This week's Wildcat of the Week is Paula Bernhard ’13, an alumni ambassador for Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy happening on December 1, 2015.

Paula is pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. “I’m hoping to either be a prison psychologist or go into private practice and do forensic assessment, determining whether someone is competent to stand trial,” she says.


Paula regularly donates to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, where she volunteered as a student at Northwestern. “They’re doing amazing work, investigating and exonerating people who are in prison wrongfully,” Paula says of the Pritzker School of Law clinical center. “My passion would be to work at a place like it.”


Paula also gave back to Northwestern in another way, having worked as a student caller in the Phonathon fundraising program all four years of college. “It’s a really challenging job,” she says. “But no matter how old or young, the alumni and I could relate when talking about all the awesome things that Northwestern has to offer.” Paula says she felt compelled to participate in Phonathon because she had received a scholarship to attend Northwestern. “I couldn’t be there if someone wasn’t raising money for me, so it seemed like the right thing to do.”


After two years, Paula began training callers herself. She now looks back at Phonathon as valuable skill building for her work in graduate school as an instructor. “I get up there in front of hundreds of kids, and I can communicate what I need to say and keep the energy up.”


In addition to donating every year since graduating—earning her Bronze status in the NU Loyal giving society—Paula continues to volunteer for Northwestern. In her role as an alumni ambassador, she will spread the word to family and friends about #CATSGiveBack, Northwestern’s Giving Tuesday campaign. “I love that it’s around the holidays, so people are already thinking about giving.”


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