A reminder of realizing her direction
A pair of ginkgo leaves represent the importance of a life-changing college internship and ultimate career direction for North Central College Box Office Manager Kirsten Kleman ’17/M ’20. Her internship at the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust Home and Studio in Oak Park affirmed her ambition for a career in non-profit management and her decision to pursue a master’s degree at North Central.
“On the Frank Lloyd Wright property, there was an enormous ginkgo tree,” she said. “I’d never seen a Ginkgo in person before … but then I learned there are 20 on our campus.”
After her internship, Kleman decided to tattoo ginkgo leaves on her upper leg as a reminder of how much she valued that experience in affirming her life choices—as well as plant life and sustainability. “I am a first-generation college student, and I didn’t always receive a ton of support for pursuing an art history degree at a private college,” Kleman explained. “I come from a family of laborers and miners, so this wasn’t a traditional career path.”
On graduation day from North Central, her brother-in-law added a tattoo on her arm saying “think of good things” in her grandfather’s handwriting from a letter he’d sent her. The letter is now framed above her desk in the Fine Arts Center. “It reminds me to keep my head up and continue working hard and being positive,” she said. “All my tattoos represent my commitment to and respect for sustainability, my family ties, and my career ambitions.”