First-Year Journey: Katie Werner '24 Takes her Education Global

Author: Grace McDermott

Katie Werner '24 had the chance to visit campus during her junior year of high school with her family. She recalls wandering around with her siblings as their youngest brother played on the playground outside the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

She liked the feel of South Bend as well as Notre Dame’s campus, and after sending in college applications her senior year, Notre Dame was the first school to admit Werner.

The move to South Bend was not a huge challenge for Werner, who was born in Singapore and has lived in Indonesia, Thailand, Texas, and Louisiana, thanks to her dad's job.

Werner's time in Thailand piqued her interest in diplomacy and international relations as she was surrounded by friends’ parents who worked with the embassy or government in various capacities. She even lived through a coup d’etat there.

With her desire to internationalize her education, she found a fit in the supplemental major in global affairs.

Katie Werner '24, left, and Blake Ziegler '23 at Notre Dame Stadium

“Even though Notre Dame’s global affairs program is pretty new and relatively small compared to a lot of schools, I was really interested in how individualized you could make it and the amount of funding [allotted to it],” says Werner.

Before she arrived for her first year, she says, "I was constantly on the Keough School’s website, looking at all the events they were doing, and I went to a bunch of virtual talks my senior year.”

Werner's primary major is political science. She is also part of the Glynn Family Honors Program, which she says was a strong support system during her transition to college.

“My Glynn classes were really good with fostering relationships with teachers if I ever needed help or resources—which I did for several classes, so it would have been much more difficult without it,” says Werner.

Her favorite class so far has been Introduction to International Relations. “I got to dig into the literature much more than I was used to. Even though it was a lot of reading, it was a lot of fun to argue with different students in the class about political theory,” she says.

Beyond graduating from Notre Dame, Werner has set her sights on graduate school in a field related to diplomacy or international relations, and perhaps working for the United States government or the United Nations in an overseas position.

In the meantime, Werner is exploring the topics she loves, and is immersing herself in the Notre Dame community.

She lives in McGlinn Hall on campus and signed up for “as many extracurriculars as I possibly could during my first week.”

She is currently working on a Climate Change Policy Project through the Student Policy Network (learn more). The group is presenting a white paper policy project on climate change solutions in South Bend to the mayor.

Werner conducts research on demographic shifts and democracy with political science professor Andrew Thompson, and she works for The Observer on the news and social media teams. 

Werner is also in College Democrats, Model United Nations, and a lobbying group, which gave her the chance to meet with representatives of U.S. senators to discuss DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a U.S. immigration policy.

Collectively, Werner's experiences inside and outside of the classroom are giving her a solid foundation for her future in international relations or any other global career she chooses.


Learn More