This summer, we are following grads from the Class of 2015 as they continue their journeys around the corner and across the globe. Katerina Parsons is working with the Association for a More Just Society (AJS) in Honduras as a research/communications facilitator.
- Name: Katerina Parsons
- Class: 2015
- Hometown: Jackson, Mich.
- Major(s): writing
- Next step: Research/communications facilitator for Association for a More Just Society (AJS)
What class at Calvin uniquely prepared you for this position?
I´m here in Honduras because of my Calvin program. My junior year, I did the Justice Studies semester in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where professors Kurt Ver Beek and Jo Ann Van Engen have lived and taught for years. It was an intense few months of both learning in theory and witnessing in practice, and everything I learned confirmed skills and passions that I will be using now at AJS, the organization they co-founded. Also, a shout-out to the core language requirement for making me take Spanish classes, which I now use every single day!
What about Calvin specifically prepared you for this position?
Calvin was the perfect place for me to first study widely so that I could study deeply. Four years ago, I had never even heard of my major (international development), let alone how it could intersect with my interest in writing. I am here today because professor after professor, even those outside of my major, knew me well enough to suggest new classes and courses of study, helped me navigate schedules, course catalogues, and guided and advised me as I applied for opportunities after graduation.
What has surprised you so far?
I´m surprised how many people in Honduras know Calvin College. It´s a small world, and Calvin students can be found in every square inch of it.
What’s one thing you would want to tell someone starting his or her journey at Calvin?
Be curious! Talk to your professors after class. Read for fun. Seek out people who are different from you. Learn to disagree. Be open to changing your mind.
Be open! Go somewhere you´ve never been, whether that´s a semester abroad or a new neighborhood in Grand Rapids. Sign up for a club that you've never heard of. Take the class for the learning, not the transcript.
Be bold! Take the opportunity to let your voice be heard. Speak out for others. Try hard things. Fail boldly, if you have to fail.
What was your best non-academic experience at Calvin?
I joined Chimes, the student newspaper, in my first year at Calvin, and spent the next four years there. At Chimes, I learned to interview, to edit, to write quickly and under pressure, to collaborate, to respond to criticism and to pull an all-nighter and still wake up to update the website the next morning. I learned to have an eye for news and an ear for stories, all skills that I’m directly using now.
If you could take one more class at Calvin, what would it be?
I actually have a list! Poetry with Lew Klatt, Constitutional Law with Joel Westra, Latin American Economics with Roland Hoksbergen, and Diversity and Inequality in the United States, to name a few.
A successful path
The success of Calvin grads goes beyond job titles, salaries, graduate degrees and employers as they pursue God's call on their lives. Still, the results are clear: Calvin grads get good jobs at places like Google, Pixar, National Geographic and Boeing, earn higher mid-career salaries than grads from other private colleges in Michigan (according to Payscale.com) and attend some of the best graduate schools in the country.