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by Abi DobsonStudent Contributor

When Katherine Mason, a senior kinesiology major, was young, her mom was active in volunteering and took Katherine to several volunteer events led by her local church and school. Growing up around those events, she saw their impact on her community, and she knew she would always want to take part in them. During her time at ALC, Katherine has been given the opportunity to further her passion for volunteering.

Alice Lloyd College has given Katherine the opportunity to help others in a different community. Back home in Bristol, Tennessee, Katherine volunteers with the Girl Scouts of the Appalachians, where she helps fulfill the mission of Girl Scouts by building girls of courage, confidence, and character.  She is a registered volunteer and tries to help with weekend events such as DIY Summer Day Camp, Christmas Craft Day, and the many events during Cookie Season. From volunteering with Girl Scouts to volunteering at ALC, Katherine learned that although the people were unfamiliar, deep down, they were the same. Being on campus, Katherine has also discovered volunteer projects do not need to be extensive and elaborate; they can be small, kind acts like helping a student on campus find resources they need. She states, “I can interact with people on a daily basis more than I can go out in a community. I have noticed some of the little things can make the biggest difference.”

Katherine further develops her volunteering skills by participating in ALC’s Leadership Education program. The Leadership Program contains aspects of leadership philosophy, citizenship, and cultural development, which build upon a strong traditional liberal arts academic program. To be selected for the program, students are required to have completed Leadership 101 and The Bridge Program. Once in, students must attend four leadership seminars, attend workshops, and have forty hours in community service documented from outside the program. Katherine states, “My favorite part of the Leadership Education Program is learning leadership skills within everyday activities like community service or attending a convocation.”

ALC is one of the ten work colleges in America; all students are required to work at least ten hours a week to help offset the cost of tuition. Katherine completes her hours in Career Services, where she helps organize convocations for ALC’s Convocation Program. The Convocation Program brings in speakers from various careers and backgrounds to help enrich students’ lives academically, spiritually, and culturally. Students are required to attend six convocations, but several are offered throughout the semester to provide a wide variety of speakers. Organizing the speakers, greeting them, serving them, and marking students present, and tracking their progress is the significant task Katherine undertakes. She says of her work-study, “I believe the work-study program is helping me prepare for the future by teaching me professional skills that I will need in the workforce, and it also helps teach me time management.”

After graduation, Katherine plans to attend Physical Therapy School and return to the area to practice her profession. She states, “I have seen the need for people to return, and this obvious need has increased my desire to stay in the area.” While working towards her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Katherine has been on the Dean’s list and participated in the Allied Health Club and Voices of Appalachia. While she has gained several fond memories and valuable experiences, she claims her best time on campus was meeting her husband, Cory Mason.  For almost one hundred years, Alice Lloyd College has given students like Katherine the opportunity to serve and lead their communities.