Hello 2018 – January Alumnae Spotlight

January Alumnae Spotlight - Varsha Katari

Welcome to 2018! We look forward to sharing inspiring stories from our amazing alumnae. Read on to find out more on how Pi Colony‘s, Varsha Katari, handled the all too familiar situation of choosing a career path that deviates from going straight into med school!
What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?

After becoming a sister of Kappa Phi Gamma, I definitely saw myself change for the better. I was able to gain a stronger sense of myself, and I attribute the way I carry myself today to KPhiG. A lot of the work I do now involves community outreach, and I interact with people of different backgrounds each day. KPhiG helped me improve my social and professional skills, which in turn has given me the confidence and tools needed to love and succeed at what I do. I currently work with the Department of Health Education at Mount Sinai Hospital, where I help conduct programs in public and transitional housing facilities throughout the community.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?

Accepting that it’s okay to be a nontraditional student. At first, I was hesitant about taking a two year gap between undergrad and medical school, and I definitely faced a lot of questions from friends and family. However, I realized that it was MY career- I knew the direction that I wanted to go in, so I wouldn’t let criticism from anyone stop me from doing what I wanted to do. So I took these past two years to get my MPH and work- and it turned out to be the best decision I made. I have a strong passion for public health, and the experience that I gained by pursuing it has made me so much happier, and has conditioned me to be better prepared for medical school next year.

What is your favorite part of your position/career/field?

Currently I work with different populations in East Harlem to help individuals create healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families. My role as an educator is to deliver information, but I can’t even begin to explain how much this experience has changed me. Meeting people of different backgrounds and learning their stories has truly given me a greater perspective of the struggles that people face even in this day and age. The stories I’ve heard, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had are all things that will resonate with me for a really long time.

What is your work/life balance?

I’m currently in the last semester of my MPH program, so working full-time and finishing my degree can definitely be time consuming. However, I’ve learned to organize my time so that I have enough time for each of my priorities.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?

The relationships I’ve formed through Kappa Phi Gamma have become some of my most valued friendships. From my line sisters, to my big and little, KPhiG has given me a support system that I can rely on heavily. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to network and form bonds with people from all over the country.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?

Be your own boss. At the end of the day, you know your passions better than anyone else, and you have the most power in shaping your future. Learn what you need to do in order to be where you want to be- and devote as much time and energy to it as possible. I discovered public health and fell in love- so while pursuing my MPH wasn’t originally part of my career plans, it was something I wanted for myself, so I went for it. In doing so, my entire outlook on healthcare changed and I was able to strengthen my interest for the field. When there is something you want, don’t hesitate to live your life the way you want to- find your passion and own it.