Viking leading by example
Outstanding student? No question.
Future magnate in the field of biomedical engineering? I wouldn't bet against it.
Forest Grove's Katie Rebsom has spent her entire life in and around Forest Grove, playing sports, making friends, and building towards a future that she'd tell you she'll owe a lot to sports. She's an all-league soccer player on the pitch and an all-league basketball player on the hardwood, and as of late, she is honing her burgeoning skills on the golf course for the Viking girls golf team.
But her accomplishments on the playing field aside, Rebsom is even more accomplished in the classroom, where she hopes to make her real mark going forward.
"My career goal is to make some sort of significant impact in the world," said Rebsom. "I plan to study bioengineering, and I hope to eventually design things and see them helping people. My desire to change and improve people's quality of life has drawn me to the medical field."
Rebsom, born at Portland's Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and raised in and around Forest Grove, stems from a tight-knit family. Her father, who is an electrical engineer, and her mother, who is an inside sales representative at a local technical company, met in middle school and attended high school and college together in Montana.
Rebsom has two younger siblings: sister Amanda, who is a freshman and played with Katie this past season on the Viking basketball team, and brother Tyler, who will be an eighth-grader next year. They regularly spend time together, vacation in the summer, and help nurture one another, both in life and in and around the sports arena — and Katie wouldn't have it any other way.
"My family and I have always been pretty close," said Rebsom. "My parents have always been very nurturing and been there to have the difficult conversations in general and after sports, and they instilled in me to never settle for anything but my best."
Her parents, Matt and Deb, both were very active in sports growing up — Matt in football, basketball and on the track, and Deb in basketball as well. Katie started participating in soccer and basketball between the ages of 5 and 7, and she even played softball before giving it up in the sixth grade due to its slow pace.
"It was just super-slow," Rebsom said. "I kind of regret quitting, because I think it would've been fun at the high school level."
Rebsom was always athletic, so the games often came easy. But as she got older and the games got more competitive, she began to appreciate what sports teach you that transcend the games themselves.
"I'm a huge advocate of youth playing sports and the life lessons you learn from them," Rebsom said. "I feel like some people don't fully see them for what they are and what they can do for you."
And what have they done for her?
"What's meant most to me is just learning how to be part of a team," she said. "You may not like everyone on your team, but you're forced to love them and work with them and figure out ways to deal with conflict. It's taught me accountability, because other people are counting on me."
In addition, Rebsom said sports taught her how to lead. The senior was a captain on both her soccer and basketball teams this past season, and valued the opportunity to shepherd a group of her peers in the interests of a common goal.
"It's definitely something I enjoy and am happy that I got the opportunity to do," said Rebsom. "I developed a lot of my skills that I didn't have in the beginning, especially dealing with conflict and adversity. If people weren't getting along, I had to deal with that, keep a positive attitude and make sure people were working hard. Those are skills that would apply in almost any career."
And she was great at it.
Head basketball coach Dan Lumpkin spoke glowingly about Rebsom, pointing directly at her ability to lead as part of what made her so great as a player.
"Katie is a great leader and definitely led by example," said Lumpkin. "She is a remarkable player that embodied everything that a coach wants in a player. She is smart, hardworking, selfless, and has great character and integrity. She meant a lot to this team and program and has left a positive impact on all of us who have gotten to know and coach her."
Now Rebsom will take what she's learned to college, where she plans to study bioengineering and later biomedical engineering, focusing on medical research and applying biotechnology to medicine.
Rebsom recently participated in a career inquiry at Oregon Health & Science University, where she shadowed a pediatric emergency doctor and was exposed to medical expertise, labs, and different types of technologies and medical devices. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it only solidified her desire to track in that direction.
"I've always been someone who is very personable," she said. "And this is a way to do the research in biology, which is what I'm really passionate about, and combine it with interacting with patients."
Rebsom is a straight-A student — she has never gotten a B, and she is mortified by the very notion of the possibility.
She plans to attend either Oregon State University or the University of Utah, but she is leaning towards being a Beaver due to — you guessed it — a desire to stay close to her family.
"My siblings and I are very close, and I've always viewed myself kind of as a second mom to them," Rebsom said. "Part of the reason I want to go to OSU is so I can stay a part of their lives."
And what will Rebsom remember most from her time as a Viking?
There's too much to narrow down, she said, but the sports will definitely resonate — most specifically, her freshman soccer season, when the Viks advanced to the quarterfinals as the 32nd-ranked team in the playoffs.
"We ended up losing to North Medford in the quarterfinals, but we were 32 and beat number two and six," she said. "It was like a miracle season."
So as Rebsom moves beyond the town and community so responsible for making her who she is today, she's thankful for her friends, teammates, teachers and coaches who've played such a big part in her relative success, but mostly to her parents, who've always pointed her in the right direction and helped develop her into someone she hopes they can be proud of.
"They've been so supportive of me," Rebsom said. "They've never missed a game and they've never allowed me to miss a practice. I'm just so appreciative of them. Besides giving me amazing opportunities, they set amazing examples for us through hard work and instilling that mindset in us.
"I can't put into words what they've meant."
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