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My Manchester Story

Katie Peden

by Lauren Hughes | Jun 06, 2019
Katie Peden

Katie Peden, Senior Environmental Studies Major and Communication Studies Minor from North Manchester, Indiana                                                 

“Why did you decide to come to Manchester?”
“It was nice that it was close to home. At first it was like ‘Oh, that’s way too close to home,’ but the Environmental Studies’ program opportunities and even local farmers recommending it to me said a lot, and I was also able to continue playing Tennis. Also, financially it fit best as well, and the professors seemed really nice.”

“Why did you decide to study Environmental Studies?”
“I’ve grown up in agriculture and different things like that, and nowadays with the new conservation practices that are coming out that farmers have to apply to their fields, I wanted to see how I could take part in that [by] understanding how it’s affecting my family and the community. What can I do to be a middleman in helping people with that? That was as close of a fit as I could get to agriculture.”

“Have you had the opportunity to do any research or work on any projects?”
“After my freshman year I was able to work with Dr. Sweeten in the 319 Project, so I was able to do water chemistry and also biological surveys in the tributaries that feed into the Eel River and the Eel River itself. Then, throughout last summer and this year periodically, I’ve been working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which is a part of the Department of Agriculture, and I was able to see how to make conservation maps. I got to meet with some of the farmers in the Northeast area counties, seeing their point of views on what they think of different payment programs, and other things of the like, and realizing, ‘Oh, is this the right fit for me?’ So far, it’s been a good fit and I really like the people I work with.”

“What has been your favorite class so far at Manchester?”
“’Experiencing the Arts,’ even though I was told to avoid it like the plague (and we learned about the plague in that class). I enjoyed it a lot because Dr. Planer is just awesome, he was very passionate about what he did, and he cared about all of us in the class. I learned that Mozart sounds different from Beethoven, just because. This past summer for A Capella Choir we went to New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama, and we went to two basilicas there, and I was able to point out Christian iconography things—and I’m Catholic already—but it just helped. [I could point out] how the vaulting is, so realizing, ‘I could use this class, tell other people what’s going on!’ It makes traveling or looking at different things more fun or going to orchestras knowing what instruments sound like what. I enjoyed the class.”

“What is your favorite memory from your time at Manchester so far?”
“I guess a really funny memory was my freshman year, during Jan term, my friends and I went to the racquetball room, and I didn’t have any racquetball equipment, so I just brought my chemistry goggles and my tennis racket with me. I felt goofy but it was a lot of fun, and we switched around so I got to use the actual racquetball stuff. It was even funnier that we were in the glass one, so people were looking at us, but that was really fun. And my tennis teammates, of all the years I’ve played, have been really great, and just helping me with school stuff or anything that happens. We’re pretty close-knit.”

“What are you most looking forward to before you graduate?”
“Right now I’m taking ‘Environmental Science,’ ‘Physical Geology,’ and ‘Conservation Biology’ and they really play in to what I want to do, so it’s fun to actually have classes that will apply to what my career might be. Dr. Beyeler for Environmental Science is really applying what’s happening currently and how there’s different steps that we have to take to assess them, and how to appeal to the public or educate people on the issues, because you have to look before you leap on how to go about environmental issues and all the different factors that play into it, because it’s not just anthropocentric, there’s bio-centric and eco-centric, different type of things to look at. Some people are like ‘What do those words mean?’ and this is the stuff we’re passionate about, for us Environmental Studies majors. So it’s taking those passions into action, and that’s really neat.”

“What are your hobbies and interests?”
“I like to go fishing, and I like to watch or listen to basketball and volleyball games from around the area. My family and I usually go to tractor and car shows, or toy tractor shows and things like that. I also participate in the church choir here at St. Roberts. Growing up, the county fair was always the highlight of my summer, so that kind of still is, but it’s hard when I work and now I can only go at 5 o’clock, so everything’s almost done. I still get my Rich Valley tenderloin and ice cream and stuff like that, so that’s fun. My family is pretty close, and I’m still here so I’m able to see them pretty often.”

“What is like being a commuter?”
“It’s kind of hard your first year here, because people meet their friends within their dorms or down the hallway. For me, sports made it easier, and also being from here, there are quite a few North Manchester residents that go here. It is a little hard to transition into at first, but people should know that that shouldn’t hold them back from being active in things. I understand if you’re on the line of 40 miles because that would make it harder, but don’t let that hold you back from meeting new people or participating in new activities. And fun fact, I can hear the football games from my house, if it’s a clear day. I thought, ‘I could just set my chair out here and listen to the game!’

“What is something that most people don’t know about you?”
“I am a big history buff. I like watching PBS, either documentaries, British comedies, even like Lawrence Welk or old TV shows. There’s some shows that talk about Dragnet or different things like that and people have no idea what I’m talking about, but I’m like ‘No, it’s so good, it was produced in the 60s!’ It’s kind of because my parents are older and I’m the youngest of five, and there’s a 17-year difference from the oldest to me. But I guess I’m an old soul in a 21-year-old’s capacity.”

“Is there anything else you’d like to share about you or your time at Manchester?”
“For advice for first-years, would be to not be afraid to ask questions of your professors, because typically they either become your mentors or someone that will help you find people who will then lead you to a career. So raise your hands, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and we have an open-door policy, so utilize that.”