am not really motivated by money," says Gospeter. "I want to go where the need is--where I can best use my skills. I need to do the best I possibly can--while always and truly living in the present moments of my life."

She credits and thanks her family and her parents, Robert and Cynthia Gospeter of Mankato, Minnesota, who provided her with strong support and who "explained what was going on each part of the way." After years of treatments, her cancer went into remission.

Gospeter used what she learned during that time to make a positive difference in the lives of others. While carrying a full class schedule at UMD, she served as a trained volunteer grief facilitator at St. Mary's/Duluth Clinic, worked 30 hours a week as an intern in the counseling office at Duluth Central High School, and taught swimming to youth at Woodland Hills Residential Treatment Center. In her sophomore year, she worked as a nanny for two children, both badly injured in a plane crash that killed their mother and uncle.

She will attend graduate school this fall on the Twin Cities campus to get her master's degree in school counseling.

Of her life goals, Gospeter says, "I am not really motivated by money. I want to go where the need is--where I can best use my skills. I need to do the best I possibly can--while always and truly living in the present moments of my life."