Senior Makes Connections Volunteering Abroad


Courtsey of Katie Collins for The Fordham Ram

Emma Butler, Copy Chief

Throughout her time at Fordham, Katie Collins, FCRH ’21, has taken every opportunity to get involved both on campus and in the Bronx community. But there is one thing that all her college experiences have in common: a desire to make personal connections with the people around her. 


Collins is active on campus in the Rose Hill Society as a student ambassador, and before the pandemic started, she spent much of her time with the Jesuits at Murray-Weigel Hall. She has also volunteered at the Mercy Center in the Bronx, where she taught a class about the U.S. citizenship exam. 


One of her most recent volunteer experiences came while studying abroad at Fordham University’s London Centre. In between taking classes and jet setting across Europe, Collins took time every week to volunteer at Women at the Well, an organization dedicated to assisting women, many of whom are victims of prostitution, trafficking, homelessness and other issues.


“For my summer internship two years ago, I attended a conference on human trafficking and sexual exploitation, which fueled my initial interest in the subject. After a quick Google search on related organizations in London, I found out about this small charity led by the Sisters of Mercy, the same order that ran my high school, serving women afflicted by prostitution and sex trafficking,” she said. “I proposed this opportunity to the Dean’s Office for the Study Abroad and Service scholarship, and that was it!”


Collins’ work with the organization mainly consisted of sitting down with the women, making conversation and doing activities. As a self-described “queen of small talk,” she enjoyed making connections with these women and hearing their stories. 


Her volunteer work in London has only made her more interested in helping those affected by prostitution and human trafficking. “You always hear about these issues, and you’re always passionate about these issues, but from a distance, so I think working with these people and putting faces to their struggles drove me further in that direction,” she said.


As a political science and economics double major, Collins also has a passion for politics. These interests have led her to co-found the Fordham chapter of Leading Women of Tomorrow. She heads the club as co-president, alongside Catherine Gassiot, FCRH ’21. “Its aim is to get more women involved in public service,” said Collins. The group holds resumé workshops and documentary screenings and hosts speakers to encourage women to seek careers in politics and civil service.


While talking about Leading Women of Tomorrow (or LWT, as she likes to call it), Collins joked about coming full circle from when she started at Fordham. “In freshman year, I wrote my social justice essay on women in politics, and then by chance, I was asked about starting a women in politics club,” she said.


Regarding her future, Collins hopes to bring her passion for making personal connections into her career. She is currently applying to law school, showing a significant interest in criminal law.  When asked about why she is interested in that field, she highlighted a desire to work with people and help them directly. She also talked about eventually using her degree to help others at a nonprofit or lobbying for new legislation. Collins cited past internships in the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as her inspiration to work in this field.


As for the rest of Collins’ time at Fordham, not even a pandemic has managed to slow her down.  


“I started a historical society last spring,” she said, a group she is currently still developing as a student club. Even in her fourth and final year on campus, it is clear that Collins is still ready to take on any opportunity that Fordham has to offer her.