A month spent in Ghana after college changed Kat Kahn's life and set her on course toward a career in humanitarian work. The PCHS alumni planned to divide her time between traveling and working at a local orphanage, never imagining how much the land and its people would touch her.
"Once I went there, I fell in love with the country," she remembered. "The people are probably the friendliest I've ever met. Everybody is so giving and welcoming."
A 2005 graduate of Park City High School, Kahn went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology and child development from the University of Utah in 2010.
But, instead of continuing to study anthropology as she had originally planned, she decided to follow a month abroad by enrolling in the Master of Arts in Community Leadership program at Westminster on the international track.
"The MACL program is fantastic and every class I took I incorporated Ghana into somehow," said Kahn.
For her Capstone Project, Kahn returned to the land that had sparked her passion to research adolescent female orphans. To see how girls saw themselves, their lives, and their futures, Kahn created a photo-voice project with pictures she had orphans take of their world.
"The purpose of the project was to combat media portrayals of people living in Africa, especially orphans," explained Kahn. Although she found that the girls suffered from a culture that fostered racism by condoning skin-bleaching, Kahn also discovered that the orphans still had aspirations of becoming doctors and nurses. To encourage them, Kahn enlisted positive female role models who came in once a week to talk to the girls.
Kahn is now headed to Guatemala for a leadership and public policy class, but will be back in Ghana in July, this time to stay. She plans to remain there for at least two years and so that she can continue to work on women's empowerment and orphan aid
This article is part of a series about Park City High School alumni. If you know of a PCHS graduate who is doing something interesting, or if you would like to share your adventures since graduating, please send a photo and a short summary of what you've been up to, to email@example.com with "Mining for Miners" in the subject field. Spread the word, it will be fun to see what everyone is up to.