An Advocate in International Development
Bonner Challenges Students to Find Their Own Pathways for Community Advocacy
After graduating from Davidson College, Katherine “Kate” Wood, was offered a one-year recruitment fellowship position with Teach For America (TFA). Little did she know that experience would shape her career and provide her with the skills that she would need in a career as an international recruiter and manager.
From Education to Global Development
Kate graduated from Davidson College in 2005 with a degree in Political Science. Soon after, she moved to New York City to work for TFA. While working there, Kate looked for ways to increase the socio-economic, ethnic, and academic diversity of the [TFA] corps. In this position, she recruited teachers that are more representative of the students they are serving, therefore allowing students to relate more closely with their educators.
Drawing from her experience in education combined with her undergraduate focus on international development, Kate cultivated an interest in how to “enable people to have access to resources or services such as healthcare, education, clean water, sanitation [etc. so] they are able to take advantage of what is within that allows them to grow and achieve.”
Kate became interested in international development and global health. To pursue this passion, she accepted a position as a senior recruiter at RTI International, a non-profit research institute that provides services worldwide.
Impact of International Work
While leading Talent Acquisition for RTI's International Development Group, Kate helped to secure funding leading to the ENVISION Project. The global program seeks to prevent and control neglected tropical diseases. One of the results of the project, thus far, has been the elimination of trachoma in Nepal. Kate continues to support the project's growth. took the form of a tropical disease prevention and control project.
Through her work, she feels that she is able to create a positive global impact, one of the best parts of her job.
Kate attributes the position that she is in now to Bonner. Being a Bonner allowed her to understand the complexities of the non-profit sector and acknowledge that funding is a necessary component of any organization. This knowledge has allowed her to understand why her work in international recruitment, team management, and funding procurement matters. Kate’s Bonner and college experiences allowed her to
“Articulate why I was interested in international development and connect what I had done in college, what I was interested in, and what I remain interested in.”
Kate cultivated an interest in human resources during her Masters of Business Administration program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The field is appealing to her because it allows for personal and organizational growth along with additional opportunities for strategic planning and leadership development. Though Kate is fulfilled in her current role, she has aspirations to someday serve as chief human resources or a chief operating officer in a non-profit or social enterprise.
Regardless of how her career path changes in the future, she remains committed to a few key values instilled during her time as a Bonner. She says, “once you leave your undergraduate [institution] and the Bonner Program, that onus does not leave you. You are charged to be an advocate within your community. The rest of your life is figuring out how to live into that charge.”
Check out some of Kate’s favorite books:
- It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower by Michela Wrong
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Written by Aleah Qureshi, Bonner Alumna of Wofford College ’18
Read her job profile here.