Mar. 28, 2017

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Kalamazoo, MI

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Est. 1877

Alumni Update

Alumni Q&A: Emily Kotz K’15

Emily Kotz K’15 works with Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle, Washington (Photo courtesy of Emily Kotz)
By

Q: What have you been up to since graduating?

Immediately after graduating I took the summer off, and dare I say it, moved back home! Even though a part of me wished I could have stayed in Kalamazoo for the summer, and I even had a part time job lined up in order to stay, I ended up deciding that I needed a break completely to figure out what I wanted to do next. I want to stress that to current seniors: do not force yourself into believing you need to jump right into something after graduation.

Q: What do you do for work now?

I am an AmeriCorps Youth Programs Assistant at Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle, Washington, a non-profit bicycling organization. I assist with managing and implementing all of Cascade’s school-based bicycle education programs. I get to spend my time thinking about how to best teach kids how to ride their bikes smart and safely at after school bicycle clubs. I have also learned how to best teach kids how to ride a bike. Do not hold onto their seat!

Q: How did you get into your line of work?

In my last quarter at K, I took three advanced classes at the same time and I was finishing my SIP. I also had my bike in Kalamazoo for the first time.  Anytime I had the chance I would ride my bike. I saw how commuting by bike, simply from my house a few minutes away to campus, brought my day and mood up immediately. Keeping this in mind when I searched for AmeriCorps positions in line with environmental education, I stumbled upon Cascade’s work with bicycling advocacy and education.

Q: How did your time at K prepare you for this job?

I majored in English and minored in Environmental Science at K, and the counter-balance of those two disciplines has helped me immensely. Shout out to learning time and again how to manage what feels like twenty weeks of work into ten week quarters. But, without a hint of sarcasm or exaggeration, nearly everything I did at K has helped prepare me for this job.

Q: What advice do you have for students who are graduating in June?

Relax, trust yourselves, you are all brilliant and will find yourselves in amazing places by this time next year.

Q: What’s next for Emily Kotz?

Finding another position related to the fields of urban planning, bicycle advocacy, youth development, preferably all three combined. If in Seattle, so be it, but Michigan is always home.

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