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Welcoming Change

Recent alumna uses degree to launch new, exciting career

For 22 years, Kate Brine, ’23, loved her job working as a dental assistant. However, after enduring three separate hand surgeries, she found she was unable to continue in that profession.  

“I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had lost my career,” she said. “I had never been in a position like that, and it gave me a better understanding of others who are in that position.” 

As she worked on rehabbing her hand, someone floated the idea of going back to school.  

“That was the missing piece,” Brine said.  

Prior to working as a dental assistant, she earned her associate degree before enrolling at what was then Bridgewater State College, where she left before earning her bachelor’s degree. 

“I really only had a year and a half left of school (to earn my degree),” Brine said.  

After reaching out to Bridgewater State, she found returning to school wasn’t going to be as overwhelming as she thought. 

“It was a very easy process,” she said, but admits some things had changed since the last time she was in a classroom, particularly when it came to computers. 

Despite her unfamiliarity with the newer technology, she found the support she needed.

“I called the IT department and said I had no idea what I was doing and everybody, every single person that I talked to…no one made me feel stupid,” Brine said.  

Beyond that, her professors and classmates were equally supportive.  

“I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, coming back to school at almost 50,” she said. “But the professors and students were so encouraging, they constantly rooted me on.” 

Brine gave a lot of thought as to what she wanted to study and decided to pursue a degree in fine arts with a concentration in photography. Early on, she’d developed a passion for photography, often stealing her father’s camera to take photos. 

“I loved photography and throughout my life have always said, I wish I had gone back to school to study photography and fine arts,” she said.  

Once back at BSU, Brine said, being in the classroom helped reclaim a piece of her she thought was lost. As she engaged with other students, critiquing each other’s work, she felt a part of her long buried come back to life.  

“It was almost therapeutic. It allowed me to reclaim my youth,” she said.  

After graduating in 2023, she took what she learned at Bridgewater to launch her own business and embark on a new career as an architectural photographer. 

A photo of a v shaped building with a blue sky in the backgroun d

She now works with clients that include interior designers, contractors, builders, and others to create images to promote their businesses.  

“It’s been an awesome experience,” she said. “I think anyone starting something new, it’s a little scary, but I think that’s a normal feeling. At the same time, it’s super exciting.” 

The same could be said for going back to school, but because of the positive environment BSU offered, Brine was able to thrive.  

“It opened my eyes to many things I had put on the backburner,” she said. “Going back to school, it really helps you to see clearer where you want to be at this age, at any age really. Overall, it’s just an amazing experience.” 

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