Kaylie Borden Navigates her Journey to Success

Kaylie BordenBy Amanda Cairo

Growing up in landlocked Boise, third-generation Vandal Kaylie Borden is ready to take her history and political science degree for a test drive…on the water.

Graduating after three and a half years, with the help of AP courses, Borden will be setting sail on a tall ship this spring as a shipboard educator before returning to campus to walk in spring commencement with her twin sister Audra.

“I am very excited to be a Vandal alumna. I always knew that I would be coming to the University of Idaho, though I thought about breaking the mold,” says Borden. “When I came up for Vandal Friday, I fell in love. It’s home.”

Borden’s passion for maritime history was set during a summer internship as a steward and education coordinator on the tall ship “Hawaiian Chieftain.” She sailed along the Pacific Coast and up the Columbia River performing public relations, leading tours, lecturing on maritime history and taking care of the crew.

“I saw how much people loved it, connected with the history and the ocean environment,” says Borden. “Being able to share that history and see them take it in really made an impact.

It was the love of history, her desire to learn and the ability to share her passion that geared Borden towards her major at the University of Idaho.

“I’ve always been fascinated by stories and reading,” says Borden. “I like to know the stories behind people, places and things.”

A part of history that fascinated her was political science and government. To help intertwine the two majors, she spent a semester abroad in Cork, Ireland.

“It was an amazing experience,” says Borden. “The college was so rich in history and governmental debate. While I was there the country was going through political turmoil (discussing the potential dissolution of the upper house of Parliament), which was fascinating to see first hand.”

Beyond political science, Cork also has a rich maritime heritage. Borden became involved with Meitheal Mara (Workers of the Sea) charity, a non-profit group that teaches woodworking and boat-making skills to laid-off workers.

She also had the chance to show off her Irish dancing skills. In junior high and high school, Borden danced competitively, and at university, she taught Irish dancing for Festival Dance.

While Borden was on UI’s campus, in addition to her studies, she participated in DancersDrummersDreamers, the Terpsichore Dance Society, the University Honors College, Phi Alpha Theta history honor society, Vandal Reps, the history department newsletter, the Student Alumni Relations Board and Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. In addition, she chaired the Homecoming Bonfire committee and was a Sigma Rho Chi. a sorority recruitment counselor.

“I feel like I would be remiss not to take all the opportunities the university has to offer,” says Borden. “I’ve really enjoyed being involved and getting out there.”

She also feels that giving a part of herself to the university is a way of giving thanks for the scholarships she received, including the university’s Presidential Scholarship and the Idaho Promise Scholarship.

After spending a couple of years sailing and teaching maritime education, Borden would like to look at graduate schools to continue her education with the goal of writing books, teaching or curating exhibits.

“The University of Idaho really opened up a lot of doors for me,” says Borden. “Faculty mentors, my sorority sisters and my friends really helped me succeed and encouraged me to follow my dreams. They showed me that the sky’s the limit.”

As Borden begins to chart her course, she has a foundation and a network to help guide her forward.