Graduate published powerful perspective on what it means to belong

Claire Tembreull’s undergraduate Honors Capstone Project was recently published in the book Homeward: Personal Stories on the Search for Belonging (the Birren Collection).

In her story, Where I’m REALLY From, Claire provides a powerful perspective on what it means to belong. Claire is from a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where she’s no stranger to being asked “Where are you really from?” Claire was adopted from China when she was a baby and has struggled at times with her sense of belonging. Her story challenges the idea that we’re all so much more than the place we come from.

Claire said, “The place we come from is an important part of our story and will always be a part of who we are, but we come from so much more. We come from family, communities, experiences, memories, and where we’re born or come from is just the starting point to answering this question.” 

For her senior honors capstone, Claire explored a question that has followed her throughout her life through the method of Guided Autobiography as a means for exploring identity within herself. GAB is a semi structural process for life review that encompasses both individual and group experiences through autobiographical writing. GAB combines the human development models of life review and the achievement of one’s personal experiences by priming memories through a structured group process that can help people gain a sense of integration, fullfilment, and competence.  

Claire is now in her graduate studies in speech-language pathology at Central Michigan University. Guided Autobiography and writing are a passion of Claire’s, and she hopes to explore these areas more in the future with patients who have had a stroke to assist in their recovery and rediscovery. Mentors and peers are fired up for her future as she continues to grow professionally and personally.    

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