illustration of campus.

Students’ personal stories are a key to authentic campus tours.

By Pauline Oo; illustration by Jenna Freimuth

First impressions matter, and St. Kate’s Admission Ambassadors know it. They’re the University’s official tour guides. They lead flocks of wide-eyed prospective students and their parents across the University’s main campus pointing out unique qualities of various buildings and sharing personal anecdotes.

“Stories are huge on tours,” says Nyda Xiong SP’14, who has led campus tours (yes, often walking backward) since her sophomore year. She remembers being on the other side as a high school student.

“I knew I wanted to go to college, and I wasn’t a fan of big classes,” she says. “St. Kate’s did a remarkable job winning me over. I met great people on my tour, and I liked the small classes and student diversity I saw. Even my parents were impressed. I’m a first-generation college student, and I’m proud to be a Katie.”

Approximately 800 students visit campus each year, says Samantha Savoie SP’08, assistant director of admission. “There is extensive research done on campus tours,” Savoie says, “and those findings tell us that it can really impact a student’s decision for continuing to pursue information about the university they are visiting.”

Tours are offered weekdays at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. throughout the year. The Admission Ambassadors — about 25 per semester — follow a predetermined route with 12 stops, and most are pretty adept at peppering the official script with engaging stories or tidbits from their own experiences.

“All of them have gone through the decision-making process that a prospective student is going through,” says Savoie, a triplikate and seasoned campus guide herself. (She began leading tours as a first-year student.) “So, our Admission Ambassadors can really give our visitors an authentic opinion.”

Pauline Oo is managing editor of SCAN.

Admission Ambassadors:

What some love about giving tours

Gabrielle Vincent SP’16, nursing 
“I love Butler Center. It gives me the opportunity to work out with my twin sister [Rochelle Vincent SP’16] and friends. When I give tours, I mention our soccer fields and tennis courts, and the many running and biking trails on and off campus.”

Hannah Young SP’16, biology
“I love The Pulse because it has gluten-free options. Dining Services really works with students who have dietary restrictions. I’ve been able to share this fact with prospective students.”

Rachel Hueg ’15, elementary education
“Mendel Hall is one of my favorite buildings because I’m a math person and my department is on the fourth floor. It also has a great story — Mother Antonia built it to stop the city from running Prior Avenue through the middle of campus.” (Read more about this in “Science Stalwarts.)

Justine De Jesus SP’15, nursing
“Being from California, I can reassure new college students that moving away from home is not too bad — that it is, in fact, a whole new adventure. On my tours, I usually get a lot of oos and ahs in Our Lady of Victory Chapel.”

Nyda Xiong SP’14, accounting, and marketing and management
“St. Kate’s has such a rich and powerful history. My favorite place is Fontbonne Hall. I like asking people if they notice anything odd about it before telling them the story of our founding president and the two Sisters who couldn’t agree on the building’s design.”

Visit or call Admission at 651-690-8850.