New Program Manager discusses global inspirations and making SLU her home
As a small town girl from Canton, NY, Katie Gauthier Donnelly is proof that sometimes small-town citizens can become global inspirations. The new Program Manager at SLU’s Center for Global Citizenship (CGC) as of October, Donnelly has been all over the states as well as the world, and now finds refuge in SLU’s international affairs.
“SLU is an institution full of students, educators, and scholars who know they can have a positive influence on their communities and in the larger world,” she said. “It is a fantastic environment for someone like me, who wants to bring more creative discussions about global citizenship to campus and to our larger community in St. Louis. I believe it is a timely and important pursuit.”
Before coming to SLU, Donnelly studied at Saint Lawrence University, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African Studies, and later on at the University of Oregon where she got her Master’s degree in International Development.
These educational experiences helped to shape her career and life paths as well as allow her to discover a fascination in international affairs.
“As an undergraduate I spent a semester in Kenya on a very intensive academic and experiential semester program – it changed my life, my understanding of the world and of my home community … and it made me curious. This curiosity has led me all over the United States and to a decade long relationship with East Africa.”
Since 2006, Donnelly has lead experiential service learning programs in Tanzania with National Geographic and their partner programs. She has served as a Rotary Scholar in Uganda, worked on international programs at four different universities, and worked with the international non-profit community. So essentially, there’s nothing small-town about her.
Regarding setbacks in her life, however, Donnelly admits that it’s never easy adjusting to a new place.
“Being an expatriate can be lonely, it isn’t always glamorous, and likewise, being new to a city in your home country can also be challenging – it takes time to build community.”
It would seem that so far, though, she likes it just fine in St. Louis. In between yoga, jogging and watching a lot of soccer (as she is the wife of a soccer coach), Donnelly is just as busy as during her years as a traveler and seems more than content with her work life at SLU. Commenting that she finds the CGC space “welcoming, lively, supportive and deeply collaborative,” Donnelly looks forward to seeing how the new CGC will evolve in the future and what new programs can be fostered to help engage students.
As for Donnelly’s dream job? She thinks she has arrived. “It took 10 years, but I think this might be it!”