Katie Wing is an Ada Comstock scholar at Smith who will graduate this January. Katie interned with Springfield's Chestnut Middle School, a PC partner, last January, and decided to continue her work in the school by developing the Young Women's Leadership Group at Chestnut. She led several trainings and discussions alongside the young women leaders, and even organized a trip for the group during last year's Rally Day, where her students had front row seats to hear Gloria Steinem speak on campus.
PC: What are you doing now?
Katie: I am quickly approaching the end of my Smith journey! As a 2018- J grad I am, as we speak, in the trenches with buttoning-up my final semester. Senioritis has not taken over, as I am determined to finish strong -- but being this close to the finish line, a huge focus is planning for the next step for me and my daughter. There are so many moving pieces to navigate that my school work has almost become an escape!
PC: Tell us a highlight memory from your time with Project Coach or your Chestnut Middle School experience?
Katie: One of my favorite moments working with the Young Women’s Leadership group happened after the group ended. One of the members called me to tell me that she was getting ready to apply for a leadership role within the community. She called when she was getting ready for the interview with questions, she called just before she had the interview, again when she left the interview…again when she got nervous after a few days of not hearing back from the organization… and again right after receiving the news that she was chosen for the position. Every call she made to me throughout this process was equally special and significant on its own—but the collections of calls underscores more than her determination; it reinforced, for me, that she trusted me and believed in the work that we were able to start during our time together.
PC: How has this work impacted who you are now, and what you're doing in your life?
Katie: Working at Chestnut has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life. As a non-traditionally aged, low-income, first gen, parenting student getting to Smith was not exactly a cake-walk. In addition to proving I could keep up with the academic rigor of a place like Smith, I committed to a personal growth journey that continues to challenge me every day. I could see parts of myself in the girls I was working with. The struggles they were facing, I knew intimately well. During moments of doubt, supporting them helped me better understand why I was doing what I was doing, and at times gave me the extra push I needed to keep the momentum going.
PC: Team is a big part of life in Project Coach. Who’s on your team in your current life & work?
Katie: Having a team is so important. Fellow Ada Comstock Scholars continue to be those in my corner. Whether it pertains to work or life—through the good, bad and ugly— the bond that has been forged stands strong and consistent—they are the best women I know.
PC: What big idea, project, adventure has your attention? What’s your next play?
Katie: I am currently looking to graduate programs and employment opportunities that will allow me to sharpen my capacities to provoke positive, forward moving change within underrepresented communities.