Hounds With Purpose – An Interview with Kaitlin Bevins ’09 by Anna Murphy ’25

Don’t Rush. Explore.

An interview by Anna Murphy’25 with Kaitlin Bevins ’09



Hounds with Purpose is a space for alumni to share their stories of purpose and vocational engagement beyond their years at Assumption. This blog is created by the Center for Purpose and Vocation and the Career Development and Internship Center (CDIC) to better connect students and alumni through experiential storytelling. 

In Fall 2022, students in the SOPHIA Program enrolled in the comparative literature course CLT 255 The Figure of the Seeker, taught by Prof. Esteban Loustaunau.  A class assignment asked students to conduct interviews with alumni who had similar academic interests when they were in college.  In these interviews, SOPHIA students, committed to discerning their own callings and to seeking a life of purpose, were interested in listening to the life stories of alumni in order to learn from their experiences since their time at Assumption, make new connections, and to find inspiration in their wisdom.  We are happy to share these experiences with the blog readers. 

Kaitlin Bevins ’09 is Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Leadership Development at Providence College.  At Assumption she majored in Theology and participated in Community Service Learning, Campus Ministry, and Residential Life.

Anna Murphy ’25 is a SOPHIA Program Collegian with a major in Theology and a minor in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies.  Anna is also involved in a number of Campus Ministry programs including being the student leader for the Advocates for Life club and attending the SEND Service/Immersion trip to El Paso Texas in December 2022. She enjoys serving those in need and hopes to follow a career in which she can carry out this passion.

In this interview, Kaitlin Bevins talks with Anna Murphy about the importance of building community, about the way a liberal arts education prepares you for a life of uncertainty and constant change, and about the need for patience in building a meaningful life.

Anna: What was your favorite part of being a student at Assumption? 

Kaitlin: Everything! I guess my answer when I was there, was the friends I made, and the community that was there. That’s why I chose to go to Assumption. Thinking back on it now, it’s still the friends I made, the friends I still have from Assumption, the connections I still have, or I can have with Assumption because I graduated from there. The other thing I really appreciate continuously is the liberal arts education. I got to take a well-rounded curriculum with courses in a lot of different areas before I had to focus on what I wanted to do.

I am also grateful for the support that I got when I was there. Still to this day, I keep in touch with some of the many administrators that I’ve met. They give me support, mentorship, and the ability to just reach out and feel the connection. I think that Assumption has one of the best ways to build a community. The sense of belonging that’s there is unique. I say this based on just my interactions with other people that went to other colleges and the connections they have.  One of the most important lessons I learned at Assumption is that you should try different things.  This why I love Assumption. I would have never had the same kind of thoughts and conversations if not for that place.

Anna: Was there a member of the Assumption community who made a significant impact on you?  

Kaitlin: I have three professors that really impacted me while I was learning and growing there; Sociology Professor Susan Melia who is now Professor Perschbacker and retired, Professor Kathleen Fisher, who’s in the Theology Department, and Professor Cathleen Stutz who’s in the Education Department. Then, because of all my student leadership involvement, Stephanie McCaffrey had a really big impact on me in Campus Ministry. I had a supervisor when I was working in Residential Life, Bea Patiño, who has become a friend. So, there’s a lot of people who have influenced me, but when people ask me who were at the top when I was a student, those are the people that I would name.

Anna: Please share your educational journey, including majors and minors you had during your time here at Assumption, where you went to graduate school and what you studied there, as well as what jobs this led you to. 

Kaitlin: Something that is not unique, but is part of the journey is that I’ve always been in a Catholic education system. I never went to public school when I was in elementary school or high school. So, it’s very influential now.  It’s not apparent but it is interesting when I meet other people that have, or I interact with people that haven’t. Then I went to Assumption and majored in theology. I minored in CSL, education, and psychology. A lot of those overlapped so many of my classes double counted, which made it a little bit easier. Also, with the theology major, it was easy to do a lot of other things and explore. So that was my time at Assumption.

I also did a year of service after I graduated. Then I came back and went to Springfield College for my Master of Education with a focus in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education. I am currently working towards my MBA at Providence College. It’s a new challenge for me, which is really what I was looking for and is fulfilling because I’m learning new things.

The reason I went into higher education and student affairs was not necessarily my majors and minors, but my student leader experience at Assumption. It’s what led me to coming back. I got a graduate assistantship at Holy Cross while getting my master’s degree at Springfield. It was being a Resident Assistant, involvement in Campus Ministry, and community service work that led me to this. I did a lot of leadership which was really fun and very influential to the work I do now.

Anna: I love to hear it! I am also very involved with Campus Ministry and that’s kind of where I found an interest in service, so I was wondering if that’s something I could do with my theology degree in the future, which I’m pretty sure I can. So, it’s very interesting to hear that there are similarities in what you went through and what I am going through. 

Kaitlin: Yes, actually, Catholic Social Teaching was the thing in the theology degree that I really was interested in the most. That was where I understood what service was as well as solidarity and how to walk in somebody else’s shoes.

I really think that you should try different things. It goes back to why I love Assumption and the liberal arts education. I would have never had the same kind of thoughts and conversations if not for that place.

Anna: Interesting, I want to take that, that sounds great!  How does this compare to your original plan for your educational path? 

Kaitlin: I’m a first-generation college student and am the oldest of four kids. So, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I also don’t have parents that tell me or try to influence me of what I want to do. They just told me I needed to be happy, and to just do what makes me happy. When I was looking for colleges, or even before when I was in high school, and people would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up, I had many different interests. I wanted to do physical therapy. At one moment I wanted to be a nurse. At another time I wanted to be a teacher. I also wanted to be a librarian. So, I was always interested in some sort of helping profession because I really can’t go a day without seeing another human. I know that about myself.

When I got to Assumption, theology was the easiest for me.  I really liked my high school, and I thought I could be good at being a teacher. As I talk about it, I’m like, “Oh, I remember that was hard,” because at one point I was an English major, but I dropped that because I didn’t love it enough. So, theology was easy. I do appreciate the degree and the curriculum that I got, and I don’t regret it at all.

But, when I was a junior, I realized that I should have, or could have, been a sociology major. I really loved those courses and connected with them. But I think that I would have never gotten there if I hadn’t taken the theology classes. So, it isn’t a regret, it’s more of a realization. What was great is that I was a junior and I had room, so I was able to really focus on that part of the education as well. I took a couple of sociology classes in addition to the other classes I needed to take. The professors I named before are the people who helped me to really figure out that it was okay that I didn’t major in sociology, and I can use what I was learning in both classes. It was great because these professors helped me to make it work and I realized that the electives we get to take can actually be designed to our interests, you just have to be able to kind of know and communicate that. So that changed what I was doing. Then, when I was a junior, I realized that I really liked the extracurriculars and that it could be a job. So, that’s kind of the path I started to take. But I always wanted to give back to other people. I don’t know if that was an Assumption thing, my parents, or just what is part of my core being, but I always want to be giving back.

Anna: Can you share a time you changed your path based on gut feeling? 

Kaitlin: I don’t know if it’s a gut feeling, but I remember when I was working at Holy Cross and interviewing for other jobs because I needed to be able to make more money. There was a meeting where I had to walk around campus with one of the Jesuit priests. At the end, when it was just him and I walking back to our offices, he was talking to me about staying at Holy Cross. He said “I think you’re meant to be here. I think you really will do good work here.” I had just been there for like nine months. I hadn’t been there long, and I hadn’t really interacted with him before. So, it wasn’t necessarily a gut feeling, but I think it was a sign from God. Not just because he’s a priest, but I think it was a sign that I needed to stay. I ended up getting the job offer that I had been applying to, but I decided to stay at Holy Cross even though, probably financially, I should have left. That changed the trajectory of what I did next, because I ended up staying at Holy Cross for four and a half years, getting a full-time job there, and opportunities opened up to me that would have never opened if I had left. So, it wasn’t a gut feeling, but I did change the path I was going to take because of a sign from God. That’s kind of what I do now. I don’t wait for it, but I put myself in a position to be able to pray about what should happen next and I kind of go with it from there. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That means if it doesn’t work, it’s just not time.

Anna: What is your understanding of vocation?  

Kaitlin: I think that it is your calling. I think that it is something that you’re passionate about, and something that’s going to really fulfill you in your life. Sometimes I’ve talked about vocation or thought about vocation before and heard people say, ‘It doesn’t have to be your job, the thing that gets you paid to live, it could be something else.’ But I really think that it could be if you really worked at it. You can’t just get your vocation from a calling without working hard and exploring all kinds of options. I also think it could change; it’s not a set thing, and you don’t need to pick something you think is your vocation, and then stay with it forever. I think it can evolve based on your life experiences and where you’re supposed to be. It is not just going to land in your lap, you have to work at it. You have to meet with people, experience life, and interact with the world in different ways in order to find your vocation. Then you have to work hard to get it, it’s not just something that’s given. But if it’s your vocation, you will work hard at it because you care.

Anna: How has what you learned in theology classes shaped you and influenced other aspects of your life, specifically your view on career and vocation? 

Kaitlin: I honestly think that it has influenced every part of my life. There was a moment at Assumption, that I’ll never forget, and I’m pretty sure if you asked Professor Fisher about this, she would remember it too. I was in her class, my senior year, and we had to read a book about modern day disciples. I’ll be honest, I was not a good theology major. Once I realized I didn’t really want to do what I originally wanted to with it, I kind of was like “I just got to finish it.” I was really much more passionate about the service and sociology classes and how the world worked in that capacity rather than what theology was doing for me. Anyways, we read a chapter about Dorothy Day who had an abortion when she was young, but she is still considered a modern-day disciple. I remember sitting in class and being like “Excuse me, this is everything I haven’t learned before in my life! What do you mean that this can happen?” And I basically said most of the stuff out loud. I forget exactly what happened, but I remember the moment, because from that moment on I realized learning was something I loved to do.

I realized I’m never going to know everything, I’m never going to be able to understand all concepts, and no one is perfect. Everybody deserves a chance whether that’s a chance to go to school, a chance to get a job, or a chance to have a conversation. Everybody has a story. Everybody deserves to be heard. Everybody deserves to learn. I’ll never forget that moment, because then I started going to all my classes and wondering, “What am I going to learn next? What can I apply?”

I also took an independent study in my last semester with a few other students for my community service learning minor. Professor Melia was the leader of it all. There was a small group of us that adored her, loved her, and wanted to take as many classes with her as possible. For us, the class was like the culmination of everything we learned at Assumption. It really didn’t change the course of my life, but it has influenced how I interact, how I learn, and how I perceive others. So those are things that have shaped me and are moments that I’m never going to forget. They’re always going to influence how I interact in the world. They’re really special moments because I learned a lot. I didn’t really know that that’s how you’re supposed to learn before. Going back to that restlessness, it always brings me to the fact that I should probably learn something new. I’m never going to learn everything so why not try to learn something else? It’s kind of a motivation.

Anna: Can you tell me a little bit about what you do in your current role as Assistant Dean of Student Engagement and Leadership Development? What are some aspects of the job that bring you joy and make you excited to wake up in the morning? 

Kaitlin: I currently do what some people will describe as “anything that it needs to be done that day.” What’s interesting about my role is I started during Covid, and I didn’t really have a defined role. I started the day students were told to go home. So, for the first six months I was meeting people over Zoom. I didn’t see a lot of my colleagues for the first six months to a year. Then, when Providence went back to campus full blast, I ended up in the hotel with the students that got sick. I was in the hotel, helping with just a variety of different customer service activities; giving them food, answering calls, moving them around, etc. So, for the first year it wasn’t anything that I thought I signed up for. Afterwards, I supervised student activities, orientation transitions, and leadership. I work directly with the commuter students on campus and then I do a lot of different things under the Dean’s name. So, I follow up with students on the Care Team, which are basically students of concern on all different levels. Then I do a lot of different committee work and collaborations across the college which depend on the specific day and what is needed. For example, last year we celebrated fifty years of women studying at Providence College, so I sat on a committee that did a lot of work with women celebrating this fiftieth anniversary. So, that’s my job in a little bit of a nutshell.

What gets me excited is just being around the college environment. I really love collaborating. I love working with different departments. I love seeing the potential and opportunity that could be. I think that colleges are always evolving; there’s always something to be looking at, and there’s always something to be working on. I really enjoy reading articles and trying to put the pieces together. Something, that I think is what I learned at Assumption, not necessarily directly, but I would credit it with my education, is that I like reading newspaper articles about things that are not higher education related and trying to connect them. I like to think about; How is this influencing our world? What is happening in other countries that may influence us and our students? Do we need to educate them on something that’s happening around the world? So, I really enjoy trying to learn different things, bringing it together and seeing where the need is for our students. So that’s what gets me excited and up in the morning and what keeps me thinking that this is the field I belong in.

Anna: If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be? 

Kaitlin: You have so much more of your life left. I probably would say, ‘Just be patient.’ I’m someone that goes with the flow. I’m already very adaptable and so I don’t get stressed easily over what the future will hold. I don’t know if it’s something that just wasn’t said to me, or I didn’t realize it, but you do continue to learn and develop after college. It’s not like what you’re studying now is going to be the end all be all. I think that’s what I would probably say. There’s no need to rush.


Learn more about the following programs at Assumption University:  

The SOPHIA Program

The Community Services Learning Program

The Major and Minor Program in Sociology

The Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies Department

The Theology Department


To learn more about alumni and student relationships on vocational discernment, visit the new ASPIRE Program page.  



By Kelly Stairs M.A. '10
Kelly Stairs M.A. '10 Assistant Director