Katrin Patterson ’11, a double major in anthropology and gender and women’s studies, was featured this month on the Volunteer Maryland website for her role with Ardmore Enterprises, through which she will launch a volunteer program that will bring more awareness to the capabilities of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities
Patterson, who graduated cum laude, was a France and Merrick Scholarship and the Walter Sondheim Maryland Non-Profit Leadership Scholarship, as well as a member of the President’s Commission for Women. After graduation, she traveled to the University of Botswana on a Fulbright research grant to study the gendered and psychosocial dynamics of HIV transmission. In addition to her work with Ardmore, she’s also in the process of applying to graduate schools of public health.
We asked Katrin to answer a few questions about her experiences.
Q: How did you wind up working with Ardmore Enterprises?
A: I didn’t choose Ardmore so much as they chose me. I applied very late in the application cycle, and Ardmore was one of the last (Volunteer Maryland) partner sites that had not yet chosen a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator. After interviewing with and being accepted by Ardmore, I took the contract because I felt like it would be an interesting and challenging experience. I have no formal experience working for or with individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities so I was curious to see how I would grow through the experience. Even within the first couple of months, I have been confronted with all manner of personal and professional learning experiences; at times frustrating, at others enlightening, there’s rarely a dull moment at Ardmore as we work to develop and implement a volunteer program and gear up for our 50th anniversary next year!
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: I would love to go into health education. Both my time as a Fulbright Student and as a VMC have shown me that there are a lot of misperceptions and misinformation about health and illness, and I am eager to rectify the situation. I am particularly interested in community-based health programs and health education for women, and so am looking to build upon and connect the two BAs I have from UMBC in either a Master’s or doctorate program. Health is not a uni-dimensional aspect of a person or their community, and public health is a field that recognizes this.
Q: Did any experiences at UMBC especially prepare you for what you’re doing now?
A: I would definitely say that UMBC helped to impart a strong sense of service and civic responsibility to me. I lived in the Shriver Living-Learning Community for my first two years at UMBC (the first year as a resident, the second as the Community’s resident assistant), and all of the service I completed shaped the way I approach service now. I had a lot of opportunities to develop leadership skills by participating in an ASB to West Virginia, participating in a STRiVE retreat, and being an undergraduate teaching assistant for the GES department. I remember feeling very supported and empowered by both individuals and organizations on campus (the Women’s Center comes to mind!), and all of those influences have come together to allow me to approach my current position as a VMC with confidence, creativity, and empathy.