Things have finally started to make sense for Kat Scholl.
Now, that doesn’t mean her life is perfect or that she has everything completely mapped out, but for the first time in a long time, she’s starting to understand her own journey.
During the day, Kat is a public information specialist at Lincoln Parks & Recreation. On the side, she and her husband raise bees. It may sound like the two jobs work together in perfect harmony, but that’s not always the way Kat has felt about her work life.
After growing up in a farmhouse in Seward, Nebraska, Kat went to Concordia University to get her degree in studio art. She’d always been creative and her parents encouraged this talent.
Kat grew up watching Bob Ross’s “The Joy of Painting” with her grandmother. Her parents gave her blank sheets of paper instead of defined coloring books to spur on her creativity, so pursuing an art degree seemed natural.
And yet, Kat felt like she needed a backup plan. Not only was art somewhat of a loose career path, but she is also blind in one eye. Kat feared losing her sight entirely, so she also got a massage therapy degree as a fallback career.
Kat said she struggled through college, wrestling with her beliefs, schoolwork and a lack of confidence in her own abilities. After she graduated, she job hopped for about 15 years, going from one position to the next. She felt unsettled and nothing felt like the ‘right’ job. It was during this time that she met her husband, Dustin.
The couple met online after Kat swore off the chaotic bar scene and Dustin was too shy to even consider meeting someone at a bar. Dustin sent the introductory message, Kat responded and the rest is history.
But shortly after they met, Dustin had a random idea.
“Hey, what if we took this beekeeper class?” he asked Kat one night, pointing to a list of classes offered at Southeast Community College.
“Are you serious? You’ve never mentioned anything about bees before…”
Dustin went on to explain how he’d always been interested in beekeeping and he’d hoped to someday make it his “old man” hobby.
“That’s cute,” Kat said with a laugh, and she moved on.
But Dustin kept at it. Leaving the class description in strategic places and dropping in a fact here or there about beekeeping, until Kat agreed to attend the first class.
Much like their dating experience, after one class, they were hooked. A year later they were harvesting their first batch of honey and planning their future honey business.
This was back in 2011, now, Kat and Dustin are the proud owners of K&D Honey Bees. This year they harvested nearly 400 pounds of honey and produced products like lip balm, lotion bars and hand cream with the beeswax.
Working as weekend beekeepers was a fun hobby, but Kat started to realize she loved it because of her family roots. She’d grown up in a family where stewardship of the land was important, and so had Dustin. Their families were both involved in efforts to care for the environment and educate others about habitat conservation.
In turn, much of Kat and Dustin’s bee work has a heavy educational emphasis. They invite customers out to watch them harvest honey, teach people what plants are helpful for bees and educate others on what role bees play in the environment.
This natural shift in thinking about her hobby also translated to her work life. Kat started doing some part-time work at Lincoln Parks & Recreation and eventually was offered a full-time position. Now her days are spent in area parks taking photos for their website and social media pages and helping people understand the role of the Department in the community.
She and Dustin have a few dozen hives out at her family farm in Seward. They dream about one day buying the house she grew up in, raising their kids in the country and maybe trying to make the bee thing a full-time gig, but for now, Kat’s thankful for where her story is at.
Her hobby and day job go hand-in-hand, and she’s excited about what’s next. She’s found a hobby, a way to help others and confidence in her work for the first time in a long time.