Alumna Spotlight: Katie Anastas ’14

Care of the Dear Neighbor Without Distinction

By Jeanette Handelsman ‘64, Alumnae Engagement Coordinator

At OLP, Katie Anastas ‘14 was instrumental in bringing the needs of the “dear neighbor” in our local and global communities to the attention of her fellow students. It’s no surprise that in college, she ended up helping Turkish refugees in Germany adapt to their homes during a four-week study abroad program.

Katie graduated magna cum laude this past spring from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a minor in Spanish. She views journalism as a way to continue the social justice focus that OLP encouraged her to cultivate. “I think I learned early on that as a journalist, I wanted to focus on stories that were in different communities and I wanted to tell stories that wouldn’t have reached a larger audience if I wasn’t writing about it,” Katie said. “(Journalism) reminds me of the value of being on the ground, working with people.”

As Katie approached the completion of her studies this past winter, it seemed “right up her alley” to continue her work for social justice by enrolling in a summer program in Berlin, Germany, working to provide support to refugees as they began their new life in their new country. Katie worked specifically with Turkish refugees, who fled their homeland because of religious discrimination. She helped them adapt to a new language and culture and as they obtained employment, health care and needed support for their families. In addition, she did individual research on the general topic of immigrant assimilation and adaptation that allows for the preservation of individual cultures.

Her research hasn’t stopped since graduating, either. She is currently a Research Associate in the History Department at the University of Washington, working on a project called “Mapping American Social Movements.” She has mapped the American Farm Workers, Student Nonviolent, and Underground Press movements that happened in the 1960-70s. Now, she is investigating the Women’s Suffragette movement.

She attributes her success at the collegiate and professional level to the training she received during her four years at OLP. “OLP taught me how to make the most of every moment you have and that was very valuable,” Katie said. She is also grateful to her Spanish instructor, Mr. Gilberto Moreno, for not only cultivating her love of the Spanish language but for providing excellent preparation for her collegiate studies in this subject.

Her passion for social justice and the CSJ mission was cultivated through Mr. Jeff Kirschbaum, who taught her Social Justice class and moderated the Peace Commission club. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism, perhaps combining her writing skills with her passion for social justice by working in the nonprofit field. She is also considering graduate school.

Katie’s younger sister, Lauren Anastas ‘18, is the President-Designate of the 2017-18 Council of 10. Together, these sisters form a mutual admiration society: both very proud of each other’s accomplishments, as sisters should be!

We’re proud of Katie’s accomplishments thus far, and can’t wait to see how she carries the spirit of OLP message’s to those “dear neighbors” so in need of our care.