Katrina Schmidt Weighs on Her Four Years with CGO


Katrina Schmidt graduated from the University of Oregon in Winter of 2020 and has been incredibly active with CGO from the beginning of her college career. This is what she wrote about her experiences within the organization:

I am a Human Physiology major and am currently working on my medical school applications to become a psychiatrist. CGO will be the biggest thing I miss from my time at the University of Oregon. Starting out as a freshman, it gave me a community who I could rely on for support and to push me to better myself. Through the upperclassmen I was able to get involved in different clubs and activities that I may not have considered before. The opportunities that the CGO provide are invaluable. Especially as a science major, it was always refreshing to take time every week to ponder complicated issues, do some self-reflection, and learn a little more about the world and each other. Being a part of the CGO has taught me many lessons including the need to practice ethics and that sugar is the devil.

UO Senior Kaela Thomas reflects on the CGO

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 9.21.39 AMKaela Thomas, a senior at the University of Oregon, is an active student in the CGO and a tutor at the University of Oregon Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).

Kaela writes:

Participating in CGO has doubtlessly been one of the most transformative and important aspects of my undergraduate career. From meeting the other members of the pilot-year program, to each and every class since then, to the incorporation of new members, to finally, today, I have not only watched the program transform and improve, but seen those transformations and improvements in myself, too.

The satisfaction of seeing what was once a small and underdeveloped Freshman Interest Group to what is now a thriving, growing and successful program in which members opt to press themselves academically and learn about ethics in the context of speakers as well as conversations and projects with their peers is tantamount to what I feel will be our legacy at the University: an ever-improving, ever-expanding organization that will continue to grant members all that I have appreciated as a member during their undergraduate careers.

As an undergraduate, one is largely permitted to shape one’s own experience. For some, it is an opportunity to develop one’s social life; for others, a time for a focus on academics. While I certainly did not know it at the time I signed up for CGO, this program has challenged me intellectually, given me access to wonderful opportunities, created lifelong friendships and important professional relationships, and given me the tools and desire to seek challenges.

I can never know what my four years at the University of Oregon would have looked like had I not joined the CGO, though I do not hesitate to say that I am happy that I did.


For more information on Kaela Thomas, see:


Mika Weinstein, CGO Alumni, serves in D.C. with Americorps VISTA

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I became involved with the CGO as a freshman, before the program formally existed. Over the next few years I acted as a facilitator, an organizer, a mentor, a friend — however I could strengthen the community we created and enrich our conversations. I tried to push our students to be simultaneously more proactive, reflective, and compassionate.


Being a part of the community had the same effect on me; I often found myself asking questions of the group not just to push them, but to help myself arrive at an answer as I navigated my own philosophies.

I now serve as an Americorps VISTA at Food Recovery Network in the DC Metro Area. I work one-on-one with college students across the country to support their food recovery programs, which take surplus food from campus dining halls and restaurants and donate it to local hunger fighting agencies.Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 8.56.12 AM

My experience with the CGO has prompted me, specifically, to be more aware of the relationships between campuses and their surrounding communities. I appreciate that I get to help students break down those barriers through my current work. More broadly, I seek out the kinds of conversations and inquiries that I became accustomed to having every week with the CGO. When the space isn’t already there, I create it (last month I organized a discussion on how personal identity plays into service work for VISTAs in the Baltimore area).

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 8.54.30 AMAs I consider where I see myself next year, I’m more oriented toward positions where I’ll be able to invest directly in my community. And, of course, once a Carnegie, always a Carnegie! Despite being described as a convocation-to-commencement program, I’m grateful to say it is far from over at graduation.



To learn more about the Americorps VISTA Program visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-vista

To learn more about Mika Weinstein, visit:



Senior Caleb Huegel Reflects on Four Years with CGO

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.35.34 AMFor someone like me, who has spent his entire life living in a single community, leaving home for college can be extraordinarily daunting—even if that college is only a two-hour drive away.  Even more ominous is the prospect of setting those feelings aside and engaging in an academic setting that is as demanding and competitive as the University of Oregon’s Robert D. Clark Honors College, without the support of living with one’s family.

For me, Carnegie Global Oregon made doing that possible.

Like most residential Freshman Interest Groups, the CGO requires that its members live and attend certain classes together for the first term of their first year at the University of Oregon.  For many, FIGs serve as a support group, putting students with similar interest into a situation where they can help each other to make the transition into college life—making it to class on time, establishing study habits, working collaboratively on projects, etc.

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Meeting Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Portland

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Celebrating the end of another successful year in Prof. Cohen’s back yard

Unlike other FIGs, however, the CGO lasts all four years of a student’s undergraduate career.  During this time, the organization continues to serve as a support group; however, as members become more involved on and off campus and as the age and experience of those members varies, the CGO starts to serve as a space where both networking and mentoring can take place.

Never before joining the CGO had I been a part of a group of students as passionate, ambitious, and diverse in their academic pursuits.

Between this and the incredible line-up of speakers and special guests that the organization has exposed me to, I am firmly of the belief that becoming a member of the CGO was one of the best decisions, and most valuable experiences, that I have made during my time at the University of Oregon.