Kaitlyn Kline

  • Major: International Development Studies, Organizational Communications
  • Minor: Latin American Studies
  • Grad Year: December 2018
  • Hometown: Huntington, IN/Salem, OH

"I’ve been impressed with just how uniquely IDS trains you to think and understand issues," was Kaitlyn Kline's '18 answer when asked what she discovered about IDS.

What was a class in this department that particularly affected you?

Last semester I took POLS 322, Globalization and Democratization. The way this class was structured made the content so clear and easy to grasp, yet it was so challenging and enlightening. That class introduced me to the political science literature on democracy, which was new to me, but incredibly interesting because of the ways it helps us think about the political factors that may be at play within an unstable country. It also prepared me beautifully for my summer fellowship at the University of Michigan’s School for Public Policy and has helped me further understand the importance of political infrastructure and function within a country.

What was your interaction with professors like in this department?

Global development professors listen and ask good questions. In class, they facilitate group discussions where you may learn more from each other’s insights than you do from the reading itself. During advising, they take in what you’re telling them about your passions and interests and ideas as you both forge ahead toward finding a path for you. I had even emailed my advisor a few times over the summer, just to check in and give updates on how things were going, and she passed along some recommendations for readings and careers to consider. The professors in this department and the close relationships they build with students are really what give the department character and make it feel like a community.


 What was something unexpected you discovered about this discipline?

I paired GDS with another major because I worried about developing marketable skills. However, I’ve been impressed with just how uniquely GDS trains you to think and understand issues. This program helps you think intentionally and critically about the roles of different players around the world. It asks you to analyze the effectiveness, or even capability, of proposed solutions intended to resolve various issues at individual, community, national, and international levels. I realized just how unique these skills are when I was working on various policy issues with 20 students from different universities as a part of a fellowship. I was the only person with an GDS background and my insight into the different contexts and the impacts of injustice on individuals, communities, and countries was invaluable when understanding the root causes of the problems we were seeking to solve.

What part of Calvin’s mission resonates with you, and why?

Act justly. Being at Calvin has challenged me to look at different issues and different perspectives. I have been challenged to think about my role in contributing to injustices against workers in Honduras because I buy into the fast fashion of the American economy. I have been challenged to consider how I contribute to poverty and famine because of my indifference toward global climate change. And I will never think about my role as a US citizen the same way after being challenged to confront that this country holds so much leverage and influence over the world in ways that can be dangerous and life threatening to the most vulnerable around the globe. Through classes, friends, and especially my study abroad experience, I have learned to think differently about justice and the systems we create. As a student and a soon to be graduate, I appreciate that Calvin is a place where faculty, staff, and students challenge each other to seek the justice that God desires for His creation.

What’s one thing that surprised you about Calvin?

I was surprised to find so many ways to get involved and build a community. Not only are there tons of student organizations and clubs, but there are all the ways to get involved within your department, dorm, classes, study abroad group, and internships/jobs! This wasn’t something I was really considering too much when looking for a college, but getting the chance to plug in with FIDC, dorm leadership, and local issues in GR as a student has been some of the most stretching and rewarding parts of my time at Calvin.

What is your favorite space on campus, and why?

My favorite space on Calvin is probably CIT, in the basement of the library. First of all, they just updated CIT this summer, so now there are giant bean bags and more study spaces. However, even before that, CIT is where I go when I have a lot to get done because it is a quiet space, the printer is right there, and the computers have all the different programs on them that one might need! If I am not working in CIT, then I am probably on the fourth floor of the library, sitting at a table, staring out the windows in between writing notes on the rolling white boards.

 Describe Calvin in three words or less.

Challenging Intentional Community