Our Malone Scholars Out in the World

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We revisit Kayce Coulterpark '07

From the Fall 2011 Caller

In 2005 Catlin Gabel received a great boost of $2 million from the Malone Family Foundation to establish the Malone Scholars program. Selection for the grant was an unexpected honor: the school was chosen by the Malone Foundation as part of its small roster of independent schools that meet its rigorous criteria. Funds from this endowment grant have supplied financial aid for 15 Middle and Upper School students so far, selected by the school for their exceptional academic motivation and capability, as well as financial need. Kayce Coulterpark ’07 was one of our first Malone Scholars, and here we find out what she’s been up to since her graduation.

Kayce Coulterpark ’07 was fascinated by her senior year classes at Catlin Gabel in advanced physics and chemistry. “Every day I would drive home with my sister and could not stop talking about the cool things I had learned that day, and how they explained a little more about how the world works,” she says. “Thinking about those worldly applications (or explanations, if you will) is what first drew me to science.” Kayce brought that curiosity about science to her studies at Oregon State University. During her sophomore year she worked at a lab in the Linus Pauling Institute, and at the end of that year she “settled” on a major in chemistry. But as she got involved in the student chemistry club, the field grew into a passion for her. She designed an upper-division chemistry laboratory experiment for her University Honors College thesis project, which will be included in a textbook written by the leader of her physical chemistry lab.
Kayce discovered another real passion at OSU: teaching. She started volunteering in a university program to teach science and math to local elementary, middle, and high school students. She loved the experience, along with her position as writing assistant in the OSU Center for Writing and Learning. The summer before her junior year Kayce spent five weeks volunteering as a teacher in a kindergarten in Peru. “The thing I love most about teaching is watching students struggle with something, sometimes for a painfully long time, but finally seeing that light bulb go off when they get it and will never forget either the concept or their struggle toward understanding,” says Kayce.
After completing her thesis this summer, Kayce married Richard Hawks, whom she had met at OSU, and traveled to Venezuela for their honeymoon. This fall she’s back at OSU, working in her physical chemistry lab and the Center for Writing and Learning as well as other outreach programs, designing another experiment, and co-authoring a paper on some of the lab’s work. She and her husband will move in January for five months to Missouri, where he will be commissioned in the Army and she will teach or work in research at Missouri University. They plan to return to the Pacific Northwest, where Kayce hopes to earn a master’s in education from the University of Washington and eventually teach in high schools. “That is the age at which students have matured to the point that you can really reach out to them and teach them something, especially those things they have convinced themselves they could never understand,” she says.
Kayce took away from Catlin Gabel an appreciation for the power of community. “The support of the teachers (my own teachers as well as others) and staff both within and outside of the school was the most memorable and helpful for my college career,” she says. “A sense of community is something that never ends, and being included in that even though I only attended Catlin Gabel for two short years was very precious.”