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January 2011 College Park Spotlight Dr. Kathryn L. Norsworthy By Toria Hoffman, Student Reporter

porter” story. I wasn’t sure whether to jump for joy or break down and cry because it felt like my dreams were coming true. I couldn’t wait to rush home and tell my mom the great news. I couldn’t wait to be a part of the College Park Newspaper team and I was more than hon- ored to do an article for Mrs. Goetz. As I realized with my very first interview, I was ready take that next step and deliver.


Interviewing Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy was less nerve wracking and, plain and simple, downright awesome. I was fortunate to meet such a nice lady with such a long sheet of accomplish- ments that followed her. When I first entered my 7th period class that day, I was filled with excite- ment. Little did I know, Dr. Norsworthy was right outside our back door in the attendance lobby. I smiled at her as I passed by on my way to the restroom. As I sat down at my desk, it suddenly struck me that the woman I had just passed by was Dr. Nor-

Kathryn L. Norsworthy, Ph. D.

sworthy. Rushing back out to greet her with my materi- als in hand, I introduced myself and quickly got ac- quainted. That was after I had dropped everything in my hand on the floor, making a complete fool of myself in the process. I’d be lying if I said my nerves did not kick in because of that embarrassing moment. But her smile reassured me somehow and my bad case of nerves left me. We soon sat down and began talking. She told me about her background and I listened to stories about her life back in Perry, Georgia where she lived until 1975 after high school. Being the first of her family to attend college, Dr. Norsworthy made her education and extra time worthwhile, helping others when she could.

Even at a young age she was interested in child and fam- ily services, although she never really considered major- ing in it until she took related courses and fell in love with the field. Graduating in 1984 with a doctoral degree in Psychology, Dr. Norsworthy traveled to Europe think- ing that she would teach English. After she arrived, she moved to Germany where she served as a Civilian Child & Family Psychologist with the U.S. Military. After she returned to the U.S. she traveled to Athens. Georgia where she attended the University of Georgia and

s a seventeen year old with high hopes of becoming a journalist one day, I was more than a little elated to accept Mrs. Debbie Goetz’s offer to do the first “Student Re-

College Park Community Paper


Completed a two year post doctoral program. It wasn’t until 1992 that Dr. Norsworthy made herself a part of the College Park Community where she has lived ever since.

That August, she also became a part of one of Florida’s most prestigious schools, Rollins College. There, she became a professor of Graduate Studies and Counseling. What Dr. Norsworthy loves most about her job is living in different cultures and exploring the different views and experiences while living in others’ environments. Living in America has taught Dr. Norsworthy that Americans often do not have a very diverse view of the world. According to her, the “white American perspec- tive is just one way of viewing the world.” She strived to learn and see more of those in third world countries to get a better understanding of different cultures. While accomplishing her goals, Dr. Norsworthy set her sights on Thailand where she is a women’s activist. She first became involved in relations in Thailand when she trav- eled there as an Eastern philosophy and meditation stu- dent. There, she became very involved in women’s rights. She later found a newsletter by a Thai professor, who introduced her to Ouyporn Khuankaew—another feminist activist. They struck up a friendship and part- nership where they both helped to fight for a cause. To- gether, they both help raise awareness for HIV/AIDS and build a sense of leadership, empowerment, and peace building skills in women. They mainly teach these skills to women of Cambodia, Thailand, and refugees of Burma.

Perhaps the most significant projects Dr. Norsworthy has worked on are with women in Burma whom have es- caped from the dictatorship. Since 1997, Dr. Norsworthy has helped make a difference in those women’s lives as they search for meaning and freedom from dictatorship and low value in their society. Over a million of Thai- land’s residents are refugees and ethnic minorities from

Burma who were targeted because their ethnicity or re- sistance. It is here that Dr. Norsworthy has worked with women’s organizations in and outside refugee camps while also teaching the people to look at and end vio- lence and indifference towards women. She helps local groups understand causes and effects of violence against women and develop solutions. Dr. Norsworthy and her Thai colleague, Ms. Khuankaew, supported the Shan women of Burma (one of the ethnic minority groups targeted by the dictatorship), to start a women’s organi- zation, Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN). SWAN gained recognition with Florida Representative, Iliana Ros-Lehtinen, when they released a report docu- menting the sexual assault of Shan women inside Burma.

If I have learned anything from meeting with Dr. Nor- sworthy, it is that we not should stand for women, but with them. By standing with them, we allow them to have a vision and a voice for themselves. I was fortunate to meet such a wise woman like Dr. Norsworthy, and quite frankly, I couldn’t have asked for a better College Park resident to interview. I am lucky to have been given the opportunity to become a member of this paper and I will continue to strive and reach for my goals, just as Dr. Norsworthy has done for hers.

Our first Student Reporter, Toria Hoffman, is a junior at Edgewater High School. Toria excels academi- cally and hopes to major in Journal- ism in college. She hopes to someday be a best selling author.

If you would like to nominate an outstanding person for College Park Spotlight, please send us an email at

We are looking for College Park residents who are a significant part of College Park history or who have made an impact in our community or the world.

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