Katie Snider easily gives credit where credit is due. She thanks her father, Mike Snider, a Grand Ole Opry member since 1990, for her musical talent. Meanwhile, her mother, Sabrina, a 1984 business graduate, receives the credit for Katie's attending UT Martin. The talented third-year student from Gleason joins 10 other family members from her mother's side of the family to attend the university as she pursues a double major in biology and nursing.
Gleason has always been home for Katie, and while many students move away to attend college, Katie chose to stay in Weakley County. "I've heard the saying, 'bloom where you're planted,'" Katie said, noting that UT Martin is a good fit for her personal and academic goals. "I think it provides you with all the tools that you need to be successful."
Katie's Northwest Tennessee roots are evident as she talks about the things that are important. Music has always been a big part of her life as she plays both piano and guitar, and the discipline required to nurture her musical talent has served her well in other ways. While in high school, she was active in FFA, where she had the opportunity to both perform and develop her public-speaking skills. A high point came in fall 2007 when years of preparation led her to a memorable opportunity to perform during the televised talent showcase at National FFA Convention that approximately 50,000 people attended in Indianapolis, Ind. She laughed in describing the experience as "overwhelming to walk out and see a sea of national blue and corn gold ag jackets."
She sees the creative and intellectual coming together as she pursues her health-care career goals. "I love writing, especially song writing," she said. "And I really enjoy helping other people. … I love the idea of being able to cater to others' needs both emotionally by means of music and physically via nursing. "
Her writing talent produces various types of songs, including one she wrote and performed for her high school graduation. For this special song, she recorded a piano track, adapted a drum demo to the song, played a guitar and even added some mandolin, an instrument she doesn't play often. "I like to be challenged to compose different styles of music, but the lyrics are my favorite part to write. …" she said. While pursuing a career in music is tempting, she knows "that the music industry is very hit or miss." She added, "The wonderful thing about earning an education is that it is something that you will have, and no one can take it away from you," she said.
As for her academic pursuits, Katie finds the university's curriculum challenging and expects more challenges as she enters the nursing program this fall semester. Even though similar courses of study can be found elsewhere, she said that UT Martin's faculty are the difference. "And I believe that we have some of the best-quality instructors that could ever be presented to students in a classroom setting, and I'm very fortunate that I get to come here and be in their classes and get to hear their insights."
Katie also has benefitted from her involvement in extracurricular activities, including membership in Mu Epsilon Delta, the pre-professional allied health fraternity, and the honor of serving as model initiate of her Chi Omega Sorority pledge class. "The relationships with people have been the best," she said, adding, "You define your college experience. The institution itself doesn't necessarily define you. …"
Many different career options are possibilities after Katie completes her double major. She'll simply take her parents' advice to "follow your heart" when making that career decision. In the meantime, brother Blake, a Gleason High School senior, is expected to join her next fall as the 12th family member to attend the university.
For the Sniders, the beat goes on as the UT Martin family legacy grows.