Catherine Lewis '16

Experiences Abroad Provide Rare Opportunities

At Luther, Catherine says she “was able to study abroad three times - once in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan for a religion class, once in Western Europe for Paideia II, and once in Florence on a dance scholarship.” She is grateful that Luther provided her with these opportunities while still allowing her to graduate in four years. She says, “The ability to travel with peers and professors and truly experience what I was studying was amazing. It provided a rich, deep understanding and application of learning.”

A Unique Combination of Majors

With a unique program of study, Catherine says, “I was given several opportunities to ‘combine’ my majors of dance and psychology, including my senior project. These opportunities to synthesize information and examine the mind-body connection led me to a career path that I doubt I would have found otherwise.”

Catherine is an occupational therapist working for the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. In her clinical practice, she utilizes concepts she learned as a psychology major. “I draw upon the concepts I studied in Learning & Behavior to motivate and engage patients. I also use strategies such as evocative empathy that I learned in Intro to Counseling to form rapport and trust within therapeutic relationships.”

Her dance experience also influences her current work. She notes that, “Professor Jane Hawley’s Movement Fundamentals curriculum provided me with an embodied understanding of ways to increase range of motion and efficiency of movement, and ways in which body alignment can affect biopsychosocial functioning.” The unique combination of art and science gives Catherine a particular perspective. “It helps me look beyond any one frame of reference in an attempt to view each patient as a unique, whole individual.”

Advice for Incoming First-Year Students

Catherine came to Luther looking at the nursing program, but ended with majors in dance and psychology. She suggests first-year students take classes they're interested in, especially if they are outside of the discipline they think they'd like to major in.

She also says, “Talk to your professors! They teach at Luther because they want to talk to students. Approach them with questions about homework or lecture, but also to discuss your interests and goals.” Catherine found that Luther professors were always willing to find ways for her to explore her interests and deepen her understanding of what was happening in the classroom. She says, “They often set me up with professors from other disciplines to help me explore a topic of interest from multiple points of view. This type of learning is invaluable!”

While on campus, Catherine participated in...

SPIN Theatre, Food Council, Aurora, Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, & Spirit, Psi Chi, and main stage Visual and Performing Arts pieces including Body of Water, The Invitation Game, Forgiveness Lunch, and Highway 57.