Kourtney Koch chose CMU for her undergraduate degree because of the experiences she could have and the scholarship she was awarded through the Honors Program. She chose CMU for her graduate program because she had the opportunity to help build the Student Food Pantry and give back to the community that helped her grow.
"I was challenged and given an opportunity that allowed me to create great experiences for myself," Kourtney said.
Throughout her time as an undergrad, Kourtney was actively involved on campus. She worked in the Volunteer Center, led Alternative Breaks, was a campus ambassador and studied abroad.
But her true passion has been working to create, establish and run the Student Food Pantry.
"The biggest success and challenge at CMU has been helping to build and run the Student Food Pantry," she said. "It was challenging to get started but has been very successful and allowed the CMU community to come together to offer a great resource for its students."
The CMU Student Food Pantry's goal is to alleviate the challenges and hardships of food insecurity that many CMU students encounter during their academic career. They're also working to dispel the false assumption that all college students have access to food.
Kourtney's time as a graduate student has mirrored her undergraduate experience.
"I have been given the opportunity to earn a master's degree alongside passionate, like-minded students and professionals who challenge me for the better," she said. "I've been able to make connections with CMU students, faculty, staff and community members that have helped shape my graduate experience."
As a freshman, Kourtney came to CMU hoping to connect with new people and earn a degree that would set her up for a successful future. Now, she's working to set up her fellow students and community members for success.
"I have built a community and a network for myself at CMU that I will maintain for the rest of my career," Kourtney said.
"I have created memories that I will cherish, and I have learned and grown through the opportunities presented to me. I have gained skills that I can implement in my career and have grown into an active citizen."