For anyone seeking the ideal student-athlete — someone who excels in sports, the classroom and the community —it’s difficult to find a better example than Katie Landes ’17.
Now a graduate student in diplomacy and international relations, as an undergrad Landes performed well as captain of the women’s soccer team and was a superstar away from it. In addition to graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA, the history major who also pursued a minor in Spanish participated in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and Seton Hall’s Leadership Academy, and worked with One Love, a foundation that combats violence in relationships.
In the words of her history professor Sara Fieldston, “Katie is a rare gem.”
The Stony Point, New York, native lived in the Netherlands with her family from the age of 9 months to 5 years old, and always loved learning about the world around her. Both of her parents, Gary and Suzy Landes, work for the United Nations.
“I was lucky enough to grow up in a house that was very accepting, and we’re all very curious about different cultures,” says Landes, who has four older siblings. “We don’t have typical dining room conversations in our family. … They’re not diplomats, but that’s what gave me an exposure in this field and they’ve been helpful in guiding me along with it.”
Landes was the top student in her class at North Rockland High School and a star soccer player, leading her team to the state title game. Her academic and athletic prowess led her to Seton Hall, where she developed into a starter and, ultimately, became the team captain.
As someone who “tried to lead with a great work ethic,” Landes did her best. She was among the Pirates’leaders in minutes played each of her final two seasons, and her efforts in both the midfield and the back helped the team to achieve seven shutouts during her three seasons as a starter.
Logging so many minutes and playing in the BIG EAST, one of the best conferences in the country, helped give Landes great perspective. She appreciated knowing “I’m playing against some of the best competition in the country, playing against girls who are nationally ranked players. That drives me as a player.”
As a student, she is driven by a love of the past, which helped make her a standout in her major. She always enjoyed history and “in college that only grew. I learned things I never learned in a generic history class before, and I love learning about new things, new people, experiencing new things, and seeing how history has really explained who we are.”
Professor Fieldston — who taught Landes in the history of New York City and in a class about America since 1945 — says that in addition to her enthusiasm and preparation, Landes “always did the reading and was able to engage with it in a really meaningful way. She’s also a really strong writer.”
For a long time, Landes believed she would become a lawyer, but the wide-open possibilities offered from a graduate degree in international relations and diplomacy attracted her to that specialty. Landes hopes to land an overseas internship in Geneva or The Hague, and says she eventually might follow her parents to the United Nations. But she’s also looking at a possible internship as an analyst with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, noting, “Analysis is one of my strong points. I love reading, digesting the words on the page and synthesizing them in my own words.”
She doesn’t know where in the world those skills will take her. “Frankly, whatever she puts her mind to she’ll be good at,” Fieldston says. “Whatever career she chooses, she’s going to do really well, because of who she is.”
Shawn Fury is an author in New York City.