Ben Kimball '12

Social Work (MSW) and Holistic Health Studies

I love St. Kate's. It's radical by nature.


Engineer and social worker

Why St. Kate's?

Ben was ready to pursue a graduate degree with a spiritual focus — and he wanted to study more than religion, which he had pursued for a while. “I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but then I came across St. Kate’s Holistic Health Studies program.”

The rare opportunity to earn degrees in both holistic health and social work caught his eye. “I thought it was very interesting. My wife is a social worker, and I thought the dual degree would be a good way to combine both fields and professionalize what I learned in holistic health as a social worker in the community.

Building Experience

In the Holistic Health Studies program, faculty discussed a wide range of topics including wellness, nutrition and the physical environment. Ben, a Clinical Social Work Specialist in the emergency department at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, also enjoyed the two elective classes he took on energy healing.

“It was very instrumental and transformative for me. I’ve learned to work better with others and adjust my social work practice by making subtle choices like respecting silence, dimming the lights or pulling up a chair, or even inquiring about other realms in wellness beyond a social work bio-psycho-social assessment.”


Working two jobs can be stressful and demanding — Ben is a molding process engineer when he’s not at the hospital — but he finds balance by harnessing some of the alternative healthcare techniques he learned in the program for his own self-care.

“I love St. Kate’s. It’s radical by nature, and I can say this from my own experience and from seeing my wife’s growth as an undergraduate student there too.” In fact, Ben’s two sisters-in-law are also Katies!