A self-motivated push to create opportunities set Julie McCaslin’s desire to become a Distinguished Young Woman. This also set the course for her future in life as well as with the organization.
McCaslin, a native of Loudon, currently serves as the registrar at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens. She chairs the Scholastic Judge panel for the state’s DYW program.
“I was motivated in high school to participate due to the possibility of receiving scholarships for college. I am really glad I participated because our local program challenged us to grow. I gained so much more from the program than I ever imagined,” McCaslin said.
With her personal growth in her “after” years, the former pitcher for the Lady Bulldogs softball team earned her bachelor degree in the science of business administration with an emphasis in human resources and general management from TWC.
Since her work began as the director of Enrollment Services for TWC, she watched the enrollment grow — almost doubling within a short time.
McCaslin attributes a great deal to the Distinguished Young Women program to her growth and leadership abilities.
She has a love for music and the challenges set by participating in DYW opened a new door.
“I never viewed myself as a composer, but wrote my first piano composition for this program with the assistance of my piano teacher, Ms. Norma Davis,” McCaslin said.
“I wanted my talent to be something different and pushed my skills to create an original piece. I also gained confidence as a 17-year-old when we interviewed due to the format of a panel interview. The underlying fear of what questions may be asked helped me expand my knowledge in so many areas plus made me think outside the box,” she added.
McCaslin won the talent competition with her original composition and placed as a runner-up in the Loudon County’s Junior Miss (now DYW) in 1999.
“I became involved with DYW later when I began working at Tennessee Wesleyan. I served as a local scholastics judge for many years and then received a call one day asking to join the state committee as the scholastics chair. I was so excited and honored to be asked,” McCaslin explained.
“I feel this is a natural fit for me because I work with students and transcripts daily. I still help a lot of local programs with scholastic judging and have met many wonderful people while serving in this role,” she added.
While she grew from her experience as a 17-year-old, McCaslin reflected on the future DYW ladies who will be taking the stage this weekend.
“I absolutely love watching each young lady grow and mature from participating. While there is only one young lady to walk away with the title, they are all winners. These young ladies don’t realize how they impact our lives, too. We all work together and become as close as family,” she said.
According to McCaslin, DYW is a constant effort that keeps hundreds of volunteers and others working.
“The state committee begins working on the upcoming class shortly after the new DYW title is awarded. We also work during the year to support our current DYW in preparation for the national title.
While not working to secure education for students at TWC, McCaslin enjoys shopping, outdoor recreation and of course, music.
She was a graduate of Leadership McMinn in 2010 and was recognized in the Daily Post-Athenian’s “20 under 40” for her abilities. The DPA showcases 20 individuals, recognizing them for their contributions to the community and leadership abilities.
McCaslin, her husband Blake, and children Adra and Elliott, reside in Englewood and are active members of Englewood United Methodist Church.