Nikki Kateman ’10

Like many college students, Nikki Kateman ‘10, a member of the 2019 10 Under 10, entered Adelphi with preset ideas about what she was going to do.

In high school, she was interested in theater. But a Rolling Stone article her father shared about the 2000 election sparked her interest in current events and feminism. That catalyst was further ignited when she attended an open house at Adelphi. There she met Traci Levy, PhD, currently associate professor in the Department of Political Science.

“Her passion for the department and clearly for her students stood out for me,” said Kateman, who is the political communications director of the Local 338 Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “Just the initial conversation I had with her that day made me realize this is the place I wanted to be, and if all the professors were like her, then clearly my education was going to be exactly what I hoped it would be.” She became a political science major and gender studies minor. Her plan was to go to law school and become an entertainment attorney so she could work for a record label.

“Unfortunately, the economy collapsed, and that plan didn’t seem sustainable anymore,” she said. “More importantly, through my college courses I also realized that fighting for social and economic justice mattered so much more to me— both personally and in the grand scheme of the world.”

“I never had a professor dismiss anything I had to say. This gave me a confidence that I carry with me now and helped me find my voice that I have in my professional life”

Kateman said her Adelphi professors are some of the most supportive people she’s ever met.

“And 10 years later, I still keep in touch with almost all of them, not just because of how much I learned from them, but also because of what truly great human beings they are,” Kateman said. “They really invest themselves in their students.”

She credits this network of professors, as well as classmates, for continuing to provide professional guidance. “I think one of the best things I can say is that as a naturally outgoing and argumentative person, Adelphi gave me the confidence to speak up and really say what I believed in the classroom. I never had a professor dismiss anything I had to say. This gave me a confidence that I carry with me now and helped me find my voice that I have in my professional life.”

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