Soccer Alum & World Traveler Returns to Inspire Future SSM Journalists

December 10, 2019

Alumna and graduate of the Girls Soccer Center of Excellence, Kaelyn Korte ’12 returned to campus this week to lead a full day workshop for students on the power of storytelling, with a focus on photography and photojournalism.

Since she graduated from SSM, Kaelyn has traveled the world, alternating between her two passions: playing soccer and taking photos. Her dedication and skill with SSM Soccer brought her to the Women’s Soccer Team at Creighton University where she played for a year, before transferring to the team at Central Michigan University.

Her adventures in storytelling began after she graduated from college with a photojournalism degree. Unsure of where life would take her next, she decided to explore the lives of those around her, writing profiles of people she “met along the way,” in her words.

Kaelyn began her European travels in Kazakhstan playing soccer with a Champions League team called Biik Kazygurt. But she quickly realized that soccer was also a means of communication between her and the locals, much more effective than broken Russian and English, especially when it came to kids. Similarly, she quickly discovered the universal language of holding a camera.

Her 18-month journey in Kazakhstan took her to quite a few European countries and introduced her to many wonderful people, several of whom you can meet for yourself on her website. In the spring of 2019, she saved up to embark on a new journey that took her from Hawaii to several countries in Southeast Asia, where, leaving soccer behind, she was able to focus on connecting with people to understand their lives and tell their stories. While occasionally collaborating with other creators, she was able to build up her portfolio as well as build relationships with others in the business; even in the depths of a jungle, networking can still be a valuable asset. Some topics included the Mazu Pilgrimage in Taiwan and the Lahu Tribe of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

On Monday, December 9th, Kaelyn met in the weCreate Center with students interested in telling stories through photography. After presenting some of her own stories, she sent them out to capture photos of their own around campus, anything that would let them tell the story they wanted to tell. The students were able to work in the weCreate studios to analyze and edit their photos in the same way professionals do, while Kaelyn helped them figure out how to write their stories. 

The workshop concluded with a Deep Dive & Dessert where Kaelyn was able to showcase more of her stories, and the real passion that drives it all: the desire to connect with people all over the world and grow those relationships. They’re the kind of relationship that often begins at SSM, when a student discovers their roommate is from South Korea, or they hear the Nigerian national anthem on International Day.

Up next in January, Kaelyn’s travels will take her to Finland where she will continue her professional soccer career (with the occasional visit to SSM to train with the U15 Boys Soccer team!). She will be playing with Kuopion Palloseura (KuPS). You can continue to follow her journey via her website or on Instagram.