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Kate Smock BA ’18 Wins Ratte Award

Kate Smock BA ’18Kate Smock BA ’18

Every year, Lewis & Clark honors one undergraduate student with the Rena J. Ratte Award, a distinction that recognizes outstanding academic and personal achievement. The 2018 recipient is Kate Smock BA ’18, a sociology and anthropology (SOAN) major who has combined activism and scholarship to explore issues of human mobility and its implications.

“As a nontraditional student who didn’t finish high school, it feels so rewarding to have my efforts recognized,” says Smock. “My time at Lewis & Clark has been such a transformative experience, and I feel that the Rena Ratte Award encapsulates that transformation for me.”

Smock transferred to Lewis & Clark after several years of community college and immediately began exploring opportunities to connect her academic interests and her activism. For example, during an internship with NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, she designed and mapped a geographical analysis of abortion access in the state. In May 2017, Smock traveled to Cuenca, Ecuador, to research the effects North American relocation has on the country’s economy and the lives of everyday citizens.

“The world is increasingly mobile, and the rate at which information is circulated is increasing,” Smock says. “Mobility allows us to respond to a changing world. My research asks, who is able to access the privilege of mobility, and what consequences exist when one cannot access it?”

Smock’s thesis so impressed her committee that her faculty advisor, Associate Professor of Sociology Sarah Warren, invited her to collaborate on two summer research projects. “Kate is a leader,” says Warren. “She is simply the best of the best.”

In the coming years, Smock will continue her research on transnational gentrification. She hopes to ultimately pursue a PhD in sociology.

—by Emily Price BA ’18

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