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Student Spotlight December 2011

Katy Hopkins

"Katy is an exceptional young woman.  She brings together an astonishing number of abilities and talents and is very invested in how her education can be used to help others.  Her commitment to social justice goes beyond words and is exhibited through what she does.  She is a great role model for others."
Dr. Nancy J. Cunningham, Educational and Counseling Psychology





Katy Hopkins graduated from New York University in 2004 with an Honors BFA in Theatre with an emphasis in theatre for social change. She began her doctoral work in counseling psychology at the University of Louisville in 2009.


Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):
My research areas include arts-based approaches to youth violence prevention and child/adolescent bullying. After I graduated from NYU in 2004, I worked in South Africa and India creating theatre pieces with children and adolescents focusing on the impact of violence in their lives. Afterwards, I spent several years working in southeast Alaska as a statewide trainer for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, where I continued my work developing arts-based interventions to violence and bullying prevention. In Alaska, I sought to develop effective means for motivating change, taking into account intricate cultural points of view. At this point, I realized that I needed to continue my education, to further advance my research skills as well as my ability to develop and implement practices that are both culturally relevant and empirically-based. This objective led me to work with Dr. Nancy Cunningham in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Louisville.  

Long term goals/ aspirations:
I hope to combine my skills as a psychologist and a theatre artist to facilitate and enact lasting change through school and community- based prevention work, while continuing to work with children and families on a more individual level.

What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?
Our daughter, June Apple, born in January of 2011.

What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?

My favorite part of graduate school has been the opportunity to meet so many people within the College of Education and Human Development who have such a wide range of interests and are wholly committed to making an impact in their field of study and, perhaps more importantly, in their own community. The College’s faculty and staff, along with my classmates, are constantly inspiring me to stay committed to doing what I love while serving others.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?
I think one of the greatest challenges faced by many graduate students is continually seeking balance between the many priorities in their lives. I have found that in making a commitment to nurture the many aspects of my life—family, school, friends, music, theatre—I am able to more fully engage in everything I do. 

Family life:
I have been married for 4 ½ years to my husband Amos, whom I first met in a drama class in the 7th grade. Together, we have taught in India, walked 600 miles of the Appalachian Trail, hitch-hiked across Canada, lived in a barn on the side of a mountain over-looking the ocean in Alaska, and played in a bluegrass band here in Louisville. Our grandest adventure to date has been the birth of our daughter June Apple, who keeps us on our toes and laughing. We currently all live together in the Clifton neighborhood with our right hand dog, Rosco P. Coltrane and our left hand cat, Juliette Binoche.


Fun Facts

A talent you have always wanted: The ability to recognize the moment right before I put my foot in my mouth.
Favorite book: Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach

Favorite quote:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us… And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”- Marianne Williamson

Role Model:
Pippi Longstocking

Pet Peeve:
Passive aggression

If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now?  I’ve always really wanted to be in the cast of Saturday Night Live. Someday, I believe this will happen. I think getting a PhD in psychology will really open some doors for me and get me that audition. Fingers crossed.


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