Kate Meersschaert, Director of Instruction, Greater New York City
Quick quiz: What do have Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Catalyst Director of Instruction Kate Meersschaert have in common? Beyond having hard-to-pronounce last names, all have had their work featured in New York City's Museum of Modern Art. Yes, Catalyst's very own Kate Meersschaert (whose last name rhymes with we're smart) had a photography book that was featured in the Museum of Modern Art's trés trendy design shop. (Try sayin' that about your team members, Princeton Review.) Prior to her MoMA debut, Kate grew up in Texas while her father pursued a medical degree at Texas A&M University. After her father agreed to abide by the covenants of the Hippocratic Oath ("I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure. I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug. I will take accept most PPO plans but make Blue Shield subscribers wait 17 years for appointments), Kate's parents moved her family to decidedly un-Texas-like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it rained a lot. Like a lot a lot. So much so that Kate headed to Tucson after high school, enrolling in the honors college of the University of Arizona, where she pursued a dual degree in Studio Art and Art Education as well as a minor in Psychology. After graduating magna cum laude and working as an "Artist's Relations Specialist," Kate moved to NYC, where her interest in art, marketing, and sniffing vanilla and toffee with whiffs of Japanese cherry blossoms coalesced into a five-year career in the French fragrance business. So strong was Kate's business acumen and olfactory sense (she is rumored to possess the keenest nostrils east of the Mississippi*) that she even got to attend the FiFi Awards, the perfume industry's equivalent of the Oscars. (In case you've never been, it's basically a giant soiree where a bunch of people named Jacques, Claudette and Philipe tearfully thank other people named Jacques, Claudette and Philipe for helping them realize their lifelong dream of slapping $100 per ounce price tags on mashed-up flowers and animal musk.) Though she loved her time in the "spritz biz," Kate ultimately decided she needed to dedicate herself to something more substantial and thus transitioned to Columbia University's Teachers College, where she was awarded a prestigious Innovation Fellowship in the school's Ed Lab. As Catalyst's Director of Instruction in Greater New York City, Kate utilizes the skills she acquired at Columbia to recruit, train, and maintain a battalion of test prep gurus throughout New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Westchester. She does so with poise and grace, not to mention the loving support of her husband Niels, their adorable baby son Piet, and their family pup, Olie, who would like it to be known is quite adorable, too.
*A questionable blessing when you're the mother of a toddler and live in NYC.
Why She Works for Catalyst
Kate loves being part of a team where people say things like, "Oh my God! That is so metacognitive!" while munching on chips n' guacamole at happy hour.
How the Universe Has Punished Her for Being a Freakishly Good Test-Taker
Not a day goes by when Kate doesn't have to utter: "That's M as in 'Mary,' double e as in 'elephant elephant,' r as in 'Robert,' double s as in 'Sam Sam,' c as in 'Charlie,' h as in 'Harry,' a as in 'apple, e as in 'elephant,' r as in 'Robert,' and t as in 'Thomas.' No, that was two e's and one r. Yes, two s's in the middle. No, s-s as in 'Sam Sam,' not f-f as in 'Frank Frank.' Yes. Yes, I know. I don't know why. No, it's actually Dutch. No, I grew up in Texas. I know – no accent. Sure, you can read it back to me. No, that was in M as in 'Mary,' double e as in 'elephant elephant,' r as in 'Robert'...."
Favorite 80s Movie / Favorite 80s Nobel Laureate
Splash / Camilo Jose Cela (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1989)