Kathy Garren

Kathy Garren headshot

The most difficult question for me to answer growing up was, "Where are you from?" My father was in the Army, requiring my family to move regularly. When I enrolled at Penn State as an undergraduate student, I was starting my thirteenth new school. Four years later, when I graduated with a degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies, I had lived in State College, Pennsylvania longer than I had ever lived anywhere else. In many ways, it had become my home.

Through my Women's Studies courses and volunteer work with both a domestic violence shelter and Habitat for Humanity during college, I developed a passion for social justice issues; I was determined to make a difference. After graduation, I headed to Boston for law school at Northeastern, a progressive law school with a focus on collaboration and public interest work. My first position after obtaining my law degree was a clinical teaching fellowship with Northeastern's Domestic Violence Institute and Clinic in which I spent three years supervising law students as they advocated for victims of violence in court and emergency room settings. Domestic violence work was challenging but rewarding and I enjoyed supervising and mentoring law students.

After three years, I left Northeastern to practice as an associate at a small firm in Boston that specialized in family law, including divorce, child custody, paternity, annulment, child support and domestic violence cases. While my decision to leave public interest work was based primarily on my desire to gain additional litigation experience, I also welcomed the opportunity to make a dent in my law school loans. When my husband and I decided to move back to central Pennsylvania, I joined a medium-sized firm in State College as an associate and practiced family law exclusively in Centre and surrounding counties for two years.

After my daughter was born, I had some time to reflect upon my career and, while still passionate about the law and social justice issues, I realized that my most rewarding work was with my students. I am excited to return to Penn State as an academic adviser and to use my own educational and career experiences to assist students who are exploring majors as well as those who are considering law school.


  • B.A. in Psychology and Women's Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • J.D., Northeastern University School of Law

Current Position

Senior Undergraduate Studies Adviser and Pre-Law Adviser

Contact Information

E-mail: keg146@psu.edu
Office: 105 Grange Building
Phone: 814-865-7576
Fax: 814-863-8913