• YEAR: Sophomore
  • MAJOR: Early Childhood Education and Exceptional Needs/Spanish
  • HOMETOWN: Indianapolis, Indiana

Afton Marie Goins

Afton Marie Goins is an activist, difference maker and avid knitter; this Purdue student takes on the real world with some serious determination and spunk. In her time at Purdue, Afton has carved out her own unique niche. Major switch? Check. Passion found? Check. Identity embraced? Check.

She has combined her kaleidoscope of interests and unyielding enthusiasm to become a champion of individuality and service.

Making the switch

Following three semesters at Purdue studying veterinary medicine, Afton decided it was time for a change. But even after taking care of children her whole life, she never considered teaching. After working with children at a day care center last summer, however, she switched majors to early childhood education and Spanish and now aspires to work for a private preschool where she can teach gifted children and introduce Spanish at an early age.

Get creative

Afton, a creative writing minor who hopes one day to write inspirational children's books, advocates the usefulness of an artistic outlet. When she isn't teaching or studying Spanish, she uses words to create beautiful stories, thread to transform thrift store clothes, pens to doodle, and clay to create beautiful sculptures.

Afton is also a member of Purdue University Neoteric Knitters (PUNK), a student organization whose goal is to create a friendly social atmosphere and community of like-minded knitting enthusiasts.

Spirit of service

Afton doesn't have a specific destination yet, but she does know what direction she is headed — service — and she is doing everything to get there.

"I'm still figuring myself out and I'm still learning about what I want and how I want to matter to future generations," she says. "My ultimate goal is to make an impact, but I'm still fuzzy as to how."

She participates in various activities through Purdue's Civic Engagement and Leadership Development program; met her three best friends through the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Student Alliance; and serves as a team leader and supervisor for Boiler Gold Rush (BGR).

Teachable moments

Afton has used her time at Purdue to explore and discover. She has found her voice and a home, and encourages other students to find their own identity — no matter what it is.

"I've made Purdue my home by anchoring myself to the people and friendships that I have here," she says. "To new students, my ultimate piece of advice is first of all to know yourself and love yourself, and second of all to love yourself enough to be able to own up and admit when you're wrong so that you can grow better from it. Take criticism gracefully and use it to improve yourself."