Student Spotlight: Kate Guditz

Kate Guditz

Class Year: 2024

Programs: Master of Social Work, Master of Arts in Bioethics and Medical Humanities

Master of Social Work student Kate Guditz is becoming comfortable with helping her patients navigate the unknown.

“I am learning that I do not have to always know the answers to the big questions that arise at the end of someone’s life, “ said Guditz. “Sometimes humility, kindness and the silence to openly speak are comforting enough.” 

Guditz says her patients are great teachers. While working in palliative care at Cleveland Clinic, a 102-year-old patient explained that dying can be seen as yet another adventure.

“The patient candidly spoke about his greatest accomplishments and his previous near-death experiences, but most of all, his gratitude for a life well lived,” Guditz shared. “In a job in which I am intimately intertwined with the presence of death, it is difficult not to feel overwhelmed with sorrow. However, this patient allowed me to see that sadness doesn’t always have a place at the bedside.”

Guditz worked as a preschool teacher for three years before enrolling at Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. The experience helped her learn the intricacies of interacting with families—another important skill needed for a career providing end-of-life care.

Guditz chose the Mandel School because it is one of the few programs to offer a dual-degree in social work and bioethics. Plus, she was intrigued by its proximity to top healthcare facilities. 

She appreciates the unique opportunities at Case Western Reserve to engage in both social work and medicine. This semester she is working alongside an interprofessional healthcare team managing patients’ symptoms from multiple angles.

Guditz enjoys the connections she has made with other students through her role as the executive director for the Mandel Council for Student Leadership. The council works to create student programming and professional and community-building events, including welcome week activities, a “cookies and convos” gathering and trivia nights. 

“I have loved the friendships that I’ve made at the Mandel School,” she said.