Alumni Profile: Katie Brown

Name: Katie Brown

Program: Ford Opportunity Scholar, class of 2011

Undergraduate school: Oregon State University

Hometown: Lake Zurich, IL

Currently Reside: Corvallis, OR

During school, I lived and worked for three months in Chilian, Chile. The intent of my work in Chile was to organize and analyze 17 years of hydrologic data. This was in support of a long-standing collaboration in hydrology between OSU and the scientists of Chillán over those 17 years.  We performed exploratory analysis of the precipitation-runoff-soil moisture relationships.

I love to travel and experience new things! This was an excellent opportunity to be immersed in a different culture and significantly improve my Spanish skills while at the same time apply my ecological engineering skills in a real life setting.  I think it is critical to get out of my bubble of reality to have a better perspective on the world and humanity.

I really missed my two kids!!! I also missed the ability to speak easily and fluently to people. It felt a little lonely at times because I was unable to really connect with people using my extremely limited vocabulary.

I highly recommend working abroad. To me it felt very different than just visiting or vacationing.  I was able to really experience life as a “local” in Chillán and that was a priceless experience. The family I lived with was wonderful and I became quite good friends with them, especially the mother. We had so much in common. I hope I get to spend time in Chillán again!