Alumni Highlight: Kathleen Sowder, Class of 2016

After graduating from Southside Christian School in 2016, Kathleen (pictured on the left) attended the University of South Carolina to study Political Science and French. She studied comparative politics in the Middle East and Africa and more specifically at francophone countries. She worked under two professors in her department, researching the legal actions civil societies take to hold the executive branch accountable. In her senior thesis, she researched more into the oversight and limitations of political accountability.

Kathleen has received several awards, including the Boren Scholarship through the National Security Education Program to participate in the Boren African Flagship Language Initiative (AFLI) for French and Wolof in Senegal and the Passport Travel Grant to study abroad in Morocco, among others. 

Kathleen has had opportunities to work as an orientation leader, a congressional intern in Tim Scott's office, a public policy intern with Keybridge DC, a team lead in the Admissions Office, and a volunteer for Gamecocks Aiding Refugees in Columbia (gARC). Through the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) and First Presbyterian College Ministry, she has grown in her understanding of who God is and the grace of the gospel.

She's most excited about being awarded the Boren Scholarship for Senegal. Boren Scholars commit to long term overseas immersive language study and to public service, working in positions critical to U.S. national security throughout the federal government, including the Departments of State, Defense, Homeland Security, and USAID. Students receive this award to further study languages and cultures that are critical to national security. Before she leaves for Senegal in January, she is enrolled in immersive language courses through the AFLI program. This award is a part of her larger goal to continue examining the factors contributing to national security in francophone Africa.

In her free time, Kathleen enjoys being outside, hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, and kayaking in Charleston. When she doesn't have a book in her hand, she's most likely listing to an NPR podcast, watching the newest sci-fi movie, or creating artwork. In the fall, you can find her cheering on the Gamecocks.

Kathleen says, "Southside challenged me to critically think through my worldview so that I could have a solid foundation for what I believe. Teachers at SCS invest a great deal of time to develop relationships with their students. For that reason, I felt supported and prepared to continue studying the subjects they made so interesting to me."