Catching up: With a full-cycle philanthropist

katherin2Emily Katherin (’12 advertising and art & design) is originally from Omaha, Neb., and currently lives in Seattle, Wash., where she serve as the advocacy programs manager at Cascade Bicycle Club – the country’s largest bicycling non-profit. When she’s not at work, she says, she’s exploring the Pacific Northwest, gardening in her alleyway, teaching herself how to cook, bicycling to new breweries, and cheering on the Seattle Sounders. Young Alumni News recently caught up with Emily to find out more about how she pedaled her way into a career that involves helping others.

How did Iowa State help lead you to where you are now?
My freshman year at Iowa State I was reintroduced to the bicycle by some classmates in a design class. After falling in love with the beautiful trails, parks, and farmland that surround our campus, I decided to earn a crash course in bicycle touring on RAGBRAI.

After completing my first RAGBRAI, I decided to take touring to the next level with a cross-country bicycling trip to raise money and awareness for affordable housing. The people I met while at Iowa State not only encouraged me, but helped me achieve my goals. Every single one of my professors junior year helped contribute to my affordable housing fund before I set off on my 4,000-mile journey.

I am now working at the country’s largest bicycling nonprofit and serving a new community and focused on creating vibrant, safe, happy and katherin1healthy communities. Iowa State taught me that, if you do what you are passionate about, you will always be successful.

How do you “live Iowa State” in your everyday life?
Professionally, I “live Iowa State” with how I treat others and my personal business philosophy. I believe that the key to success, regardless of your area of work, is building and maintaining strong relationships. I learned this at Iowa State with the way I was treated by my peers, faculty, and staff.

How has being an alumna of Iowa State helped you connect with others?
Even though I’m 2,000 miles away from Ames, I’ve managed to build a strong network of other alumni in the Puget Sound Region. We now get together for happy hours and talk about the exciting things we’ve discovered out west!

How did your experience at Iowa State help to lead you into a field dedicated to service and philanthropy?
The extracurricular opportunities that were offered to me at Iowa State lea me to a path of service and philanthropy. I was encouraged to learn outside the classroom through clubs, service work, and taking on leadership roles.

What is your favorite Iowa State memory?
My favorite memories are times I spent walking and bicycling around campus on beautiful fall days. I feel incredibly fortunate having gone to a university that took so much pride in its campus. I was also a member of ISU’s Gaffer’s Guild and have great memories of being in the hot studio on cold winter days learning the art of glassblowing.

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