“Anthropology is fun, exciting, always changing. It really gives you a new perspective and impacts how you see the world.”
"I love hearing people's stories."
That compassion for others led Katie Aultman '13 to the field of anthropology and an undergraduate career devoted to reaching out to an often unheard community.
Aultman is the student leader of TUTORS, a Transylvania organization that runs an after-school tutoring and mentoring program for refugee children. "It's been really challenging, but I love seeing people on our campus wanting to get involved, tutoring for the first time, and wanting to come back," she said. "It's really rewarding."
To Aultman, the program is more than a chance to volunteer. It's a chance for mutual growth.
"It's wonderful to impact a child's life," Aultman says. "I always love the first day back each semester. One day four kids literally jumped on me in excitement. That was one of the happiest days of my life."
Having been involved in TUTORS for three years, Aultman has helped facilitate a program in which refugee children do more than improve their English and study skills—they form a bond. "They love the volunteers," she says.
Aultman's devotion to helping the refugees of Lexington extends beyond TUTORS. She's also an intern with the Kentucky Refugee Ministries. "Hearing people's stories has given me a bigger picture of refugees' situations coming to America," she says. "It's really good to think about how outsiders see American culture and how they react to it."
Aultman's passion for people's stories keeps her enthusiastic about Transylvania. "Transylvania has a great global perspective," she says. "The school, and especially the anthropology program, is good at forcing us to look around the world and see what needs to be improved. People are challenged to change things that upset them."
What doesn't upset Aultman is the path she has taken. "I only wish I had discovered anthropology sooner," she admits. "Life is short. You should really just do what you love, what challenges you, and what makes you want to know more."
Katie Aultman is doing what she loves. People around the world have stories that are going unheard, but she is listening.