We Are the Class of 2020 Telling our story, one graduate at a time.

Catherine Armstrong on snow-covered mountain

May 1, 2020

When senior Catherine Armstrong ’20 graduates in May, she hopes to create a company that uses both technology and the principles of social entrepreneurship to fight human trafficking and break poverty cycles.

“I am passionate about social entrepreneurship and how people are leveraging business to help people in a sustainable way, which means looking at for-profit companies and how they are able to integrate helping people into their business models,” she said.

Armstrong attended UNCW because she received the university’s James R. Leutze Merit Scholarship, named in honor of a beloved and renowned former chancellor. She says it has changed her life forever.

“When this scholarship happened, which is a super-long story and an answer to years of prayers, it brought me here to the best school in the entire world. I have met the most incredible people; I have had the best professors and it’s given me opportunities that never in my wildest dreams did I ever think would be possible,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong, who is double majoring in supply chain management and business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship and business, also minored in Spanish. Her love for the language was inspired by a study abroad trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, after her freshman year. She had never been on a plane before her trip to Argentina, but has since traveled to five countries, including Iceland and Russia.

Reading ranks as her favorite hobby, and she finds it interesting to follow characters’ thought processes and journeys. “Nonfiction books teach you things, but fiction books teach you empathy,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said she is enthusiastic about UNCW not only because of her status as a Leutze Scholar and an Honors College Scholar, but because of her involvement as president of the entrepreneurship club. As a senior, Armstrong has been reflecting on her time at UNCW.

Although she is remaining optimistic, Armstrong said she has found it difficult that the coronavirus pandemic has so abruptly separated her from all of her friends at UNCW and that it has cut her last semester short. She advises that everyone should take this situation one day at a time.

“It is important to check in with yourself and reach out to those around you to see how they are handling everything as well,” she said. “It is a new pace of life, but I know good is going to come from it. Also, humor helps. If you know me, you know I love to laugh. Therefore, if you can, find a way to spread some joy to someone else each day.”

-- Alex Churchill ’21