Grainey finds synergy between academic disciplines

Climbing a 16-foot ladder with theatre lights in hand is how Linfield College senior Katie Grainey takes a break from her school work.

Grainey, who will graduate with a degree in economics, mathematics and computer sciene from Linfield this month, combines her various interests through a liberal arts education. During her time at Linfield she has been heavily involved with the theatre, developing the lighting for productions. She first discovered her love for light design in high school.

“My freshman year of high school I played a maid in ‘The Miser’ and fell in love with theatre,” said Grainey. “I acted in the shows and helped build the sets but my primary focus was lighting.”

While theatre is not one of her majors, unraveling the puzzles of theatre lighting gives Grainey an opportunity to create. She reviews the entire process from designing and hanging to the focus of the lights.

“What I do in the theatre is very different than what I do for my three majors,” she said. “I’ve always viewed being in the theatre as my playtime; it’s incredibly fun and the theatre faculty is wonderful.”

Over three years Grainey aspired to apply her diverse knowledge in an internship with national defense. During her junior year and after filling out three dozen applications for jobs across the country, she accepted an offer for a summer internship with the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C.

This was not her first internship experience. Grainey spent a previous summer interning at Intel in Hillsboro, where she evaluated the cost effects of using energy-efficient technology in data centers.

While she enjoyed working at Intel, Grainey found working with the Department of Defense much more rewarding.

“Working with the Department of Defense gave me the opportunity to serve my country and see the impact of my work,” she said. “I worked on projects that mattered and learned a lot about how the department works.”

The details of her work with the Department of Defense are confidential but Grainey said the experience was the realization of hard work and determination. After Linfield, Grainey plans to travel to Europe and eventually move to Washington, D.C., to continue the job she started in the summer.