Looking Back: An Interview with Katherine DeLuca
by Mariah Davis
Katherine DeLuca graduated from Plymouth State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. She currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Q: What was the name of your IDS program, and the disciplines that made up your program?
A: The name of my Interdisciplinary Studies program is Patient Advocacy. It’s a combination of Nursing, Biological Science, and Social Work.
Q: Why did you create the program that you did, and what is it all about?
A: I created my unique program after spending three years in the Nursing Program at Plymouth State University. Even though I enjoyed and excelled in healthcare, I felt compelled to focus my energy on my true passion: social work.
After completing my nursing rotation in the Medical-Surgical unit at Speare Memorial Hospital, I realized that patients deserve the upmost compassion and respect during a scary time of need. After evaluating my true talents, I came to the conclusion that I have the ability to be a patient advocate, as well as promote hands-on, patient-centered care. To learn about the human body as a whole, my program included courses like Biological Science. I included social work classes to learn how to financially advocate for my patients. By combining social policies and human anatomy, I created the perfect major: Health Care Advocacy.
Q: How has your IDS program helped you after graduation?
A: At first, I felt discouraged because I had a hard time explaining my major to potential employers, but after three summer months, I was offered an interview at Boston Children’s Hospital. The job was not only my dream job, but it was also an incredible opportunity for career growth. The first question at my interview was not, “how will you contribute to our team?” Or “why do you have minimal experience?” It was, “please explain your degree.” The interviewer told me that she was very interested in my unique program. After explaining my talents and my ability to design my own major, I was immediately offered a position. The interviewer saw my drive as well as creativity. She offered me the position because she wanted me to bring a fresh perspective to her team of caregivers.
Q: What are you doing as a career right now? What are your main duties and responsibilities?
A: I am currently working at Boston Children’s Hospital as a Patient Experience Representative in the Pediatric Orthopedic Center. I am the first provider the patient interacts with. It is my responsibility to ensure that the patient is comfortable and prepared to see the physical or mid-level provider. I am a social worker, a patient care provider, and an administrator.
I am fortunate to be given this opportunity. Without designing my own major, I don’t think I would have been selected from the thousands of applicants for this position. I was a unique candidate. I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime, and I have Robin DeRosa, as well as the Interdisciplinary Studies program in general, to thank for it. I have my foot in the door at the best pediatric hospital in the United States.
Q: What advice would you give to a first-year student, or someone looking to get into the Interdisciplinary Studies program at PSU?
A: I would tell a first-year student, or an Interdisciplinary Studies candidate, to embrace his or her true passions. If she is working in a career that she loves, and she’s passionate about it, she will feel as though she’s never had to work a day in her life. Interdisciplinary Studies is an incredible learning opportunity, but in order to thrive in the program, students need to be strong and motivated individuals.
We are the unicorns of Plymouth State University. For the most part, we are decisive about our futures. We know exactly what we want to do after graduation and Interdisciplinary Studies helps us get there.
Lastly, you will get a job. Interdisciplinary Studies makes you a stronger employee, but it’s important for you to practice explaining your program and how it’s related to your interests. Employers will know if you’re the right candidate for the position in the first three minutes of meeting you. Stay true to who you are, and what you want out of a career. If it is meant to be, it will happen.
Q: What do you miss most about PSU?
A: I miss the community and culture of PSU. But mostly, I miss the waldorf chicken sandwich at Chase Street Market. And, of course, Robin [DeRosa], my closest friends, and my Interdisciplinary Studies family!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.