Stories of the Class of 2017: Cat Hildebrand: Writing Her Way

After leaving her abusive biological parents when she was 17, Cat Hildebrand went to live with some close friends who were glad to take her into their home before she could be placed in the foster care system.

Growing up, school was an escape for her; a place where she could go to be with friends and be somewhere where she could get her work done.

"I was pressured as a child to succeed for the sake of succeeding," Hildebrand said. "As an adult, I now want to be successful and work hard for myself."

She graduated magnum cum laude from UNC with a bachelor's degree in English.

She said her education matters to her and has helped her discover what she wants to do and to see the world from multiple perspectives.

When she began looking at universities, Hildebrand was mostly concerned with their affordability.

"I actually ended up attending UNC because it was the most affordable of all the universities I applied to," she said. "When I agreed to come to UNC, I had actually never seen the campus in person and knew almost nothing about the school."

Hildebrand said she enjoyed everyone she encountered at UNC, and that the Honor's Program became a huge part of her identity as a student. She completed her Honor's thesis by creating a television series titled "Found Hero" about a homeless man named Chris who lives in Denver. The series follows Chris as he performs heroic acts, trying to re-enter society, gain new friends and figure out what he wants to do in the future.

"I wrote the first three episodes and ultimately argued for why diversity in television and film is necessary," Hildebrand said.

She hopes to one day be a screenwriter, but in the meantime is considering attending graduate school.

- Monique Becker, Bachelor's in Journalism, 2017

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