Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jets Flight Crew Spotlight: Kate 

Posted by Sasha at 3:42 PM ET

Kate: Californian, Pre-Med ... Flight Crew Member
By Eric Allen
Senior Managing Editor

As the only Californian on the New York Jets Flight Crew roster, Kate came to New York not exactly searching for football. She is pre-med at NYU, majoring in psychology.

“I wanted a new experience for four years. I figured if I wanted to come back, I could always come back home,” said the Orange County, Calif., native. “But I didn’t apply to any western schools. I applied to Boston College and NYU.”

Boston was just “too small” for this high-energy young lady. She loved New York on her visit and it seemed to match her personality well. Kate is anything but laid back and has an outgoing personality.

“I like the fact that there are so many different types of people here and different opportunities. NYU is not a typical school,”

she said. “We don’t have a campus, we don’t have a very community-oriented-type place. Your only option is to get out there — New York City is the campus. I’m taking advantage of that”

When she was just a freshman in high school, Kate’s father underwent brain surgery. Her mother, who works in pharmaceutical sales, picked up the pieces and rallied the family. Watching her dad go through such a difficult procedure had a profound impact on Kate.

“It might sound like a cliché but it’s true,” she said of her decision to enter the medical field. “I’d like to be able to do something if something happened —not only to me but anyone I really cared for.”

Fortunately, Kate’s father is doing well. The former AT&T employee was forced to stop working but that didn’t prevent him from continuing to motivate his daughter.

“He can’t work and he’s at home,” she said. “But he’s an inspiration to me.”

Over the past two summers, Kate has worked at the NYU Child Study Center with children who have attention deficit disorder as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“It took a while to say I wanted to do it and I took baby steps to get into it. I work every Thursday for four hours,” she said. “Since I was a sophomore, I have worked in the pediatrics emergency room. People in the city are very grateful for people who help them.”

Two years ago, the Mater Dei High School alum danced at one of the world’s most famous arenas.

“I did ballet since I was 3. In high school, I was into the whole hip-hop, cheerleading kind of thing. I got to New York and dancing was my hobby and I thought this could be cool,” she said of being a Knicks City Dancer. “Then I think that this could only happen in New York where this could be my side job while going to school.”

And her latest side job is working for the Jets. The transition from the NBA to the NFL meant fewer games and more fans.

“Madison Square Garden is an incredible environment to be a part of but it’s not nearly as big as the Meadowlands,” Kate said. “You are comparing 20,000 people to 80,000 people. It was an opportunity that interested me because I could be part of an inaugural team.”

As graduation nears, Kate will be on the move again after commencement. She is going to fly down to the birthplace of her mother to spend some time with her family and then travel Southeast Asia.

“I’ll graduate a semester early and my parents just bought me a ticket to go to the Philippines,” she said. “I’ll go there for a month and then I will hopefully start medical school at Columbia.”

Kate wears a permanent engaging smile that brightens the Meadowlands at Jets home games. She is enjoying her first year with the Flight Crew and she also realizes it could be her last. Medical school is demanding for anyone, even somebody so dedicated.

“It takes seven hours for me to come here [Long Island] for practice from the city. I leave at 3 o'clock and I get home at 10:30. I don’t know if I’ll have that time when I’m at Columbia," she said.

The future pediatrician credits her family for their unwavering support. She decided to take on the world’s biggest city and has flourished but her heart and thoughts will always remain in California.

“I think I have a really good foundation. If I go to the Philippines, I will be back in a month,” Kate said. “I went to school in New York but I could come home whenever I wanted to. If this doesn’t work out, you have a place to go to and it’s where you started. You can always start over.”

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