Catherine graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, in Women’s Studies and Economics. She received a Master of Advocacy and Political Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Catherine works for The University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension as the first Area Extension Director for Chippewa, Dunn, and Eau Claire Counties. She serves with colleagues to bring the Wisconsin Idea alive through transformational education in the tri-county area. Before this role, she was a family living educator for the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Trempealeau County, where she partnered with organizations and people to build family resilience through complex social issues, alternatives to incarceration, treatment and diversion courts, immigrant families, and community leadership development. In addition to her career with UW-Extension, Catherine represents over 66,000 people as an at-large member on the Eau Claire City Council. Notably, she is the first Latina/o elected in her community.Building community resilience is a praxis of her life experiences, scholarship, and research combined. Catherine was a recipient of the 2013 University of Wisconsin-System Outstanding Women of Color in Education award. Catherine has employed improvisational theater in her teaching, finding ways to help emerging leaders find authenticity, unity, and courage through learning and playing together. Saying “yes, and,” (considered the main concept in improv theater), has helped Catherine develop her skills and helps others to bring out their leadership voice with many others on life’s stage.