Kathi Gagliano, '91

B.A. in Sociology, B.A. in Psychology

After graduation I joined an organization called Covenant House which serves runaways and throwaways aged 17-21, providing food, shelter, case management, substance abuse support, life skills training, parenting support, etc. I was part of their Faith Community, which meant I worked for free in exchange for room and board, prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, and attended Mass every day. Oh yeah, and I was in New Orleans to boot. Quite a different life from Grove City College!

After three years of working in various capacities—case manager, ombudsman, intake counselor, volunteer coordinator—I was exhausted and broke. Plus I met this great guy (who was a case manager in the long term facility—he loves to tell everyone we met in a homeless shelter) and we got married. Once we started having kids I tried to settle in to the at-home mom thing but try as we might it was way too difficult to live on one salary with my husband still working in social services. While at Covenant House I discovered I had an aptitude for computer application design and development and after much prayer and deliberation we decided to flip flop. My husband became the stay at home parent and I went back to work, this time in a white collar office environment for which I had absolutely no formal training but managed to fumble my way through somehow.

We soon decided that New Orleans was no place to raise a family so we moved to the Washington D.C. area (where I grew up). Since then, I’ve worked for two corporations in this area and migrated towards the information technology fields of enterprise applications management, business intelligence and analysis, data warehousing, and project management. Many of the people I work with have a much greater knowledge of computer software, hardware, and various acronyms. However, they are not nearly as skilled at change management, facilitating a meeting, handling employee issues, and negotiating decisions as I am. When I interviewed for my current position the hiring manager asked me if I used my degree in psychology in my work. My answer was (and still is), “Every day!”

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