Skip to main content

Healing global communities

A celebrated humanitarian and inspiring global changemaker, Katie has traveled the world to find where she can make a difference. Founding two award-winning charities, she’s devoted her life to the pursuit of serving others as the highest form of love.

  • Major BA, Mass Communication
  • Work history Founder & Executive Director for Global Orphan Prevention Founder & Executive Director for Compass Rose International
  • Hometown Chicago, IL
  • How would you describe CMU? Intimate, Adventurous, Accessible, Experiential

A passion for purpose

Katie has spent her life bravely journeying where she is needed. She’s ventured to remote villages in the Himalayas and gone undercover to investigate the trafficking of missing girls. She’s volunteered at orphanages in India, constructed a school building and farming enterprise in Nepal and taught schoolchildren in Vietnam. And she’s turned a life-long calling to help others into two thriving charities.

And it all started at CMU, where Katie transferred to take advantage of the small class sizes and tight-knit community that the larger university she first attended couldn't offer. She was immediately drawn to the breathtaking nature that surrounded Grand Junction, and recalls that it was actually CMU’s Outdoor Program that not only satisfied her wanderlust, but provided her first volunteer opportunity during a five-week trip to East Africa. Katie described the trip, which included working at a preschool for orphans, as a mix of backpacking, soul searching and adventure — ultimately serving as the catalyst for her non-profit work.

If I stayed at the larger university, I don’t think I would be where I am today. I had to come to CMU for all of this to happen.

What CMU taught me

  1. The greatest lessons often aren’t taught in a classroom

  2. How to apply knowledge in real-world settings

  3. Education is an empowering humanitarian tool

  4. An enterprising mindset is a valuable asset

My Advice

Bigger isn’t better. A lot of parents want their kids to go to a big university for the credentials, but that doesn’t serve a lot of people. CMU is more experiential and kinesthetic, and the faculty are more available to their students.

Making her mark

That trip firmly set Katie’s humanitarian journey in motion. From there, Katie’s life became a whirlwind of volunteer experiences, from wildlife refuges to orphanages and everything in between. She became eager to find a cause where she could make a lasting, measurable impact. So, off she went again — this time to India and Nepal, where she identified a need to not only help orphans and trafficked persons, but put the root systems in place to prevent issues in the future. 

Through inspiring tales of helping mothers in Nepal invest in social enterprises so they could afford to keep their children, and constructing an education center in the Himalayas to decrease the need for trafficking, Katie detailed the journey to creating her first charity: Global Orphan Prevention. With a mission to prevent the trafficking of children through economic development, empowerment and education, Katie’s work with Global Orphan Prevention won national media attention and recognition at The Anthem Awards, honored among the likes of Jane Goodall, Trevor Noah and Richard Branson.

But Katie didn’t stop there. She went on to found another nonprofit, Compass Rose International, dedicated to empowering young women to become purpose-driven leaders. Now, as Executive Director of two charities, Katie does everything from fundraising and grant writing to traveling and keynote speaking. Wearing so many hats, she was grateful CMU gave her real-world experience in political science, TV production, marketing and public relations. Through it, she is creating a lasting legacy that will empower and uplift global communities for generations to come.

Article published January 2023

In Nepal, I remembered lessons from my political science classes at CMU around approaches to sustainable development. We decided to build an education center and work with locals so they could generate alternative forms of income instead of trafficking.

Read more stories

Check out more fascinating experiences from Colorado Mesa University Alumni.

View more Mavericks

Share your story

If you or someone you know has done great things after college submit a feature request and we’ll reach out for more info.

Nominate an Alumni