Student Life

McIntire’s Class of ’20: Staying Strong with Kate Harper

Fourth-year Kate Harper spoke with us from her hometown of Charleston, SC, where she remains committed to her now-online classes and determined to finish strong in her final Comm School semester.

Kate Harper

A Marketing and IT concentrator with a track in Business Analytics, Kate Harper (McIntire ’20) has made the most of her McIntire education and the best of the current situation.

Having been recruited by many schools to play golf, Harper initially set out to find a school that would satisfy her interest in business while also fielding a competitive golf program. Her quest led her to UVA, and it was a course with Professor Jeffrey Leopold that convinced her to apply to McIntire.

“My first year I thought about majoring in Econ because I didn’t think I would be able to take COMM 1800, since it took place during golf practice,” she says. “Luckily, during the spring of my first year, Professor Leopold taught his first section of COMM 1800 at night, so I had the opportunity to take it. I loved the class and knew I wanted to apply to McIntire after that.”

Harper spoke with us from her hometown of Charleston, SC, where she remains committed to her now-online classes and determined to finish strong in her final Comm School semester. Undeterred by the present difficulties and excited for the future, she will be headed to Washington, D.C., in the fall, to consult for Bain.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned at the Comm School that’s helping you to navigate some aspect of your life or learning while we all stay home?
I think one of the big themes taught at McIntire is that business is always changing, but it also always continues. That’s why each year in ICE [the Integrated Core Experience, McIntire’s third-year curriculum], the project changes to what the ICE corporate sponsor needs. And even when we encounter challenges, we still must meet deadlines for assignments. While our current situation is a drastic lifestyle change—and one that I never could have imagined—business still goes on. I still have schoolwork to do and still have groups to meet with. It just happens to be virtual now instead of in person. I think that McIntire has prepared us for this just by teaching resiliency throughout the two-year program.

Outside of your coursework, how are you spending your time these days? What’s keeping you going?
The weather in Charleston this time of year is great, so I try to at least get outside for a bit each day. Luckily, our golf course is still open, as long as you practice social distancing while you are there. With the cancellation of NCAA sports, my competitive career [in women’s golf] is over, but I’ve been getting to play a lot with my family, which has been really nice. I also am trying to stay in touch with my teammates and friends. Everyone is going a little stir crazy, but getting to talk to each other breaks up the monotony of quarantine.

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