PITTSBURGH — Katie Winter will graduate from Carlow University this spring with two bachelor’s degrees – one in accounting and one in art. What seems like an unusual combination, however, was the result of creative thinking and a minor plot twist.
Winter’s story began freshman year as a business major, but her academic advisors showed her she could fuse her interest in art and business to realize her dream of working in administration at a large art museum.
“When I first came to Carlow, I knew I was interested in arts management; I just didn’t know what that looked like,” she said. “Through course work, and especially internships, I grew an interest in the way arts organizations support and strengthen a community. I developed more specific interests in the funding and development of arts organizations.”
She kept her hand in art, continuing to create mixed-media paintings incorporating fabric and embroidery, and switched to accounting from business. Night and online classes, and the school’s acceptance of transfer credits from community college summer classes, helped Winter complete both degrees in four years. She picked up real-world experience at internships at two Pittsburgh accounting firms, Sisterson & Co. LLP, and Grossman Yanak & Ford LLP, where she’s been for three semesters.
She’s received two job offers in public accounting but turned down both to pursue a master’s in arts and nonprofit management. After getting accepted to seven grad schools, she chose Carnegie Mellon University’s Master’s in Arts Management through their Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. She plans to start this fall.
Winter, 22, grew up in Pittsburgh’s South Hills graduating from Baldwin High School with 400 classmates, much larger than her Carlow graduating class.
“I was looking at other colleges, but I came across Carlow in my search and liked how small it was but still in the heart of Oakland. It was an unexpected thing,” Winter said. “I liked Carlow the best and it was the most affordable, too.”
Winter spent three years living on Carlow’s campus, nestled on a hillside above the hustle and bustle of Fifth Avenue traffic, before getting an off-campus apartment senior year. She took advantage of the many activities sponsored by campus groups, academic programs and the Sisters of Mercy.
She gave campus tours and assisted students in the career development office; built houses in Texas during Alternative Spring Break; worked with special needs adults for a summer in Sligo, Ireland, with Carlow Cares; co-led Carlow Mercy Leaders; and competed on the cross-country team.
“It’s so fulfilling, all the things you can do that are social justice driven,” she said. “At Carlow, you can have a hand in something bigger.”
Winter’s accounting advisor and professor, Diane Matthews Ph.D., said Katie made the most of her college experience.
“Although good grades were always a priority, she participated in activities that interested her, and before long, she was involved in clubs, sports, mentoring, tutoring and internships,” Matthews said. “Katie is proof that students can leave Carlow with an excellent resume, and experiences that last a lifetime.”
Winter agreed. “Carlow has given me the opportunity to explore all my interests and develop a community-based mindset that I will always carry with me,” Winter said.