Erika Kriechbaum '09

Communication Studies and Women's Studies

My grandma went here, and my great aunt is an alumna and a Sister of St. Joseph. I enjoy the environment of progressive, dynamic women.


Faribault, Minnesota

Deciding on an Area of Study

St. Kate’s is a family institution for Erika. “My grandma went here, and my great aunt is an alumna and a Sister of St. Joseph. I enjoy the environment of progressive, dynamic women.”

Things fell into place for Erika when it came to deciding on an area of study. “I’ve taken a wide range of classes here on gender and rhetoric, how society portrays women through language and how women use language. Language is powerful — learning to dissect it and analyze it makes you much more aware as a communicator. I took public speaking and I really enjoyed my professor, so I chose speech communication as a major. It’s really versatile — job possibilities are endless and you use communication skills in every aspect of life.”

Building Experience

Through her Civic Participation Rhetoric course, Erika completed an internship with community radio station KFAI. She wrote and produced pieces for the station’s website and on-air programming. “It put what I had learned to the test. I had to be self-motivated and look back on the things I had learned. I also learned to gather information and network, how to frame questions to get information I needed and how to target messages to a certain audience.”

Erika then had the opportunity to travel to Mexico in January 2009 for her Global Search for Justice course. “Traveling to Mexico was a great, yet intense experience. I had been exposed to the concept of creating relationships of solidarity and I saw how as an individual, a consumer and a woman I play a large role globally. We are all interconnected — that’s what I really brought home. What I purchase, what I do and how I communicate affects not only myself, but groups of people all over the world. It’s my responsibility to keep educating myself and others about global awareness.”

Through the course, Erika planned her own internship. While in Mexico, she gathered four suitcases of jewelry and hand-woven palm baskets, then sold them locally. Proceeds went to a women’s health organization in Tlamacazapa, Guerrero, Mexico.

Outside of classes, Erika was the captain of the volleyball team, president of the Wildcat Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (WSAAC), and an Admissions Ambassador.


Erika has goals, " work in the non-profit sector or maybe marketing or advertising.” She plans to eventually attend graduate school.