Katy Giffin dreams of having a global impact and taking the next step toward making that happen.

Giffin, the daughter of Steven and Latisha Potter of Mindenmines, Mo., earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from PSU in May. This fall, Giffin and her husband, Michael, will move to Geneva, Switzerland, where Katy will begin a master’s degree program at the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies.

Kathryn Giffin

Kathryn Giffin

“Ultimately, what I’d like to do is research for an international human rights organization,” Katy said. “I’d like to use my education to help solve some of the biggest human rights problems we see in the world.”

Katy said she knew after a semester-long study-abroad experience in Malta that she wanted to get a graduate degree in Europe.

“I just knew after that, that I wanted to study in Europe,” Katy said.

To make that happen, Katy researched graduate degree opportunities in Europe and found the Graduate Institute of International and Developmental Studies in Geneva to be among the best. She applied for and won a full scholarship to the two-year program. Katy will be among 20 students from all over the world who will be entering the program in the fall.

Over the summer, Katy said, she and Michael, who earned a master’s degree in chemistry from PSU this spring, worked on their French and prepared for their big change of address.

“We’ve put a deposit down on an apartment on campus,” Katy said.

Michael, meanwhile, is working on getting into a Ph.D. program in chemistry in Geneva.

“It’s all exciting, terrifying and a lot of other emotions,” Katy said. “I think Mom and Dad were both a little surprised that I went through with this, but it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”