Alumni Spotlight

Katie (Hunter) Perkins ’05
Graduate Student
USC School of Social Work

Majors: English and French (French majors in my day included the culture piece!)

Activities: Sigma Tao Delta, La Table Francaise, Literary Review co-editor, peer mentor

What first attracted you to Whittier College?  I had known about Whittier my whole life. However, when I was in high school, I participated in the honors weekend. The opportunity to attend classes, meet with current and future students, and envision myself as a part of the community solidified my decision to attend Whittier. 

Why did you choose to study French cultural studies? I studied French in high school and fell in love with the language. I thought it would be a waste to not continue learning it in college, so I signed up for my first class with no intention of majoring in it! However, I soon discovered that if I studied abroad, I could easily double major. The more I learned, the more I fell in love not only with the language but with Francophone history and culture. I loved learning about its art, literature, and influence on the world.

Describe your experience at Whittier. Who were your favorite professors?  I could not have asked for a better undergraduate education. My favorite thing about Whittier is the overwhelming passion and dedication of its faculty. I particularly loved classes taught by Professors dAvid pAddy, Laura McEnaney, and Marie-Magdeleine Chirol because they helped stir in me a passion for subject matter I was not particularly interested in beforehand.

Describe your experience with studying abroad? As far as study abroad is concerned, I can easily say that this was the most formative aspect of my time at Whittier and I would not be where I am without it!  I did a French immersion program in Paris, France, through Sweet Briar College. It was terrifying, challenging, exciting, liberating, and utterly enlightening. There is not a day that goes by that I do not build upon the lessons learned during my time abroad.

What was your most memorable moment at Whittier? It is impossible to choose just one. I literally can’t even narrow it down to a few!

What was your first job after Whittier? What are you currently up to? How has your Whittier education benefited you professionally? I was really lucky and got hired by the Office of International Programs at Whittier College when I graduated, since I had spent my undergraduate years in the office as a work-study student. After spending three years working as the assistant director, I was promoted to director of the office. I loved working for Whittier and working in study abroad, but last year, I made the difficult decision to go back to grad school where I am currently studying for my masters in social work.

What advice would you give to future French cultural studies alumni when they graduate? Keep up with your French, you never know when it may come in handy! If you haven’t already spent time abroad, consider doing so now. Nothing can make you grow more and help solidify your interests than exposure to another language and culture.

Finish this sentence: I am a ‘Poet for Life’ because... it helped shape who I am. 

-Are you a graduate of the French Cultural Studies program and want to share your story? Contact the Office of Communications at