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RMU Grad Represents Pittsburgh at One Young World Conference

Katie Kirkpatrick '08

Katie Kirkpatrick ’08 doesn’t have TV or the Internet at home. But that doesn’t mean she’s not connected to the outside world.

Katie was recently one of 29 young professionals chosen to represent Pittsburgh at the One Young World forum in Zurich, Switzerland, September 1-4. She joined more than 1,300 other young professionals from around the world in this annual leadership development conference, which provides a forum for discussion on major world issues and features high-profile speakers such as South African archbishop Desmond Tutu and humanitarian/musician Bob Geldof.

Local nonprofits like the Pittsburgh Foundation and Pittsburgh Promise sent representatives to the forum, as did local corporations like PNC Financial Services Group, Federated Investors, UPMC, K&L Gates, and Alcoa. Katie was one of two representatives sent by Bayer, where she works as a communications representative.

Back in the early spring, Rebecca Lucore, executive director of Bayer Foundation and the developer of the One Young World Pittsburgh Partnership, wanted to increase the number of delegates from the city in an effort to try to draw the forum to Pittsburgh for 2012. She thought Katie was an ideal candidate because of her “commitment to the community and to developing those around her.”

The River Limmat

“We knew that she would really benefit from the kind of dialogue the conference provides,”  says Lucore. “and that she would bring that experience back here and use it in influential ways.”

Originally from Johnston, Pa., Katie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Robert Morris University with a double bachelor’s degree in communications and English. She also played on the women’s soccer team from 2004-07. This past April she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from RMU’s School of Education and Social Sciences.

And she couldn’t have been more excited to be selected for this unique opportunity.

“The world is becoming more of a global society and marketplace,” she says. “I wanted to hear perspectives from other young people from other countries who are also motivated and inspired to change the world.”

Within the first few hours of arriving in Zurich, Katie, who tweeted about the event via @KatieKirkpat, knew this was going to be a life-changing experience.

“You could feel the energy in the room and the potential power to make the world a better place.”

One of her favorite presenters was Jamie Oliver, star of the BBC’s “The Naked Chef” and the Emmy Award-winning “Jamie’s Food Revolution” (ABC). Oliver gave a presentation about the importance of nutrition literacy.

“People need to know about the importance of good nutrition,” she says. “Here at Bayer they teach science literacy to benefit people in the same way. The importance of educating our youth, the future generations and leaders of tomorrow, really hit home with me.”

Zurich streetscape

Without a doubt she says the most valuable part of the trip for her was the relationships she established with other people across the world.

“I have already connected with them,” she says. “Right now I’m talking with around 15 who are already starting projects.”

The Pittsburgh delegation was also there to push to have the city named as the host site for the 2012 gather

“I thought that I was inspired before I left,” says Katie. “But the inspiration I feel now is greater than I could ever imagine.”ing. Thanks to their efforts, the The Burgh beat out Johannesburg, South Africa, for the third annual conference, which will take place October 18-22, 2012, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Oh, and by the way…a correction to what I wrote earlier: Katie does own a television; it’s just not connected to anything.

“I haven’t had cable in three years,” she says. “But I might break down, eventually.”


Written by Valentine J. Brkich

Katie’s global adventure is the kind of life-changing experience we want to make available to all RMU students. Please help us make this possible by donating to the President’s Fund for Engaged Learning.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. KJ #

    Katie Kirkpatrick is, in an essence, what any young person should strive to be: talented, hard working, professional, smart, kind, and above all, using her skills for the betterment of other people. She’s a fine example and role model for the students of RMU. Thank you for writing this story, and congratulations, Katie, on your absolutely stellar achievements.

    October 20, 2011

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