"Joining the YPLF really opened the door for me to the world of philately. I have met so many wonderful people that have inspired me in my collecting and gave their time to help me grow."
This spring, APS Development Assistant Erin Seamans spoke with Katie Vasicek about the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship program, a scholarship program run by the American Philatelic Society. YPLF supports young philatelists, offers them unique opportunities to attend stamp shows across the country, and connects them with experienced mentors in the philatelic world.
Katie was a Young Philatelic Leaders Fellow in the Dealer track. She currently works as an Inside Sales Representative at Cumberland Group.
Read the full interview below.
Erin: Hi Katie, thank you for meeting with me. I'm interested to learn more about your experiences in the YPLF. My first question is why did you choose to apply for YPLF and what did you expect to accomplish?
Katie: After taking the Basic Stamp Collecting course through the APS, I learned about the YPLF and thought the opportunity was too good to be true. I wanted to be involved and grow in the hobby so I quickly applied to the YPLF. As a Fellow, I picked the dealer track because I wanted to learn more about the business side of the hobby.
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So YPLF was kind of a unique opportunity for you. Can you tell me more about what you learned about philately through YPLF?
Aside from the invaluable education on stamps, including how to properly handle them, the history behind stamps, and what makes each stamp unique, I learned how many individuals in the hobby wanted me to succeed and grow in my passion for philately. Many volunteered their time to share their knowledge with me that continued to light the spark I have for collecting. I learned that we all can collect different material, and may be drawn to the hobby for different reasons, yet we have the same groundwork for our favorite pastime.
Can you recall a moment or memory from your time as a Fellow that was significant in your learning process?
When I became a Fellow, I had not been a serious collector for very long. Everyone I came in contact with at philatelic events had so much to share that allowed me to grow. I soaked it all in. Going to the stamp shows, traveling to the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, and visiting the APS Headquarters . . . I had so much exposure to the robust hobby of stamp collecting. The events and people I met along the way really helped me to learn and shape the hobby.
It has been fun to meet [my friends] where they are and help inspire them to pursue the hobby.
In what ways have you been involved in the philatelic community since graduating from YPLF?
Since becoming a YPLF alumna, I have remained active in the hobby. In addition to working on my personal collection, I volunteered at WESTPEX in San Francisco, was the Awards Chairwoman for Filatelic Fiesta in San Jose, exhibited at the MONACOPHIL, joined the Royal Philatelic Society of London, and spent time abroad networking with other young collectors at the London STAMPEX.
That's amazing. Can you tell me more about what you learned as a Fellow that may affect how you think and participate in the hobby today?
I learned that we are all drawn to the hobby for different reasons and have a different story for how we got involved. I have discovered that many of my friends happen to have stamp collections in their homes, either inherited or given to them by family members. It has been fun to meet them where they are and help inspire them to pursue the hobby.
I see that you currently work as an Inside Sales Representative for an IT company. What drew you to work in these positions?
I have a passion for organization. In the same way I enjoy organizing my stamps, I also like to be detail-oriented and organized in my daily life and work. I have a passion for finding new ways to learn and improve daily business processes. The technology industry is fast paced and always changing. There are many pieces moving at one time. Strong work ethic and organization have allowed me to grow and challenge myself in this position.
It's really cool that your interest in stamp collecting seems to fit in so well with your career. Do you think your time as a Fellow has affected your work as an Inside Sales Representative?
As a fellow on the dealer track, I learned a lot from Brian and Lori Hunt at Hunt & Co. regarding how to run a successful business. I was able to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into managing sales and how key it is to maintain healthy relationships with customers.
Can you share some of your long-term goals in the hobby?
I want to continue learning more about stamps, expand my collection, and encourage others to get involved in the hobby. My philatelic interests are always evolving and changing, but I love using my creative side when working with different pieces.
So do you have some advice to share with other young people who are considering joining the YPLF program?
I would push them to apply. Joining the YPLF really opened the door for me to the world of philately. I have met so many wonderful people that have inspired me in my collecting and gave their time to help me grow.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience of fellows, alumni, donors, and potential applicants?
I am so impressed by how philatelists will look out for one another’s material. There is a huge social element to becoming an involved philatelist that happily took me by surprise. Not only have stamps allowed me to travel to incredible places, but I have been able to make lifelong friends from around the world.
Are you wondering if you or someone you know should apply for the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Program? Check out the exciting perks of being a Fellow!
- Receive a one-year APS membership
- Choose an area of interest: Author, Curator, Dealer, Designer, Exhibitor & Analyst
- Learn from an adult mentor
- Attend the Great American Stamp Show and Spring Meeting
- Attend Summer Seminar on Philately at the American Philatelic Center
- Interact with stamp collectors from around the United States