Alumni Interview

Hi, my name is Nate Kittle I served with Amate House (Marjorie Kovler Center) in 2007-08.

What inspired you to serve?
Attending a Jesuit University in Creighton University I was inspired by the social mission of the Gospel.  I knew that ultimately I wanted to go to medical school, but I was taught the value of spending a year working with and learning from an organization like the Marjorie Kovler Center.  I also wanted to gain experience living in community and growing with a group of other young adults who have a similar mission in life to myself.
Where did you serve and what did a typical day at your service site look like?
Marjorie Kovler Center – As a case manager my day was varied.  I sat with clients helping them look through resources for housing, food, ESL, medical care and more importantly psychological care.  I did intake interviews which was the most heart-wrenching and eye-opening part of my job.  Most importantly I helped create a light and fun environment in a place where we were dealing with survivors of torture who were seeking a community and place to feel safe/secure.
What is one memory from your time of service that has stuck with you? Why has it stayed with you?
The Kovler Cooking Group.  Once a month staff members and clients would gather to cook a meal.  The “chef” of the night was tasked with organizing the group to help them prepare a meal from their country.  I ate amazing food from Haiti, DRC, Somalia, Ethiopia and Guatemala.  The most memorable parts of the night was the socializing that took place.  These evenings were a chance to get a glimpse of the clients in a social environment away from the desk and away from the trauma they have experienced.
How has your service experience impacted your career path?
Since I was a child I knew I wanted to be a physician.  My time at Amate House and at the Kovler Center taught me the value of community.  It taught me how important other viewpoints are and how to respect cultures and beliefs different from my own.  My time in service gave me an opportunity to learn how important this community work is to my life and is a big reason I have become a Family Medicine Physician.
What is your current profession and why did you choose to go into that practice?
Family Medicine resident physician in Seattle, WA.  I chose to go into family medicine because I really value community and the intimate relationships that I am able to develop with patients.  My goal as a family medicine physician is to learn about my patient’s values and experiences and use this knowledge to improve overall health looking beyond physiological health.

Do you have any advice for volunteers who are wrapping up their year and transitioning out of their time of service?
Please please please don’t feel pressure to dive into a career.  I am so thankful that I have taken time to enjoy life and have experiences like what I had at Amate House.  I actually took another year to do service during medical school because life is way too short to start work and feel the pressure of a career in your early/mid-20s.  
How do you stay connected to your program or service site?
I still went to Kovler cooking groups when I was in Chicago and stayed involved in the local Amate community.  Since leaving Chicago it has been a bit difficult but I read the newsletters when they come out and most importantly I donate money when I am able!
Questions for fun:
What is your favorite color? Orange.
If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be? French Fries
Would you rather be a bird or an aquatic animal? What specifically would you be and why?
Bird – An eagle, soaring and going with the wind taking in the world below is a dream, and why I love flying so much!
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