Info for Parents Counselors

Mike Knape '12

Student Admission Associate
2011 - 2012

Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
High School: East Grand Rapids High School
Major: International Political Economy

Why did you choose University of Puget Sound?

Location was probably the biggest factor in my decision. I can run along the Puget Sound in the morning and spend the afternoon skiing in the Cascade Mountains. For a Midwesterner, that’s hard to beat.

What professor has especially inspired you during your time at Puget Sound?

Comparative Sociology Professor Gareth Barkin.

What has been your favorite class?

US Foreign Policy with Seth Weinberger

What is your favorite place on campus?

The courtyard between Thompson and Harned Halls is a perfect spot to kick a soccer ball around with friends during a study break.

What is your favorite food in the Wheelock Student Center?  

The new Latin American station. It’s like Chipotle every day.

What advice would you give to a prospective student or first year about the Puget Sound experience?

Get out of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And always ask for help and advice because there are so many interesting perspectives on campus.

What campus activities do you participate in?

News writer for The Trail, Club Water Polo and Sailing, ASUPS Committees, and Intramural Sports.

What quirky or fun thing do you wish you had known before you came to Puget Sound?  

Streets west of campus are generally named after US presidents, while the streets to the east are trees.

Who is your favorite character from a movie/book/television series?  

Any character from a Christopher Moore book. As of right now: Tucker Case.

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

My parents’ high school graduation.  I can’t begin to imagine what that was like.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

If I die Young, by The Band Perry… I’m on a kick.

Summer Research in South America

My International Political Economy Summer Research Grant afforded me maybe the most formative experience of my college career: the opportunity to backpack around South America for nearly three months while learning the intricacies of relevant fieldwork skills.

I traveled from La Paz, Bolivia to Santiago, Chile exploring the political economy of lithium, the element that powers everything from our smart phones to our electric cars. I spoke with noted regional economists, activists, businessmen, and government bureaucrats, all of whom helped shape my understanding of a complex international industry. I was one of few foreigners allowed access to the Bolivian government’s lithium pilot plant and had a VIP seat across from the Bolivian Vice-President at one of the biggest folkloric festivals. I even got to have a little fun in the process, skiing in the Chilean Andes and mountain biking down “the world’s most dangerous road” in rural Bolivia. Of course my trip wasn’t without its ups and downs as I had my passport, laptop, and credit cards stolen, but as a whole it was an unbelievable experience.

The interviews and conversations I had during the summer have been crucial in formulating my senior thesis this fall on the balance of public versus private firms in natural resource industries.

Where are they now?

Mike graduated in May 2012. He has accepted a position at Hitachi Consulting.