How Katies kept busy this summer

Katies in the summer of 2018

School is officially back in session and that calls for the reflection of summer 2018. We’re always amazed by the incredibly impressive and interesting things Katies accomplish... So much so that we couldn’t keep it to ourselves!

Joining the circus

Kalea Ott '20 worked with Circus Juventas as a trapeze artist and costume designer. She’s been around Circus Juventas practically her whole life, but got involved performing, training, and coaching with the organization in 2013. This summer, along with rehearsing aerial tricks and coaching younger performers, she took on a bigger role backstage repairing costumes. A natural fit for Ott who is studying apparel design at St. Kate’s.

Three years ago, Ott would have described her duties backstage in the costume department as more of a helper. Today, she’s practically the assistant to the costume designer. “I have to know where everything is in the studio and remember what needs to get done each day,” said Ott.

“I know a lot of these performers personally,” she said. “So it’s fun for me to make the performer feel as good as possible, to create the costume that will invoke that awesome performance.” In the future, Ott aspires to continue making circus costumes for companies across the world.

Summer scholar

Fashion Merchandising and Apparel Design major Sydney Schumann ‘19 participated in Summer Scholars, a collaborative undergraduate research program. “I am passionate about finding innovative and convenient ways to divert textile disposal from landfills, reduce the carbon footprint, and sustain our planet for the people living on it,” said Schumann. Aligned with her passion, Schumann and professor Anupama Pasricha's project titled, "The Potential of Upstream Textile Recycling," focuses on textile waste.

Professor Pasricha said she enjoyed working side by side with Schumann and described the collaborative experience as fulfilling. “[Sydney] felt empowered to be a researcher; questioned every doubt; discussed every reading; and brought her valuable perspective and thought," said Pasricha. “It is rewarding to see her grow personally and professionally because of this experience."

Schumann and Pasricha hope to present their work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Georgia in April of 2019 and at the Sustainability in Fashion Conference in London in May of 2019.

Rock star student worker

Tatyana Beck '20 is a rock star when it comes to student involvement. She's the Student Senate Diversity Chair, a member of St. Kate's sorority Lambda Sigma Tau, has worked as a peer mentor in the Multicultural and International Programs and Services (MIPS) department, and, this summer, began her training to be a Resident Advisor.

"As the school year begins, I find myself ready for what's ahead of me," says Beck. "I am ecstatic about making connections and sharing resources with first-year students as we, as RAs, welcome them to the St. Kate's community."

This summer, Beck also worked as an America Reads student coordinator through St. Kate's Center for Community Work and Learning. There, she focused on helping K-12 students improve their math, reading and science skills.

In April, Beck was one of five Minnesota private college students selected to be a 2018 recipient of the Phillips Scholarship. This award grants students $16,500 in total scholarship and grant funds to support the student’s academic needs and to conduct a community service project. For her project, Beck is designing a workshop encouraging academic success among young people experiencing homelessness, a mission close to her heart.

Biology students in Iceland

Biology students Sarah Garcia '18 and Gabby Holm '19 traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland for the month of August to study freshwater ecology with associate professor Jill Welter.

“Our research takes us to Iceland and other arctic regions where we are working to understand how temperature influences nitrogen fixation rates and metabolism in cyanobacterial assemblages,” they wrote in their blog. What exactly does that mean? Holm believes, "these samples will provide a new outlook on the future... they will become the data to explain the reasons why our environment is changing."

The majority of their field work last month has been conducted on a small boat in the middle of Lake Mývatn, a volcanic lake in northern Iceland. More days than not have been cloudy, rainy and frigid. However, Iceland’s chilly summer climate has not dampened the spirits of Garcia and Holm! "It has given me a fantastic opportunity to be challenged beyond anything in a classroom and helped me find my home in the broad field that is Biology," says Garcia, who recently graduated.

You can keep up with their adventures and research findings on their shared blog, Fixation on Ice.

Know other Katies who did something awesome thing this summer? We want to hear about it! Send news to and tag us in your social media posts. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #mystkates!

By Amy Mullowney '17