Lee Thao '13

Public Health

I choose St. Kate’s for its well-known reputation.


St. Paul, Minnesota

Why St. Kate's?

"The first time I set foot on campus, my soul felt calm and peaceful. I felt at home. The beauty of the campus environment, supportive faculty members and the diversity of the student population captivated me.”

Deciding on an Area of Study

In 2007, Lee had to leave St. Kate’s for personal reasons — but, after three years away, she returned to finish what she started!

“I was working in the healthcare field as a nursing assistant and healthcare unit coordinator, when I decided to pursue an education in public health, with a concentration in public policy and community health worker. Public health gave me an investigative lens to explore healthcare disparities, policies impacting medical care availability, access, coordination of care and the resources available, or lack of them, to low-income communities.”

Building Experience

When Lee returned to St. Kate’s, she set three goals:

“My first goal was: ‘I will claim my education.’ I did this by promising myself to ask questions if I was unsure or did not understand the information being taught.

My second goal was: ‘I will get involved on campus.’ I did this by exploring on campus organizations and clubs and, eventually, got involved with the Student Senate, LEAD Team and ReEntry Adult Student group. I spent my last year as Senate vice president. My involvement in these various student groups taught me invaluable transferable skills.

My third goal was ‘I will ask for help.’ I have learned that I cannot do it alone and have been intentional about creating my support system and allowing them to help. These three goals have allowed me to achieve academic success and finish my degree.”


Lee recently completed a Masters of Arts in Counseling and Psychological Services and Addictions Study Certificate — and “I am now working as a mental health therapist with the low-income and immigrant-refugee population.”