One of the happiest days of my life: at Machu Picchu at dawn, spring 2007.


When I started college, I left my hometown in the suburbs of Denver and went to school in a new city and state where I knew no one. Over the four years of my undergraduate experience I discovered true academic passions, made wonderful friends, and had my first of many experiences traveling the world. I have a broad range of passions, from academic interests in social justice and education in prisons to a whole set of non-academic pursuits, from attending concerts to bookbinding to rock climbing to creative writing.

I share a good amount of personal stories in this blog, so I hope you'll get to know me a bit as time goes on. I write about how important it was for me to first take to the road as an international traveler, and some of the very real challenges I faced as well. I use my life and experiences as an illustration of my advice. My experiences are unique to me, but the lessons learned apply to many in making the very best of college.

My best friends at the University of Oregon, spring of freshman year (Steps of the Honors College, Spring 2007)

My college best friends, our senior year at the University of Oregon (Steps of the Honors College, spring 2010)

A Quick Academic Overview




Mitchell Scholar, looking scholarly

Mitchell Scholar, looking scholarly

The Mitchell Scholarship provides full funding for a one-year Master's degree in Ireland or Northern Ireland for up to twelve American scholars each year. I was deeply honored to be chosen as a Mitchel Scholar, and pursuing an LLM in International Human Rights Law at Queen's and NUIG was a fabulous experience.

Where am I now?

I have just returned to the US after almost three years living in Ireland and Northern Ireland. I've moved to Portland, Oregon, where I have all the green trees and while landscapes my heart desires. 

I have recently started a nonprofit called Another Look which provides professional photography and storytelling services to nonprofits and direct service providers. If you are interested in nonprofits and volunteering, please check us out at Among other creative projects, I am also involved with an interesting startup, Better Than Bad studios, which does graphic design and videos in the esports industry.

Please check out The Book List to follow my reading adventures.

You can connect with me around the interwebs on my twitter @kdcollegeadvice or via email at

Katie Dwyer of My College Advice


I do lots of other writing around the interwebs. Here's a few links to other projects and guest writing: 

Unmade in Ireland 

Unmade in Ireland

I'm super excited about my collaborative photography blog with Gregory Nolan called Unmade in Ireland. It documents the lives of working musicians in Ireland who haven't "made it" yet--bands and solo artists as they perform, write, and live their music and work their 'day jobs.' I interview the musicians to delve into their experiences as working musicians as Ireland--their goals and aspirations, and how they balance their art with living their daily lives.  

Around the web 

For all the music fans out there: "Don't Drink More than Your Share: the Rules of Backstage" for Xtra Mile Recordings.

A concert review-meets-sociology-of-a-conflict-zone piece, "Frank Turner in Belfast" for What's the Ruckus?

A blog post for the Peace Meals website about the power of sharing my case, in prisons. "In the Unlikeliest Places."

During my time in Ireland, I also worked with multimedia production company, which makes films for museums and cultural heritage sites. One of my biggest projects was writing the script for a film on the Battle of Clontarf for Dublin's Viking and Medieval Museum. Check it out! 

Other Writing

I've contributed multiple posts for the excellent word-a-day blog Lexicolatry, including "Boondocks," "Besmirch," and "Canoodle." I've also done quite a bit of writing for the college advice blog HackCollege, including "How to Cultivate Friendships in College," "How to Stop Worrying and Accomplish Your Goals," and "7 Essential Ways to Prepare for Studying Abroad." 


As I wrote about in my piece "What I Learned Taking College Classes in Prison," my experience with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program was a transformational one for me. Check out this video from one of these classes: