After visiting campus and meeting students and faculty, Cate chose Luther because she believed the learning environment would be equally challenging and nourishing. “I wanted to attend a college that would encourage me to widen my worldview in ways that weren't always comfortable,” she says. “I also wanted to go to a school that cared about me as an individual.”
Cate says that one of the most challenging and nourishing experiences she had at Luther was her Paideia class. The first-year Paideia course is a year-long interdisciplinary program that focuses on questions regarding what it means to be human. Throughout the year, all first-year students read the same texts, allowing the best class discussions to extend into residence halls and cafeteria tables.
In her Paideia course, Cate read a book about the Rwandan genocide and was exposed to African history for the first time. “I still remember how crushing that book was on an emotional level, but also on a historical and political level,” she says. “Beyond the reading, the intense discussion in class with my peers was something I hadn't experienced before in my history courses.”
Though she knew she wanted to study history from the start, Paideia gave Cate a specific research interest that shaped the rest of her studies at Luther. “I dove into African history and never looked back,” she says. “Through this lens, my interest in post-colonial crises, violence, and peacemaking grew. Paideia changed my trajectory and led me to seek out my current work with refugee populations.”
While her majors in history and French did not teach her exactly how to manage volunteers, Cate says that she gained plenty of professional tools from her schoolwork, co-curriculars, work-study positions, and her interactions with faculty and staff members. Cate worked as an office assistant for the Visual and Performing Arts department. She also helped create the Scholars program website and was involved with Luther’s radio station (KWLC) as the news director.
Cate says that while college is a great time to follow new passions, take challenging courses, gain work experience, and try out new activities, many students fall into the trap of doing too much in their first semester. “Take the extra twenty minutes in the caf to laugh with your friends or indulge in a quick nap,” Cate says. “Take your studies seriously, but always remember to take care of yourself.”
After graduation, Cate worked with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota as a Congregational Relations Associate. In March of 2015, she began working with LSSMN Refugee Services.