Newsletter Article

Katie McCorkell: An Active Mind and a Powerful Voice

"I was surprised to find that one in four college students struggles with a mental health challenge - and that two thirds of these students do not seek help."

     Katie McCorkell (BS student)

Photo of Katie McCorkell
Photo: Katie McCorkell

While this may be a fact that many find surprising, not many would then take the initiative to get involved.  Not so, Katie McCorkell.  As a UW freshman, Katie joined the campus chapter of Active Minds, a student organization committed to changing the conversation about mental health.  "We plan campus events to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and to educate community members about symptoms and resources," explains Katie.  Now president of the organization, she feels that she has learned not only about stigma, but also about marketing, leadership and community.

As a psychology major with a minor in linguistics who is also the recipient of a Mary Gates Leadership Scholarship for her volunteer efforts, Katie might just be able to have that conversation about mental illness in any one of a number of languages.  She has studied Spanish, German, Italian, and Chinese, and hopes to live in China following graduation, hopefully landing a job in marketing.

Katie, who chose a major in psychology because she wanted to learn more about abnormal behavior, has enjoyed the resources available to students.  In particular, she urges undergraduates not to miss the annual Edwards Lecture series, presented by the Psychology Department.  Says Katie, "it is a great way to see the connections between academic work and the general public."

A performance poet who has written about her personal experiences with mental illness and recovery, Katie recently shared her work with over 600 people at the ASUW Every Body Everybody Fashion Show.  She also performed at the ACLU of Washington's 75th Anniversary Dinner.  "No matter what I do or where I go," says Katie, "I will continue to write, learn and speak openly about mental illnesses." 

Clearly, a voice well worth listening to... in any language.