My greatest success this semester is having the chance to meet amazing friends and connect with faculty while exploring my different interests, such as education and business.

Speaking about her first year, Katrin seems to be thoroughly enjoying and taking advantage of all that college life has to offer. Katrin, coming to Washington University from Aurora, IL, has a strong passion for both special education and business administration. She is currently double-majoring in Educational Studies and Finance. During her high school career, her interest in students with special needs grew after participating in an “adaptive P.E. class in high school where general education students and special education students are paired together.” Ever since, she has spent much of her time with various non-profits whose missions are to serve this population.

As a part of Beyond Boundaries, program students are required to participate in extra-curricular activities that pique their curiosity and possibly help them learn more about their big questions. Katrin didn’t waste any time finding a number of student groups to get involved in, especially those connected to her academic interests. She has devoted much time to the university’s student group of Best Buddies, “the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities).” In addition, Katrin was part of the Night Off club, a group of students that “promotes autism awareness” on campus and also “provides parents of children with autism a ‘night off’.”

Despite having her Spring 2020 semester cut short and having to adjust to a life impacted by the pandemic, Katrin has not stopped her efforts to delve (pun intended!) even deeper into her work with those with disabilities and special needs. As a Marketing Intern for Diveheart, an organization that “works to build confidence, independence and self-esteem in children, adults and veterans of all abilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities,” she shares why she chose to spend her time with this unique non-profit:

When I went on dive trips with Diveheart in high school, I loved seeing all the incredible things that scuba diving could bring to both participants and the families of the participants. I also thought the internship would be a great opportunity because I would have the opportunity to apply my marketing knowledge from my business classes towards a good cause. Having the chance to help a real business was a great way to practice the skills I learned about customer relations, positioning, and digital marketing. This internship helped me answer my big question because I eventually want to use business principles to help fix the special education system in our country.

Many of the Beyond Boundaries students are looking forward to engaging with each other again in the fall. Katrin, along with other program students, have already arranged some of their extra-curricular activities. This coming year she will be a WUSA (Washington University Student Assocatte, pronounced “woo-sa”) and will help acclimate incoming students during orientation and throughout their first year.

Find out more about Katrin on the Beyond Boundaries Podcast. Jamie Xu, a fellow program student, joins Katrin on this episode.