Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Mugeria

Catherine Mugeria grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. She says it is a great country with better (than Chicago) weather and beautiful scenery. Her parents still live there while her sister lives in the United Kingdom and her brother lives in Florida.

After high school, Catherine moved to the United States to attend college. She chose DePaul University because it has a good program in her area of interest (math). She ended up graduating with a double major in finance and economics.

What made her undergraduate experience interesting is that Catherine went to school full-time and worked full-time. Because of financial reasons, she had to do this in order to pay her tuition. She worked for GE until she graduated in 2005.

Catherine’s first job out of college was in the finance department at Kraft Foods. She worked her way up in the organization before recently leaving to join a consulting firm. To be successful in the field of finance, Catherine says you have to be good at math, you have to be detail-oriented, and you have to have good communication skills. Your main responsibilities are to prepare budgets, close the books for each month, and communicate numbers to senior members of the executive staff.

Part of why Catherine is interested in volunteerism is that she wants to see more minorities in the finance area. “[Youth] are intimidated by numbers and so they don’t pursue that,” she concludes. Catherine first expressed interest in Cabrini Connections in 2008 before finally being paired up with Khaliyah Jones in 2010.

“At first, you don’t know what to expect,” says Catherine, “but now I feel that I’m easing in. I’m really connecting with my mentee. I look forward to coming every Wednesday.” Her tip for getting to know your student is: make him or her at ease. Ask what your mentee did over the weekend and share your contact information up front. She told Khaliyah, “You can reach me any time.”

Catherine’s advice for students is to focus on your English skills. As you progress further in your education, if you consider graduate school, your reading and writing skills will be critically important. She also says, “Be smart about picking your [undergraduate] school. The alumni network and school name goes a long way.”

Catherine’s hobbies include running (She has completed marathons in Chicago and San Francisco), traveling (She has been to Dubai, Europe, Tanzania, Uganda, and Bahrain), and meeting new people. “I enjoy getting to know different cultures outside of my own,” she says. “It has helped me adapt to this country.”

Look out for Catherine on Wednesday nights and as the captain of Cabrini Madness team "Running for Cabrini." Congratulations on reaching the spotlight!


  1. Nice story of a nice person giving back.

  2. Nice to hear someone helping the younger students get through school's hardest subject.