"I will always be grateful that Luther challenged me academically, but I think it is even more important that Luther challenged me to become a greater listener, to live more consciously, and to use my talents to improve whatever community that I’m a part of."
Kim believes that the opportunities she had to engage with students and communities outside of the classroom were valuable experiences at Luther.
“During my sophomore year, I took a J-Term course that allowed me to study abroad in Tanzania,” she says. “I was incredibly shy at the beginning of the trip, but I began to realize that I have a passion for connecting with people and understanding other cultures. My job today is completely dependent upon forming strong relationships with youth from a wide variety of backgrounds. My time in Tanzania helped guide and prepare me to be successful in the field of youth development.”
She says that it was equally as important for her to be involved with the cross country and track teams. “I’m so thankful that I was a part of a group with such incredibly supportive, dedicated, and talented individuals,” she says. “These men and women were, and continue to be, my friends and allies through some of the most challenging and exciting events of my life.”
After graduation, Kim worked for two years in AmeriCorps. “During my first year I served with the Minnesota Reading Corps at the preschool level,” she says. “I wanted to continue working in the education system, but with a different age group and demographic, so I moved to an AmeriCorps VISTA position in Northfield, serving in a college access program called TORCH. After one year as a VISTA in the TORCH program, I became the full time co-coordinator of the high school TORCH program.”
In this role, Kim works to holistically support the high school and post-secondary success of low-income and first generation college students, including more than 300 current high school students and approximately 100 alumni of Northfield High School who are in college or the workforce.
Kim says Luther helped her build the confidence she needed to pursue a career she always felt too shy or reserved to consider. “I learned the value of a strong, supportive community, and it made me want to help build and support communities elsewhere,” she says. “Collaboration and relationship building are the foundation of my work every day. I will always be grateful that Luther challenged me academically, but I think it is even more important that Luther challenged me to become a greater listener, to live more consciously, and to use my talents to improve whatever community that I’m a part of.”
First-year students should invest time in creating and maintaining meaningful relationships. The students, coaches, professors, and staff that I met at Luther continue to be some of my greatest friends, supporters, and advocates.
—Kim Horner '11