Connecting Katie to Katie, wherever we are

Donor Tribute 22–2023: Volunteer Impact Report

The global pandemic has profoundly impacted the way we connect with each other — hands up if you had a virtual meeting this week? In 2022–23, St. Catherine University launched a new way for Katies to give back to the community: PeopleGrove, St. Kate’s online mentoring platform. A digital platform embedded right into the St. Kate’s website, PeopleGrove is a space where our alumni community can help guide, inspire, and support our students and each other — no matter where they are.

Chloe Shovein ’13 leads other alumni in a fitness class

“What I think is really unique about this program is that our students can reach out to Katies across the world,” says Megan Retka Tidd, director of alumni relations. “No matter the time zone, our alumni community can be available to support students exactly how and when they need it.”

Whether it’s preparing their first resume, practicing interview questions, or seeking job opportunities in a new location, Katies are able to tap into a 700+ strong community of peers, staff, alumni, and employers. On PeopleGrove, they can join specific career groups, seek out peers in their degree areas, and reach out to alumni based on their interests, career background, and/or location.

“Today, our students are walking into the job market seeking really practical skills and advice,” says May Thao-Schuck, EdD, vice president of career and professional development. “PeopleGrove provides them with a space to get prepared and supported, as they connect with alumni in their field, or in the organization they are preparing to interview for — in real time.”

It’s not just for current students. PeopleGrove also offers a way for our alumni community to support each other. Alumni can utilize the platform just like students, seeking advice or inspiration from peers in their field or beyond.

McKenzie Meyer ’22 found her connection with a 2011 graduate to be a valuable resource in her burgeoning professional life. Her mentor “provided a lot of advice and insight, as well as her own experience,” says Meyer. “I came away with lots of new knowledge about the PA [physician assistant] career and possible next steps in my own career journey.”

While more than 120 alumni have joined the mentoring community so far, Retka Tidd is keen on seeing more alumni join, in order to reach more students and connect Katies in one space.

“I would encourage all our Katies to join PeopleGrove,” she says. “Imagine how we could change the world if our students had 52,000+ alumni at their fingertips to lean on as they navigated their careers!”

Zelphia Peterson Brown ’16, MPH’18

"I have really enjoyed connecting with current Katies through the PeopleGrove platform. I remember being in their shoes so well — how big the world seems, how many choices — and trying to find the best path through it all. I'm not that much older or wiser than they are, but I like feelin that I'm giving back to the Katie community just a little bit!"

— Zelphia Peterson Brown ’16, MPH’18

By the numbers 2022–23

Volunteer opportunities offering remote option

Total hours contributed

Total students directly impacted

Total volunteers

Total opportunities filled

2022 - 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 1969
Most active class years

Goals for 2024

Help us reach new heights!

PeopleGrove users

PeopleGrove connections

Students directly impacted

Alumni volunteer participation 22–23: 10% Volunteer Speaker/Interviewee; 27% Class Leader; 15% Student Support; 30% Mentoring; 17% Reunion Support; 1% All Other Opportunities