Katie attended Delta from 2003 to 2006 and then transferred to Michigan State University for a BS in statistics. Through her study abroad experiences, her love of travel became a passion for understanding different cultures.
"At Delta, I took math, stats, accounting, and any basic prerequisites I needed to transfer. When I started at Delta, I wasn’t sure what degree I wanted to pursue, or even if I would get a degree. I was 23 years old when I started, and had been working in fast food and playing bass in a band. Then I decided I wanted something more out of life.
At Delta I learned how to set goals and achieve them. I learned to take pride in my accomplishments, but also accept my shortcomings – basically, I learned a lot about myself and how much I am truly capable of when I have the right people supporting me. I was able to take my time, not having the pressures of university life. And, lucky for me, Delta has a great math department."
Advice to Other College Students
"Community college is definitely the way to go for young people who are not exactly sure what they want to do (it is a much less expensive place to ‘find yourself’ than at a university!). There is nothing wrong with figuring things out as you go. Delta has great faculty, staff, and a student body that will provide you with all the support you need to reach your goals."
Seeing the World
"During my time at Michigan State, I spent two summers studying abroad in Russia, where I studied Russian language and culture. I found out that I love traveling around the world and I became really passionate about trying to understand different cultures. I also did a study abroad program in Argentina and Antarctica over one of my winter breaks.
I first wanted to serve in Peace Corps after attending an informational session at MSU. At that time, I said, 'that is something I want to do someday.' I graduated in 2009 and couldn't find a job, and was considering going for a master’s degree. Because I knew that Peace Corps had a program where I can combine my master’s degree with my Peace Corps service, I decided to just go for it. I found the program I wanted to do at Clemson University (an MS in Applied Economics and Statistics), applied, was accepted, and moved to South Carolina for two semesters of study. While I was studying, I was accepted to Peace Corps (after an application process which lasted over a year) and was invited to serve as an Economic Development Volunteer in Uganda, which I accepted.
My first assignment as a Peace Corps volunteer was in a rural village near Lake Albert called Kiziranfumbi, where I worked for a savings and credit cooperative (SACCO). I also worked on a school library project which was started by another volunteer and I also started women’s Village Savings and Credit Association (VSLA). The VSLA is a group of between 15-30 people who join together and pool their savings to borrow amongst themselves. It is a great platform for education and training, since they meet every week. I trained them on how to manage their group and had them write their own constitution. I assisted them in organizing elections for secretary, treasurer, chairwomen, and money counters. The secretary is trained on basic book keeping, and we also did small business trainings once a week for three months."
Interested in travel and other cultures? Learn about Delta's study abroad options.
What I'm Doing Now
"After the Peace Corps, I had an offer from BRAC (an international microfinance NGO) to come work with their research unit in Kabale. Peace Corps allowed me to make the switch and moved me down to Kabale Town for the remaining six months of my service. Kabale Town is in the southwest near the Rwandan border, about seven kilometers from Lake Bunyoni, and in the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.
At BRAC, I am responsible for re-training our enumerators (the people who collect our data) each month in four branch offices – Kabale, Muhanga, Buyanja, and Rukungiri, so I am traveling a lot for this job.
For a secondary project, which is a project that has been supported by Delta's Global Peace Studies program steering committee, I am having donated laptops brought over to start a computer training program. We have rented an office space that is located between two secondary schools and about one kilometer from Kabale University, and it will be run as an Internet café when we are not running training sessions. We will be training students in typing skills, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, doing research online, and writing a resume and cover letter.
The students will also open Gmail and Facebook accounts, and I will create a Facebook page specifically for this project, in the hopes that our students will interact online with Delta students and faculty. I have also been talking with the Unison club and Prism Alliance at Delta College to do a similar project with an LGBT group here in Uganda."
"In October 2013 I will be returning to the States to finish my master’s degree. After that, I definitely plan to get involved in community development and activism locally and I hope to continue working on projects in Uganda, and to travel there occasionally.”