In High School Katie described herself as a very reserved person. Having grown up in a small New Hampshire town and graduating with a class of 80 students she knew UNH would feel like a big place. Given that both of her parents work on campus attending UNH made financial sense. To help with her transition Katie began her first year by participating in PrOVEs, A UNH organized service learning experience. Katie was reticent and nervous when she arrived in Durham to participate in PrOVEs. Looking back she describes that time as one of the most uncomfortable moments of her life. After three days of service projects, her physical and emotional exhaustion left her no choice but to let her guard down, come out of her shell and start making her first group of UNH friends. She quickly realized that uncomfortable situations, such as PrOVEs, help her learn by making connections and forcing an expansion of her comfort zone. With her second year almost behind her, Katie credits PrOVEs with starting her on a path of involvement and giving back while at UNH.
Another opportunity to widen her comfort zone came when Katie’s Hall Director suggested she join the Diversity Mural Project. She found herself participating in an artistic endeavor even though she never considered herself to be an artist. The Project consumed her time and felt like a fifth class! The reward and satisfaction Katie felt upon completing her mural lead to a second mural project studying with artist Richard Haynes.
Katie kept her eyes peeled for opportunities peaking her curiosity, and when saw something that peaked her curiosity she would nudge herself in that direction. Similar to PrOVES, Emerging Leaders began with an overnight retreat with a group of students she didn’t know. She also decided to participate in an ABC (Alternative Break Challenge) trip in the spring of her first year. She traveled to Neosho Missouri with a group of UNH students to work with Habitat for Humanity. The entire town embraced this group of 9 UNH students. They were made to feel like celebrities through town signs saying “Welcome to the NH 9”.
Only in her sophomore year, Katie’s list of involvements is quite amazing. She became an active member of The Alliance and was elected co-chair this year. The Alliance is under a broader umbrella of UNH’s Diversity Support Coalition, a student organization committed to social justice work. She played an active role in the highly successful Drag Ball, brought the Oxfam Hunger Banquet to UNH, and coordinated the first Night Without a Home Event that took place on T-hall Lawn.
Katie started out a UNH as an undeclared liberal arts student living in Alexander Hall. This residence hall is designed to give students an opportunity to live together and search out a fitting major. Katie is now a Technical Theatre major with a minor in Business and English. She studies stage management; scene, light and sound design. She uses power tools and builds stage crafts and props for actual productions at UNH. Katie is excited that many of her classes are hands on and require her to work with actual UNH productions.
Despite her shy, unassuming nature, Katie has walked through every door opened for her at UNH. She is a quiet and strong leader that models her own style of leadership. It’s hard to believe Katie has done so much in just two years at UNH. Time will only tell what she will delve into in the remaining two. No doubt by the time Katie leaves UNH, this community will have benefited from her impact in countless ways.