Monday, November 2, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Katie Nolan

Katie Nolan grew up in Glen Ellyn, IL, a western suburb of Chicago, before moving to Rock Island, IL, in 1999 to attend Augustana College. Katie spent a lot of time in the library studying for her English and French majors, so much time, in fact, that she became interested in librarianship. After two years of graduate study at The University of Maryland, Katie earned a Master of Library and Information Science degree, providing her with the foundation for a professional career in information activities. She now works at Morton Grove Public Library as an Adult Reference Librarian. She sits at the reference desk and answers any questions that people may have. She also teaches beginner level computer classes to senior citizens.

As you might suspect, Katie reads a lot in her spare time. She is really into young adult books, which means that she is up-to-date with the Twilight series and is looking forward to New Moon later this month. She has two cats (Sonya and Criton) and one husband (Scott) who asked her out on her last day of work at Borders Bookstore Cafe. I guess good things happen when she's around books!

At Cabrini Connections, Katie is a College Zone Coordinator on Wednesday nights. She heard about our program from her sister, third-year mentor Jen Nolan. So far, Katie describes her time as "fantastic" and appreciates the added benefit of weekly time with her sister. She meets with different students each week to assess their plans for getting into college (or high school). For 10th graders it may mean discussing test-taking strategies for the ACT. For 12th graders it means reviewing college applications and searching for financial aid.

Overall, Katie is very impressed by the motivation of our students ("I'm very impressed that they're willing to talk to me, and I'm impresed that they have clear visions of their future."), but she wants to make sure she reaches those students who may be ambivalent ("I wish I heard from more kids that are waffling."). She would like to remind everyone that the College Zone has an open door policy. "We don't expect you to know what you want to do," she says. "You can just talk to us for 10 minutes if you'd like." So if you're interested in high school, college, and/or a career (I know you are), set up an appointment with Katie, Carla or Stephanie in the College Zone today!

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