Abraham Lincoln statue on Carthage College?s campus.
Katherine Schlinder

Katherine Schlinder

Class Year

’15

Current home

Geneva, Switzerland

Major(s)

International Political Economy, Spanish, Economics

Current Position

Consultant at International Trade Centre in Geneva, Switzerland

By the time Katherine Schlinder graduated from Carthage in 2015, she was already quite accomplished. She had successfully completed three majors: international political economy, economics, and Spanish. She had studied abroad during J-Terms in Guatemala, China, Nicaragua, and Peru. She had performed in the Carthage Wind Orchestra and was the recipient of a Music Scholarship, Hay Scholarship, the Merle and Eunice Boyer Social Science Scholarship, and the Carthage College Faculty Honor Scholarship.

But for Ms. Schlinder, Carthage was just a great start. In June 2017, she completed her dissertation for her master’s degree in international development. She recently accepted a contract position with the International Trade Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The centre is a joint agency of the UN and WTO to promote trade-related technical assistance, along with small and medium enterprise development.

“My combination of international political economy, economics, and Spanish gave me the necessary quantitative and qualitative skills to further grow and expand my experiences through my academic and consulting projects in my current graduate program.

Katherine Schlinder, ’15

What have you enjoyed most about your career?

“As a graduate student, I loved challenging myself to expand my conceptualizations of different issues and to approach complex matters from a variety of perspectives. The Graduate Institute is truly an international environment, and I loved that I was constantly learning new ideas from the other students at the Institute, even if it was during a coffee break. Plus, being centrally located in Europe made it that much easier to go out and experience the cultures and perspectives that we may talk about in class.”

How did Carthage prepare you?

“Together with my study abroad experiences, the interdisciplinary nature of my studies at Carthage truly helped prepare me to tackle international development from a more nuanced perspective. My combination of international political economy, economics, and Spanish gave me the necessary quantitative and qualitative skills to further grow and expand my experiences through my academic and consulting projects in my current graduate program.

“I then was able to apply much of what I learned through study tours around the world and this helped solidify my interest in the development and my current field.

“Additionally, the advising and recommendations from my faculty advisers, Art Cyr, Ed Montanaro, and Ron Cronovich were invaluable as I made decisions concerning undergraduate projects and ultimately in my final decision regarding graduate school. In conjunction with my studies, these faculty advisers encouraged me to pursue my interest in international development through international travel and research projects, and supported me through my process of finding and getting accepted into the graduate schools of my choice.”

How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?

“My current work focuses on developing sustainable, economic opportunities in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. This is a very complex environment, for example, the security risks are high, work permits for refugees are difficult to obtain, and the camp is located in a remote part of Kenya. To operate in these settings, we need to work closely with a range of actors- humanitarian actors, UN agencies, and the private sector. Coming from a liberal arts background allows me to consider where each actor is coming from and to identify the key inputs from each perspective in order to form a complete picture of the challenge we are trying to solve.”

What's your favorite Carthage memory?

“Freshmen year, I went on a month-long J-Term study tour to Guatemala to study sustainable development and to improve my Spanish language skills. This trip completely changed the trajectory of my career as it sparked my interest and enthusiasm for international development.

“Other study tours to China, Nicaragua, and Peru were incredible experiences that solidified my love for new cultures and languages and helped me create lifelong friendships and grow both personally and academically. I will always remember the people I met, the friendships I made, and the adventures that I had on these trips.

Christmas Festival was also one of my favorite experiences at Carthage. I played oboe/English horn in Wind Orchestra and for the performances of the Christmas Festival, the entire Music Department came together and joined forces to create an incredible celebration of music. I will never forget the chills and sense of unity that I felt every time as the entire chapel full of people joined with the choirs and bands in singing the final carols at the end of each performance.”

Tips for current Carthage students?

“Engage with the international community as often as you can. People with different opinions or backgrounds can be powerful teachers and give you new perspectives on what constitutes normal or feasible. Pursue diverse experiences whenever possible because it helps you grow personally and academically.”


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