Catherine (Gehlsen) Hillestad '14

Luther Was the Perfect Fit

Catherine sought out a college that would allow her to begin the pre-med track, as well as study French. She found Luther and decided that it was just the right fit. “Luther has wonderful biology and language programs. It was perfect for me,” she says. For Catherine, there was no need to compromise. Luther allowed her to pursue both of her passions equally.

Taking Advantage of Every Opportunity

After graduating from Luther, Catherine was unsure of the path she wanted to take. Diverting from her pre-med track, she served with AmeriCorps in the Twin Cities, working part-time at Regions Hospital in the guest experience department. “Having that experience in the hospital, as well as having family members involved in the healthcare industry, I decided to pursue my master’s in healthcare administration,” she says. She is now at the University of Iowa in her first year of graduate school.

Catherine encourages current students not to panic when they feel unsure about their future. The skills they gain from Luther will prepare them for many great careers. “Don't be afraid if you don't know what you want to do with your life,” she says. “I came in thinking that I knew, and I changed my mind. Be open to every opportunity that comes your way.”

A Valuable Athletic Community

Catherine also hoped to play soccer in college. When she came to visit Luther’s campus, she happened to be hosted by some members of the women’s soccer team. Catherine witnessed Luther’s tightly knit and dedicated athletic community long before she ever played on a team. “That experience sold me,” she says.

Upon arrival, she joined the soccer team, and remained on the team all four years. She considers her time on the soccer team among the most valuable experiences at Luther. Besides providing her with lifelong friendships, Catherine also believes that playing a sport in college taught her valuable career skills that many employers look for in a job candidate.

Getting Involved in the French Department

Catherine worked as an assistant for a professor in the French department and as a tutor in the Language Learning Center. Both positions allowed her to practice and improve her French-speaking skills.