Accepting the baton: Third-straight Purdue HHS student assumes role as Golden Girl

Emily Cowette

Emily Cowette, a sophomore in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, is the third Purdue University Golden Girl in a row to study in the College of Health and Human Sciences.Tim Brouk

Written by: Tim Brouk,

Since 2018, the Purdue University Golden Girl has called the College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) her academic home.

Emily Cowette, a sophomore in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS), made her debut leading the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band in fall 2022. This spring, she passed the renewal process and was confirmed as Golden Girl for the next academic year. She and her batons will again perform in Ross-Ade Stadium during football games and many other events.

Hailing from Londonderry, New Hampshire, Cowette said the HHS connection she had with the previous Golden Girl, former biomedical health sciences major Amanda Coy (BS ’22), made her first experience as a member of the “All-American” Marching Band very comfortable.

“She was a great role model for me in my freshman year. It was great getting to learn twirling-related things from Amanda but also stuff about academics, the good study spots on campus and any advice she gave me I took,” Cowette remembered. “I’ve grown close with a bunch of former Golden Girls, and it’s been great getting to know them and learning more about them and their experiences getting to twirl here at Purdue.”

Before Coy, former SLHS student Katie Schleis (BS ’20) spun for the marching band, leading the Boilermakers into football games in 2018 and 2019. Cowette makes three Golden Girls in a row for HHS.

Twirling for most of her life, Cowette has skills to not only lead the Purdue marching band but to also compete in the World Baton Twirling Championship on Aug. 4-13 in Liverpool, England.

What made you choose Purdue?

Well, I came to Purdue and auditioned my senior year of high school. I auditioned for a featured twirler position and was offered a spot as a Silver Twin featured twirler. So, my freshman year, I was a Silver Twin.

Then how did you get to be Golden Girl?

I reauditioned at the end of my freshman year and was named the 32nd Golden Girl. This past year, I was the Golden Girl, and it’s been great. So many amazing opportunities, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Emily Cowette stands in front of the "Unfinished P."

Cowette will interview for a research position in the Department of Human Development and Family Science in the fall.Tim Brouk

What are some memories of fall’s football season?

This past year has been great for us twirlers. We’ve had so many cool opportunities. To start, the football team made it to the Big Ten championship. We got to travel to Indianapolis and perform at that football game and do all the festivities that came along with that and all the pep rallies leading up to it. The football team went to a bowl game in Orlando. That was a great experience and so much fun being in the warm weather. And then recently, for St. Patrick’s Day, the twirlers and the “All-American” Marching Band went to Dublin, Ireland, and performed in the St. Patrick’s Day parade there. That was my first time out of the country. It was a crazy cool experience. It was so much fun, and I would not have been able to experience that if it weren’t for twirling.

What made you choose the speech, language, and hearing sciences major?

I chose SLHS because all through high school I was interested in studying nursing, but then I realized I wasn’t really into the blood and guts side of nursing (laughs). I considered teaching for a while, but then I was talking to a family friend who is a speech-language pathologist. She explained to me what she did, and it seemed to be a great fit for me. It seemed like a combination of nursing and teaching. I’ve been loving all my classes, all my professors, everything about SLHS so far. I’ve grown close with a lot of the people in my major. We meet at coffee shops and do our homework together. We do different lab exercises together. It’s been fun to meet all the other people in SLHS.

Will you pursue research during your time as an undergrad?

I was looking at participating in a lab next fall, but it’s actually a (Department of) Human Development and Family Science lab, which is my minor. I will be interviewing for a spot in Professor Kameron Moding’s lab, and the work involves infant temperament and feeding history and predicting infants’ responses to novel foods.