Kaitlyn “Kat” Hippe
Kaitlyn Hippe is this month’s student spotlight as one of the Council’s outstanding scholarship recipients for 2021. Congratulations to Kaitlyn, who also goes by the name Kat, as she receives $2,000 to support her continuing education.
The Milwaukee 19-year-old will be a sophomore at Calvin University in Michigan this fall where she is working on a double major in Chinese and Spanish with a minor in German.
Kat hopes to combine her passion for languages with her desire to help others. She has a long-term goal to establish resources for students with special needs in other countries.
Council writer Teri Barr talked with Kat to learn more about her plans and how she also wants to break what she describes as “stereotypes” about people who are visually impaired.
Teri: Why did you choose to continue your education?
Kat: I still have so much to learn, and I really want to do something with my life! When I started college, I felt like it was my only way out. It is so hard to find employment as a blind individual, and I hope college will help with that.
Teri: You have some incredible work goals, post-college. Tell me about what you want to do and why?
Kat: I plan to work as an interpreter / translator. I have always loved languages, and I want to help break down any communication barriers between people.
Teri: I want to ask you about something in your scholarship application. You wrote “the drive to be something more keeps me working toward a future where I am no longer a helpless blind stereotype.” Can you explain these feelings?
Kat: I wrote this because there is a stereotype and I want to be more than a blind person who didn’t try to do something with her life. People meet me and automatically make assumptions about what I can and cannot do. My need is to be more than the embodiment of those wrong assumptions and it’s my primary motivation for passionately continuing my education.
Teri: You must be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far?
Kat: I am because I know how much it has taken me to get here. College can be a difficult time both socially and emotionally. I am proud I want my degree enough to stay and earn it.
Teri: What should we remember about you as a scholarship recipient?
Kat: If there is one thing to remember about me, it is my appreciation for this scholarship. It means so much to be supported by people who believe in me. College is a transitional period in more ways than one. But it’s where I am learning about resilience, advocacy, and about the importance of having faith in yourself. Of course, education is a crucial component but much of the learning is about yourself, too. I think some of those lessons are often the most important.