Environmental portrait of Student Body President Kate Kapsner in St. Paul.
Brandon Woller '17/University of St. Thomas

Kate Kapsner: Student Body President Realizes Dreams

University of St. Thomas student body president Kate Kapsner ’24 is a goal setter. She envisioned her dream job when she was a 16-year-old high school sophomore. Her plan was to line up that job before beginning her senior year of college. Goal achieved.

Kapsner recently accepted a full-time position at Ecolab, her dream employer, working in financial management, her dream career. And it happened just as the financial management major stepped back onto campus to finish her senior year. She’ll begin next June.

“It was my goal all along,” Kapsner said. “It lightens some of the pressure of senior year. That sense of security is really nice.”

Kapsner closely tied her dreams of working at Ecolab to the opportunities St. Thomas could afford her. Recognizing her drive and leadership abilities, Opus College of Business offered Kapsner a spot in the highly competitive GHR Fellows program. As a GHR Fellow, she made friends, received individual career coaching and participated in service outings.

GHR Fellows also gain unique access to the Twin Cities business community. Ecolab has a strong relationship with the University of St. Thomas and recruits St. Thomas students as college interns on campus. The company offered Kapsner a finance and accounting internship within Ecolab’s food and retail services division for summer 2023.

“I’ve always been drawn to their sustainability initiatives and their products,” Kapsner said. “The items they’re working on are vital to people and the planet’s health.”

Kapsner spent her summer working at Ecolab on a real-life project creating sustainable systems to maximize product margins.

Environmental portrait of Student Body President Kate Kapsner taken on September 19, 2023 in St. Paul.
Student body president Kate Kapsner is excited to focus on getting more students involved with student government in her final year on campus. (Brandon Woller ’17/University of St. Thomas)

“This was an incredible opportunity to work on a real issue, an applicable project that they will actually use in real time,” Kapsner. “In other internships, they’ll give you fake projects that simulate reality; this internship was something very real that their team needed completed.”

Impressed with her work, Ecolab soon offered her full-time employment.

“It’s a job that I’ve wanted for a very long time, and St. Thomas got me there,” Kapsner said. “It’s a cool full-circle moment.”

With her longtime dream job secure, it’s now time for Kapsner to complete an action-packed senior year at St. Thomas.

As student body president, Kapsner is excited to serve out her fourth and final year elected to student government. A self-described “really social person,” Kapsner has put her people skills to work, listening and responding.

One concern that students had: club financing. Relying on her own financial expertise, Kapsner worked over her sophomore year to revamp and restructure the club financing process.

“We wanted to get it done because it was a struggle for students on campus. Watching the changes being made was really cool to see,” Kapsner said.

As student body president, Kapsner has a vision to expand that impact, reaching out to students who typically don’t get involved in student government. She’s already been encouraged by the number of first-year students attending council office hours.

“We want students outside of student government to participate, to get involved,” Kapsner said. “It can start with the simple act of people reaching out via email. Getting involved makes your time here so much more enjoyable.”

Meanwhile, as she builds new relationships, Kapsner is looking forward to spending a final year with the people she already holds dear on campus. While a full-time job looms in the most positive of ways, she’s not ready to let go of her time at St. Thomas just yet.

“We only have nine months left and our first year was a little bit muddied with COVID,” Kapsner said. “I’m planning to have fun with the people I care about while we're all still here in the Twin Cities.”