Katie Niemeyer ?13

Katie Niemeyer

Class Year


Current home

St. Paul, Minnesota


International Political Economy and Economics

Current Position

Manager, Program Design and Implementation at Land O’Lakes International Development

For someone who never had traveled abroad before coming to Carthage, Katie Niemeyer ’13 quickly demonstrated an ability to adapt in unfamiliar surroundings.

As a double-major in international political economy and economics, she thirsted for a chance to go abroad and learn about peoples’ lives in other countries. She traveled to Guatemala and Turkey during two of her J-Terms, and also to Tanzania, where she arranged her own summer internship with a non-governmental organization.

In the spring semester of her senior year, Ms. Niemeyer learned she had earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She spent the 2013-14 academic year as a Fulbright Fellow, living and working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, as part of the United States’ premier cultural ambassadorship organization.

Upon her return to the United States, she headed to the University of California-Davis, where she earned a Master of Science in international agricultural development.

Now, as manager of program design and implementation for Land O’Lakes International Development, Ms. Niemeyer’s work focuses on food and agricultural development and rural economic growth. She credits her professors and liberal arts education for helping her understand the overlap of politics, economics, and other factors that affect societies.

“The most enjoyable and challenging aspect of my work is the constant learning and adaptation that needs to take place, whether I’m in the home office or in the field.”

Katie Niemeyer, ’13

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“The most enjoyable and challenging aspect of my work is the constant learning and adaptation that needs to take place, whether I’m in the home office or in the field. One month I could be designing food safety regulatory project in Cairo, another month I could be back in Minnesota writing a proposal to implement a U.S. government program focused on livestock production and nutrition, and in another month I could be based out of Chimoio, Mozambique supporting our field team’s work promoting climate-smart agriculture.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

The combination of my liberal arts education, J-Term travel, and the interdisciplinary nature of my IPE and economics degree honed my ability to think creatively about the big picture and execute with great attention to detail. This has helped me thrive in ambiguity, think critically during creative problem solving, and work effectively in complex and changing environments. I am also thankful when I think back to how much writing I did during my time at Carthage because it prepared me to be lead writer on technical proposals to implement multi-million dollar projects on behalf of the U.S government and other donors.”

How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?

“The interdisciplinary education I received within international political economy and economics allowed me to look at the world with varied perspectives and better understand how economic, political, and social systems work throughout the world.”

What's your favorite Carthage memory?

“Carthage gave me opportunities to explore other countries and cultures through J-Term study tours. Some of my favorite memories from college are from J-Term trips abroad to Turkey and Guatemala, and not just because I had exciting experiences. I not only learned about other societies and cultures, but I learned more about myself. These memories have, in a way, shaped my personal identity and life direction.”

Tips for current Carthage students?

Don’t limit your potential based on what you know. Find multiple faculty members and staff to be your mentors, and soak up as much of their experiential knowledge as you can. When I started at Carthage, I had only been on a plane once, had never traveled internationally, had never heard of the Fulbright Program, and had never considered a career in international development because it was a world so far from my upbringing in rural Minnesota. Carthage opened doors for me – and I stepped through those doors due to the support of my Carthage mentors. I didn’t know what to expect or where to go next, but Carthage gave me the confidence that I would be able to figure it out as I went through resourcefulness and by being equipped with the skills I needed to adapt.”

Are you a Carthage graduate who is excelling in your field?