What drew you to work for the PKG Center?MIT is a special place. We’ve got a creative student body, world-class faculty, and hands-on, problem-solving culture. Those three ingredients combine in a pretty interesting recipe for community engagement, public service, and social innovation. We have an opportunity — and frankly, the responsibility — to prepare the next generation of community leaders and innovators and produce meaningful change for people and places around the globe. I can’t imagine a more interesting or important challenge in my career.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to take part in a service project, where would you want to go and why?I guess I don’t tend to think about service as a discrete “project.” My most satisfying and (I hope) impactful engagement with communities has always happened right in my own backyard. I’ve volunteered and served on committees and boards of directors in the places where I’ve lived because I think it’s important to have a real stake in — and understanding of — the communities in which we live and serve. The flip side of that is that the service has always deepened my appreciation of and connection to those same places.
What do you do for fun outside the office?I love long walks, whether it’s wandering around a new city and exploring the nooks and crannies in different neighborhoods or hiking in the mountains. I also have a serious pottery habit and love making something out of just a lump of clay, simple tools, and my imagination. Other favorite things: listening to bluegrass, eating fried chicken, and swimming in the ocean.
About KateKate is the Senior Director of the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center at MIT. As Senior Director, she works with a wide range of Center stakeholders — students, staff, alumni, faculty, and community partners — to offer initiatives and programs that realize the potential of MIT students, make real change in communities locally and around the world, and contribute to the culture and impact of MIT as an institution.
Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Kate graduated from Bard College with a degree in philosophy and received her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Before coming to MIT, Kate was the Deputy Director of the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University and an Adjunct Lecturer in Sociology; she also served on the University’s Title IX Council. At Brown, Kate co-designed and launched two innovative university initiatives (the Engaged Scholars Program and the TRI Lab for Teaching, Research, and Impact) that advance engaged learning and bring faculty, students, and community partners together to address important social challenges. She has also been executive director of a non-profit community development corporation in Pittsburgh, a funder of neighborhood development initiatives, and a senior research analyst at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.