Same Degree, New Calling: Katie Olinger ’15
Katie Olinger ’15 graduated from Cairn with a degree in social work, poised to serve people in that field for her career. The first job she landed as a foster care manager fit that initial expectation perfectly as she served more than 18 kids at a time, attending juvenile court hearings and completing home visits. But a little over a year into the job, Katie found herself burnt out and overwhelmed. She needed a change.
Katie then took on another important role in the foster care system that she had not expected to fill: the role of a licensed foster parent. Now, Katie cares full-time for her two baby girls, one who came by birth and another through foster care. Fostering was not exactly the way she imagined using her degree, and at first, that left her feeling conflicted, wondering if she should be using her degree in a more common social work occupation. But Katie has found that her education prepared her for every step of her post-grad journey in ways she couldn’t have anticipated. Being a foster parent is no different; now, she sees how her Cairn education has grown her in the love, care, and knowledge needed for being a mom and a foster mom. As she puts it, “God has simply asked me to do the next thing and promised He’ll be faithful.”