Alumni Stories

Kate Wells (C’ 10)

A reporter is always on the lookout for a good story, and Principia alum Kate Wells is no exception. But how does an undergraduate major in religion translate into an award-winning career in public radio reporting?

Religion is “just where the great stories are!” exclaims Kate, who covers culture, education, and general news for Michigan Radio. Her stories have been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, as well as on New York City’s WNYC and Harvest Public Media. 

Kate also minored in Political Science, since she feels the two areas of study complement each other. “I feel both departments have designed their programs extremely well,” she says, crediting her Principia professors with helping her learn how to make a subject appealing to listeners. “When you get an assignment as a reporter, you think, ‘How can I hook somebody’s interest in this? How can I make it clear and relatable for any audience?’ I realize now that this is exactly what Principia professors did for me and other students every day,” she explains. 

In the summer before her junior year, Kate interned with New Hampshire Public Radio, then traveled on the Peru Abroad that year and served on the board of the Public Affairs Conference. These experiences were “eye-openers” that improved skills in “thoughtful” traveling, professional networking, and event planning, Kate says. During her first job with Iowa Public Radio after graduation, Kate covered the presidential caucuses and won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for investigative journalism.

In hindsight, Kate values the general education requirements for Principia’s liberal arts program. “[They] forced me to take classes I might not have picked otherwise, and to make connections between subjects. . . . For example, I took a philosophy class at the same time I was taking math, and having to do proofs in both classes was amazing! You see how logic, clarity and evidence work on a fundamental level.”