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San Domenico School News & Events

Alumni Spotlight: Caitlin Gowdy ’12

Where did you go to college?

I went to Stanford University and studied Management Science & Engineering.

Can you briefly describe the project for which you were awarded the JDB award at San Domenico?

I traveled to Tibet with a charity I have worked with for years, South East Asian Prayer Center (SEAPC). This group traditionally hosted an annual team of doctors to provide heart surgeries for children with congenital heart disease in Tibet. I joined their final trip, which did not contain any doctors, only leading members of SEAPC. We visited the most recent recipients of the heart surgeries, who were still recovering. My purpose was to provide music therapy to ease the recovery of the children, and to connect with orphans on an emotional level.

How did the ROSE project impact your current work?

In high school, I was a full time musician and dedicated to becoming a physician. However, in college I made a complete turn in career goals, and became an engineer. Even though I am in a career in a different field, my work providing music therapy in Tibet opened my eyes to the intangible level of connection between people that can take decades to find. Something as simple as performing a Bach partita can bring warmth to a person’s eyes, and joy to their heart. Despite my deviation from music and medicine, this level of connection and kindness is something that I will continuously seek to attain no matter what I find myself doing in life. It has inspired a struggle to provide aid and warmth to all those that I interact with. I have worked in hospitals, and now currently in a healthcare startup, and although the impact isn’t direct, the work that I do brings joy and ease of mind to the community as a whole. What I learned in Tibet drives me endlessly to serve others, particularly in the medical field, where a sense of connection is vital to personalized and individual care. I have yet to realize specifically what my life’s goal will be, but I am confident that it will draw upon the lessons I learned during my ROSE project.

What about your time at San Domenico do you think influenced the direction you took during your college years and beyond?

San Domenico has helped me to develop a strong sense of responsibility to both the local and global community. There will always be others to serve, and it is our duty to serve them. This is something I have taken with me throughout my years in college, and is something that will drive me throughout my career.

What is the greatest struggle you have had in bringing your plan to fruition?

Great ideas are difficult to see through. The goals that inspire us must come with determination, or they mean nothing. One of my greatest struggles is staying true to my vision, and not becoming discouraged, although I have become much better at this.

What is the greatest joy you have had in realizing your plan?

Doing something that directly impacts another person for the better creates an instantaneous sense of accomplishment and gratitude. This is a feeling that truly drives me to continue to serve those that need my aid, and brings me happiness as I continue through my career.

If there is some wisdom you could impart to aspiring students in their ROSE projects, what would it be?

The ROSE project may just be a school project to you, but to another it could mean the entire world. Just as a work task could mean nothing to you, to another it could make their day. You can never really know the effect your efforts have on another human being, so take every responsibility with a full heart, knowing that you will affect those around you. And when someone returns the favor to you, know that they kept you in their mind, and appreciate them.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the SD community?

Sitting in the Julie Davis Butler award ceremony in October made me so proud to be an SD graduate. The ability of the current students to care about others, and to find powerful ways to change their lives is admirable, and truly inspiring. I hope the ROSE project program continues to create a legacy of caring and determined individuals capable of tremendous change in their communities.