Kristen Bennett, Manager of Instruction, Southern California
One of countless Texans residing in (and some would argue elevating) the city of Los Angeles, Kristen brings a bit of Austin to her role as Catalyst's Manager of Instruction for Southern California, a position that involves persuading dozens of bright, creative actors, writers, and directors to teach the SAT while they're awaiting their big break. (Her fail-safe pitch: "Would you rather wait tables at Applebee's?") Prior to enlisting aspiring screenwriters to teach the ACT and SAT, Kristen worked in various capacities in education and the arts, including stints as a tutor, assistant teacher, grant administrator, recruiter, and artist-in-residence. And, prior to all of those positions, Kristen was in her beloved home state, studying Acting and Religious Studies at St. Edwards University and Texas A&M. (Kristen would like to add an exuberant "Gig 'em Aggies!" to that last sentence.) When she's not recruiting and training ACT and SAT gurus, Kristen enjoys writing, acting, cooking new recipes, watching old movies, and playing pub trivia with friends. (For those of you who don't know what pub trivia is, it's kind of like Cheers, if Sam, Diane, Norm, and Cliff had spent every single episode preoccupied with answering questions like "Who had an '80s hit with the song '99 Red Balloons'?") In addition to engaging in activities that require thinkin' while drinkin', Kristen likes hiking, occasional "couch-potatoing" (especially when she's joined by a six-year-old boxer-mix named Daisy) and reading memoirs and biographies of trailblazing, outspoken women who worked to better the world, such as Barbara Jordan and Milly Ivins. (Both of whom, it must be pointed out, are Texans.)
Why She Works for Catalyst
Just wanted to be able to say "manager for a test prep company" at her high school reunion.
How the Universe Has Punished Her for Being a Freakishly Good Test-Taker
Though she's by no means short, and though she has such commanding presence in person that we, the writers of this bio, would have guessed she's at least 5'4", Kristen is apparently a mere 5'2", a height that sentences her, in her own tortured words, "to a lifetime of asking people to reach for things on shelves." While having to ask rangy strangers to fetch jars of pickles and other high-altitude items from supermarket shelves may be a bit annoying, we, her Catalyst colleagues, simply do not count being petite on our list of Possible Afflictions Life Can Throw at You. I mean, fine, having to stand on one's tippy toes to adjust a shower head might be kind of bothersome. And, fine, being told "Oh, you're so CUTE!" by complete strangers would eventually get kind of grating. But what about all the cool things that come with being Tom Cruise-sized, like always being last to feel raindrops and not having to risk pelvic injury to stretch out on airplanes? Don't those count for anything? Hmmm? Hmmmm?
Favorite 80s Movie / Favorite 80s Nobel Laureate
Coming to America / Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1983)