Catie Bargerstock

Student Info

Graduation Year:
Spring 2015
Hometown:
East Lansing, Michigan

What have you done since graduating and where are you now?
After graduation I begin my term of national service as a Team Leader with Americorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). Teams are based in one of the five campuses across the country, I am based out of the Sacramento, CA campus, and deployed to service projects within the Pacific Region for almost a year of service. This program is unique from other Americorps programs in that you work with a team (8-13 people per team, all 18-24 years old) you live, learn, serve and travel with your team throughout the duration of your service commitment. The kind of service is you perform could be anything from trail work, to working with an after-school tutoring program to energy conservation. I am currently serving in Kalispell, MT serving with Habitat for Humanity Flathead Valley. If you feel like this program might be a good fit for you, please feel free to contact me directly, I am always happy to share more about my Americorps NCCC experience, or visit the website: provided under LINKS. 

How did RCAH prepare you for what you're doing now?
RCAH taught me how to not only articulate my own thoughts and values, but also how to go forward when my beliefs are being challenged. It is one thing to learn how to talk about what you already know, and that is an important skill, however having the tools to learn in an environment where you do not know anything is what helps you grow as a person.

What were your academic interests in RCAH?
I was very interested in learning about oppression and power, especially as it related to gender, race and class issues in the past and today. Additionally, many of my RCAH classes spent a lot of time discussing the importance of place and how place helps shape identity. In my current role with Americorps NCCC, reflecting on this topic has been especially important serving with a team of people from all over the country as well as serving in different areas of the Pacific Region.

What were your favorite aspects of the RCAH experience?
The single best thing about RCAH is the community you join. Michigan State University is a huge institution, and as an undergraduate is it easy to feel like a number. RCAH reminds you that you have a name and a face. It is a community of caring for not only each other, but also for cultivating passion. You are surrounded by some of the most ambitious and creative people you will ever met. There is no greater learning environment than one that consistently surrounds you with people who love what they are doing.

Did you ever take part in Study Abroad/Study Away at MSU?
I went on the Natural Science in New Zealand study abroad over winter break of 2014-2015. For me it was the perfect program to complete some of my science requirements. I originally wanted to do an RCAH study abroad, or a program within my other major, but ultimately I am glad I chose a different one because it allowed me to meet a lot of people I would not have otherwise run into or had classes with on campus. If you can study abroad you absolutely need to. You’ll find yourself learning about your program topic, and even more about yourself. I was hospitalized for a day on my program and it was still the best experience of my life, so you really cannot go wrong. Do your research and find a program that fits your needs, but it is well worth the work and absolutely worth every penny.

What words of wisdom do you have for current RCAH students?
Learn how to get comfortable with discomfort. You will not always know where you are going or what you want and that is ok. Explore what you like, or what you think you may like, and never be afraid to learn. Talk to people and try new things. And never feel like you are alone, every RCAH alum has been where you are now.