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Katy Gresh ’02

Katy GreshKatherine “Katy” Gresh is a graduate of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences with a major in Journalism and a minor in Political Science.

Graduating in 2002, she went to work as a reporter for the Indiana Gazette, then made the move into state government—first, serving as a staffer in the Pennsylvania Treasury’s Pittsburgh regional office, followed by some time as a writer in Governor Rendell’s Correspondence Office in Harrisburg.

She then moved on to serve as a communications assistant for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.

In March, she returned to Pittsburgh to work as a community relations coordinator for the Department of Environmental Protection’s southwest regional office.

How involved were you as a student at IUP?

One of the first things I did as a freshman was join Student Congress, which made me feel more in tune with what was happening all over campus and offered a great way to make a difference. I stuck with that all through college and, for one year, served as vice president and vice chairperson of the University Senate.

I also loved being an RA (in two buildings that are now, of course, gone—but there are beautiful structures in their place!), making fantastic friendships and learning a lot about teamwork and building community. And, I enjoyed writing for The Penn and working for a summer as news editor—the saying was true that they didn’t require experience; they gave it.

Like all students, I got a lot out of what I learned in class at IUP and still use it; but I’ve always been very grateful that I took the time to get involved in things outside the classroom. Those experiences have served me well and, I’m sure, always will.

You give your time to IUP to help with social networking events, mostly, and the sports card show. What inspired you to give your time to this activity?

I have a lot of really great memories from my years at IUP, so I loved the idea of not only reconnecting with people I knew in college, but also meeting a lot of new people, people with whom I knew I would have at least one thing in common—that we’d all spent a few fantastic years at IUP.

How much time in a year do you give to IUP?

With help and support from the university’s Alumni Relations Office, it doesn’t require a great deal of time outside of the events to assist with planning them—a couple phone calls, a few e-mails, a little set-up in advance; and then the fun starts.

As far as getting other folks involved in the network between events, it’s simply a matter of approaching someone who’s wearing an IUP sweatshirt—or, being introduced by a mutual friend—offering my contact information and encouraging them to register on the website to be notified of what’s happening in the area. It only takes a few minutes!

What would you tell other alumni about this experience?

The alumni events and the people who go to them are an incredible resource—whether you’re looking for a new job, a gang to watch football with, a buddy for the gym, anything at all. In the four years I’ve lived in Harrisburg, I’ve made some of my very closest friends through these events.

And meeting IUP alumni from previous decades is inspiring—to see what they’ve done with their lives, all they’ve accomplished, how connected they still feel to their college years, and how much they appreciate what they’ve gained from IUP. I think we all hope to someday feel that kind of success and fulfillment, personally and professionally.

Is there some favorite moment or some inspiration that you have from doing this activity?

Whether planning or attending, I can’t think of any IUP alumni event that wasn’t fun. Career networking, for instance—which may feel like more of a task than a party in other groups—is always a blast.

But one of the most fun times that comes to mind was when, in October 2007, The Clarks played Gullifty’s in Camp Hill. What a night! The members of the band are, of course, four of the coolest guys who ever went to our alma mater—so needless to say, it was an awesome show. But it was more than that. You remember how it felt to be on campus—as though it was big enough that you could meet someone new every day, but small enough that you never felt like just another face in the crowd? Getting to talk to scores of IUP alumni and making lasting connections that night gave me a really good feeling about just how wide, yet close-knit, this network is. It’s great to be a part of it!

Profile published on 3/19/09

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