Kara-Lee Ruotolo

    Kara-Lee Ruotolo ’95

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    Current job title and employer and briefly describe what it is you do: I am one of the Co-Directors of a small yet mighty nonprofit, Space Between, located in Seattle, WA. We go into schools and teach mindfulness during the school day through movement, breathing, gratitude, loving kindness and compassion practices. Students and their classroom teachers learn how to guide practices and how to incorporate short moments of awareness throughout their school days. The other day a student raised their hand and asked, "So is this your dream job?" I loved this question and replied, 'yes it truly is!'

    Academic experience at Saint Michael's College help prepare you for your career: I love to share the story from my first year at St. Mike's when I had the chance to visit one of Professor Hannigan's Philosophy classes with my RA. This is where I experienced my first formal guided meditation and I can remember experiencing something that I wanted to learn more about and do more of. Some seeds were planted here for sure!

    Favorite memory or class from your time studying at St. Mike’s: There are many memories that I could call my favorite from my four years at St. Mike's. Working with Father Mike in the Peace and Justice Center. He believed in my leadership abilities before I ever could. One of my favorite memories was while we were on a LEAP Retreat, I was the assistant director this particular weekend, and we ended up getting snowed in! Instead of feeling stressed and worrying about what was to come we stayed with what was happening as a team, listened to one another and did what we needed to do to allow the retreat to continue on. It was a beautiful experience of being in the moment. David Landers Abnormal Psych class is definitely among my favorites!

    Completed or are completing a graduate program, please provide the name of the degree and institution: Master's in Education and Mental Health Counseling from Seattle University, Seattle, WA.

    Translated your volunteer experience at Saint Michael’s into giving back to your community after graduation: I was so inspired and impacted by the volunteer experiences that I had while at St. Mike's that I ended up completing a year of volunteer service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps which began only months after graduating from SMC in 1995. I had applied to the PNW region of JVC after receiving letters, gorgeous photos from the tulip festival and of mount Rainier and hearing amazing stories from my dear friend and SMC alum Amy Armstrong who had volunteered with JVC the year before me in Seattle. I applied to JVC and was placed in Seattle the next year and have been here ever since, 28 years later!!!

    Other information you would like to share or advice for incoming or current students: Listen to your heart, it is a powerful guide.