Kahla Fortin, Manager of School Partnerships, San Diego

Proud mother to two college-age daughters, a video-game-obsessed nine-year-old son, and a pair of rescue pups named Charley and Keiki, Kahla leads an extremely busy life in San Diego, a city known more for chillaxation than for commotion. When she's not being begged for spending money and doggy treats, Kahla serves as our local Manager of School Partnerships, bringing Catalyst's innovative ACT and SAT programs to students throughout Encinitas, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, and everywhere else the weather is 72 and sunny all year round. (For those of you who haven't Googled "Cities with best weather in the United States," San Diego is ranked first on virtually every list. Wired magazine recently justified the city's top spot on its list by asserting that San Diego averages 144 "pleasant" days per year, defining "pleasant" as averaging 55 to 75 degrees, with no clouds, rain, snowfall, or sleet. McAllister, Montana, ranked dead last by this criteria, averaging a pitiful 14 pleasant days each year.) Way before she became a busy mom and a Manager of School Partnerships, Kahla was a quiet Midwesterner, having spent her childhood on a small farm in Illinois that was "kind of like the one in Charlotte's Web, if you replace talking pigs and spiders with pesticide-dusted veggies and tick-infested livestock." The summer between Kahla's junior and senior year in high school, her family left the hayfields of Illinois for the beaches of Southern California, a move that led Kahla to the University of San Diego and ultimately to the husband, family, and career she so loves.

Why She Works for Catalyst

She applied and was accepted.  (I mean, that's what happened, right?)

How the Universe Has Punished Her for Being a Freakishly Good Test-Taker

Since the very first university was formed in Bologna, Italy, in the year 1088, college students have solemnly sworn to uphold three strict principles: First, there must be at least one pizza present at any gathering that takes place past midnight. (Two pizzas if within a ten-foot radius of a beer pong table.)  Second, any proposal to embark on a spontaneous road trip must be immediately ratified, with no fewer than five students scrunching into the chosen vehicle's back seat. And third, when an esteemed member of the university's faculty — a tenured professor, for example — tells you that you don't have to take a final because you already have an A in the course, you don't show up for the final anyway, simply because you think it'd be "fun" to take the test. Apparently, Kahla didn't fully comprehend this last rule because, as a college student, she was kicked out of a philosophy final by the course's professor. According to Kahla, "I knew he said I didn't have to, but I really wanted to take the final." While we, Kahla's ontology-loving colleagues, understand her desire to take a philosophy exam, we side with her professor, who, like all great educators everywhere, clearly hated grading.

Favorite 80s Movie / Favorite 80s Nobel Laureate

The Lost Boys / Barbara McClintock (Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, 1983)