Cross country graduate finishes career with three majors, 4.0 GPA

Katherine Germann, recent 2020 graduate, graduated with majors in Spanish, biology and humanities and a minor in chemistry. She not only achieved this with a 4.0 GPA but while also being a member of the women’s cross country team.

The Cincinnati native attended Finneytown High School where she competed in cross country and received the Wildcat Award for spirit, sportsmanship and leadership. Germann also qualified for the Regional Championship. Her commitment to Valpo sparked when she heard the university offered strong programs in the science and Spanish department. 

“I really wanted to be a part of a scholarly community,” said Germann. “To [be able to] have the ability to improve my writing and have a well-rounded educational experience.”

With motivation from Coach Straubel and support from her teammates and professors, Germann was able to focus on her priorities throughout her final year at Valpo. 

“I think during my senior year, when I was also applying to medical school and going to interviews, I gained more insight about focusing on what my priorities are and thinking about what really matters to me in the long run,” Germann said. 

While she was typically taking five courses a semester, Germann had to quickly find a balance between school and sport. 

“After practice, I would usually have something going on. Tutoring, bible study, evening labs. I would do homework whenever I had breaks in between meetings and classes and even wake up early in the morning if I needed to,” Germann said. 

Germann’s academic interests matched clearly with her career paths which is why she landed at Valpo. 

“I loved biology and I knew that I wanted to go pre-med. I also really wanted to major in Spanish, because I just really loved the culture and learning the language,” Germann said. “I was so happy when I realized that I could major in both and that this combination is becoming more typical for pre-med students. I added the humanities major later on through Christ College.”

Even though COVID-19 had shut down the rest of the school year and cross country season, that had not stopped Katherine from running and staying fit as an athlete.

“It was really comforting to have something familiar during such a strange and stressful time. Taylor Justison was especially encouraging when I felt down and unmotivated and gave me a reason to keep running,” Germann said.  

Her cross country career at Valpo was a convincing sign of a special athlete. Germann finished her career with Most Improved and Most Valuable Runner for Cross Country and received the Laurel Award, which is given to a student-athlete with the highest GPA. Other awards received at Valpo included the Presidential Academic Honors Award, CoSIDA Google Cloud Academic All-District Award, Susan Jenny Ehr Scholarship Award, Valparaiso University Alumni Association Distinguished Student Award and Outstanding Spanish Student Award. 

Germann also received awards from Phi Beta Kappa, which honors academic excellence and outstanding scholarly achievement in the liberal arts and sciences, and Sigma Delta Phi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.

“So many people have helped me and believed in me. My mom and dad are very hardworking and supportive. Also my sisters, my teammates, friends, coaches, professors, and people from the chapel. I have been blessed to have so much love and support,” Germann said. 

Graduating with three majors and a 4.0 GPA, Germann plans on attending Medical School at Ohio State University. While her career at Valpo has come to a conclusion, her humbling achievements of athletic ability and academic performance will stand strong for many years to come.

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