Student profile: Katie Liberman

template photoPhoto credit: Mark Stehle

NAME: Katie Liberman

CLASS: Senior

MAJOR: Theatre Arts and English

WHAT SHE’S UP TO: Quite a bit. Besides managing the heavy coursework involved with a double major, Liberman also works in the Office of Admissions, gives campus tours, is Chairwoman of Bloomers (Penn’s all-female musical comedy troupe), serves as a Peer Advisor for freshmen and is a leader at Penn Hillel. As Community Service Chair of the Performing Arts Council at Platt Student Performing Arts House, she’s helped establish a successful after-school program for local West Philadelphia students.

WHY PENN?: Liberman applied to eight schools, including such prestigious universities as Harvard, Yale and Barnard, but says Penn stood out. “Penn was one of many schools I was looking at, but when I came to visit, it was one of those schools where [I remember] just standing on campus and knowing it felt right.”

HER PENN MOMENT: Liberman says the community service work she’s done at Platt House has been so rewarding that it may set the course for her entire career. “I’ve been running an after-school program for West Philadelphia students, aged 10 to 15. We do performing arts with them, and theater and dance, and voice and instruments. … It has turned out to be a life-changing opportunity—just working with these kids and seeing how much the stage time and the interaction with Penn students and the opportunity to learn about using their bodies on stage and breathing and how to sing and present themselves really has changed them. It’s been really kind of fascinating for me and it was almost emblematic, I think, of what Penn can do.”

WHAT SHE LEARNS FROM THEM: “We always make a joke—I’m teaching these students Sondheim and they’re teaching me hip-hop, because I don’t know any hip-hop. It’s great interaction, learning back-and-forth.”

GRADUATION APPROACHES: Liberman has won a Truman Scholarship from the Harry S. Truman Foundation, which she’ll eventually use to pay for graduate school and a degree in nonprofit management, arts education, theater management or some related field. Immediately after graduation, however, she plans to get a job working at a theater in New York or Washington, D.C. and spend a year doing policy or community service work. In the meantime, she’s busy battling pre-graduation nostalgia. “I’m going to miss Penn outstandingly. I walk down Locust Walk a lot and think, ‘Thank you Penn for this experience, and for giving me so many ideas about how I see the world, how I want to do things in the future.’”

Originally published February 1, 2007.

Originally published on February 1, 2007