When given the choice between a career in finance or journalism, the decision came down to passion for Kat McAlpine.
“I realized a punch-in, punch-out cubicle job wasn’t going to fulfill my need to feel what I was doing was meaningful in a larger sense,” Kat, who spent a year workings in sales at 19, said. “I needed to be able to invest myself emotionally in my work, to be passionate about my career.”
An itch to do “something that mattered” led her to earn a degree in both journalism and anthropology at the University in Connecticut in May. It also led her to Washington, D.C. this summer to intern with Smithsonian Magazine.
As someone who’s always been curious about everything, particularly global health, cultural issues and scientific research, the internship was a perfect fit.
“It’s just surreal that my job is to go and soak in all these interesting exhibits and blog about them. It’s so much fun,” she says.
These days, when she’s not writing about ocean acidity or scouring her twitter feed for headlines, she’s probably out in the city meeting people.
“The best part about going out (in D.C.) is wondering what sorts of interesting people you will meet that night,” she says. “It’s incredibly refreshing to be in such a forward-thinking atmosphere.”
It’s an atmosphere she hopes to stay in as the recent graduate is currently in search for a job. Forced to face this economy and job market, Kat responds with the kind of bright optimism that tells you know she’s had her stint in the business world.
“I actually think the economy is on the upswing,” she says. “Employers have adjusted to the climate and are re-focusing their efforts to talented, passionate people.”
And so far, she says she’s had some positive interviews.
By Christina Downs, ASME Intern, AARP The Magazine
BONUS: It’s not all business for Kat. Married with a love of research and information is a passion for—you guessed it—her crock pot. In closing, here’s a recipe for one of Kat’s favorite crock pot concoctions, chicken parmigiana.
Crock Pot Chicken Parmigiana by Kat J. McAlpine
“Chicken Parmigiana is amazing in a crock pot. It’s super easy, too.”
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2.5-3 hours
3-4 breaded or lightly sauteed chicken breasts
Fresh mozzarella (as much as you like)
Minced or roasted garlic
One jar of your favorite red sauce
Mushrooms of choice, chopped
1-1/2 American eggplant, peeled and chopped
Place the cooked chicken breasts in the crock pot. Create a layer of mozzarella and garlic. Then pour the red sauce with the mushrooms, eggplant and basil. For extra pizazz, sprinkle feta or goat cheese on top. Set the crock pot on high and cook for about 2 and a half to three hours, depending on the size of the chicken breasts.