Graduation Year and Degree:
2005, B.A. in French
St. Louis, MO
What is your favorite Newman memory?
It’s so hard to choose just one!! I feel like I practically lived at Newman, so most of my college life took place there. I will always cherish the late-night, early-morning, and every -time-in-between conversations with friends, and also the year Fr. Bill was my spiritual adviser, and we met weekly to do Ignatian spiritual exercises.
Describe your Newman experience in five words or less:
Finding God in Community
I can’t believe I did _____ at the Newman Center.
I can’t believe I got so involved at Newman! College was going to be my time to go wild and party! 🙂 While I did do some of that, God definitely had much bigger plans for me. I’m glad I listened.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to be serving others through my work and church and teaching my children to do the same. I will continue to advocate for the things that Jesus has taught me: 1) equality for all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status; 2) to care for our home, Earth; and 3) to put myself on the side of the poor, always.
Erin with her husband, Phil, and their two children at home in Atlanta.
How does the Newman Center impact your life today?
I truly believe my entire life would be different, were it not for Newman. I met my husband on my first Awakenings retreat (even though he went to Northwest MO State and not Truman). I spent two years volunteering with the Sisters of St. Joseph after college because I desperately wanted to find community after having to leave Newman. During that time, I felt God calling me to go to law school, in order to use my gifts to help the poor. I became a public defender because I believe one of the great injustices of our time is the way our criminal justice system disparately impacts people of color, poor people, and immigrants. I came to care about justice after developing a personal relationship with Jesus during my years at Newman. The core of who I am was developed at the Newman Center. Also, I made life-long friends at Newman. I absolutely cherish those relationships and find so much support and love from my friends I met at Newman.
Erin with her roommates and fellow Newman-ites (L to R) Kim (Zamastil) Westerman, Sarah (Meulendyke) Yurkovich, and Stephanie (Sullivan) Andrade at a Newman Christmas party in 2004.
What advice would you give to current Truman students?
My advice would be to go easy on yourselves!! You are working so hard, but don’t forget to take care of yourselves and each other. College is a truly wonderful time, but I remember feeling soooooo stressed. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to not take it so seriously!! Yes, work hard. Yes, get involved in things that you love. But you don’t have to do everything, and you won’t be able to do anything if you don’t take care of yourself.
Latest posts by Kim Westerman (see all)
- Alumni Spotlight: Erin Donohue-Koehler, Class of 2005 - January 29, 2018
- Alumni Spotlight: Jennifer (Baumann) and Ken Lederle, Class of 1999 and 2001 - November 21, 2017
- Alumni Spotlight: Fr. Joseph Stoverink - July 29, 2017