Alumni Spotlight - March 2021
Kaitlin Endres '11
Kaitlin Endres grew up in Portland, OR and attended Grant High School, a large school in the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL). Out of approximately 4,000 seniors in the PIL when she graduated, Kaitlin was the only one to enroll at Oregon Tech that year. Moving to the small town of Klamath Falls was a big change for her, especially not knowing a single person. However, the change of scenery and opportunity to start adulthood in this way excited Kaitlin. Her interest in studying Mammography was what initially led her to Oregon Tech but after one term, Kaitlin switched gears and began studying Pre-Medical Biology, thinking that a medical career was in her future. On campus, Kaitlin worked part time for the Provost, she was a Teacher’s Assistant for Anatomy and Physiology courses, a Microbiology tutor for the Tech Opportunities Program office and was one of the original founding members of the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, serving as president in 2009. In 2009, Kaitlin was also the recipient of the National Outstanding Community Service award while she served as Miss Klamath County, part of the Miss America organization.
Grateful for the lessons learned on campus, Kaitlin says that, “Oregon Tech taught me how to ask questions instead of just ‘fake it until I make it.’” At commencement, she was the student speaker for the College of Health, Arts and Sciences and to this day, Kaitlin says that is her proudest moment. She had moved to a town where she knew absolutely no one and yet was honored with the opportunity to be the voice of her class. As she explains it, “There’s still no better feeling than the honor of that day, to know I had made a difference in my community.”
During her five years living in Klamath Falls, Kaitlin met a woman named Teri Leeper Taylor. Teri found Kaitlin on social media and invited her to attend an informational meeting about the Miss America organization. Kaitlin entered the Klamath County pageant that year and won second runner-up, took a year off to study abroad, then returned and won Miss Klamath County, receiving a $7,000 college scholarship. In addition to the financial support, Kaitlin is eternally appreciative of what else she gained from the experience — building a belief system, outstanding public speaking skills, and community outreach. Years later, Kaitlin went on to win the Miss Portland pageant as well and earned nearly $20,000 in scholarships.
Kaitlin’s plan after graduating from Oregon Tech was to utilize her biology degree and advance to Physician’s Assistant school. She had the opportunity to work at OHSU during summer breaks off from college, however, after job shadowing various departments in the hospital, realized it was not the path for her. She shifted gears to focus on medical sales. Her father’s career repairing and building medical equipment for OHSU gave him the foresight to encourage her to try that field because of her love of people and serving others. He interacted with salespeople often and thought she “had the grit that it takes.” After her medical device sales mentor unexpectedly passed away, Kaitlin faced a fork in the road; stay with her current plan or try something new.
The “something new” Kaitlin decided to try was becoming a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines. She has now been with them for eight years and still flies, but on a very part-time basis, just a couple days per month. When describing her flight attendant career Kaitlin explains, “It’s humbling and reminds me that you never know where someone is coming from or where they’re headed, so kindness is key.” She has enjoyed traveling and seeing the world and this career path enabled her to purchase her first home last year in Ramona, CA. She describes the small Southern California town of Ramona as being the Klamath Falls of San Diego.
A year ago, Kaitlin made another career change. Kaitlin’s partner, Felix, was born in Israel and raised in Paris. His American dream story, going from living in a vehicle to becoming a successful real estate developer, inspired Kaitlin. Although he has since retired, he encouraged Kaitlin to dip her toes into the real estate world, taking advantage of her business owner’s mindset, strong work ethic and people skills. His belief in her ignited her imagination and she has now been selling real estate for just over a year. In this short amount of time, Kaitlin has made a name for herself in the real estate community and was just invited to join a very exclusive team, part of Berkshire Hathaway, who are in the top 1% of production in the entire country within the brokerage. Kaitlin caught their attention through her innovation in video. At Oregon Tech, the professors always ingrained in their students’ minds the importance of asking questions, pushing and learning new things. Her utilization of video to help sell homes has set her apart from the competition and has garnered notice.
Evolution is a constant for Kaitlin Endres, from changing careers to reaching new heights. The evolution continues as she is now pursuing television opportunities. She has always loved media and feels the best way to inspire people these days is through the screen. In November of 2020, Kaitlin was a finalist for a national HGTV television show. Although she was not the final choice for that project, she is continuing to develop her YouTube channel, helping people learn about real estate and taking her career to the next level. There is so much in the works for this impressive alumna, and we can’t wait to get updates from Kaitlin as time goes on.
Oregon Tech prepared Kaitlin beyond her degree program. She explains that attending OIT developed her work ethic through managing her education, on campus jobs, studying abroad in Denmark, and sorority duties. The small-town atmosphere also helped because of the accessibility to and support from her teachers, the provost and the president. Kaitlin learned how to believe in herself through her five years at Oregon Tech. In her own words, “Oregon Tech taught me that just because you don’t know how to do something now doesn’t mean you can’t learn. All it takes is the commitment to research and ask the right questions.” Her advice to students is, “If you want to be really good at something, watch other people who are good at the same thing. Copy what they’re good at and reengineer what they are not strong at so that you can be stronger at it yourself.” The sky's the limit for Kaitlin and we're so excited to see her continue to spread her wings!
~Becky Burkeen, Alumni Relations Manager