Katie Bishop

Branch: USMC
Years Served: 2007-2011
Rank: CPL
Military Occupation: 5528 – musician, bassoonist
Twitter Handle: @principlesbk

Tell us a little about you outside of the military:

  • I enlisted in the Marine Corps as a musician in 2007 and spent my enlistment aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in southwest Georgia.
  • Upon leaving the service in 2011, I had no other experience than music so I moved to Portland, OR to continue a life of music.
  • After completing my Bachelor’s of Music at Portland State University in 2015, I wanted to continue music in a more proper city, so I moved to Queens to pursue a master’s in music theory and composition at CUNY Queens College.
  • By the time I graduated in 2017 I was pretty burnt out on music but knew that I needed to stay in NYC, so I did what any over-educated millennial would do and moved to Brooklyn and became a barista,
    returning to the service industry roots from which I was raised.
  • Pandemic hit, I got laid off from my coffee job, so I went back to the drawing board.
  • After much mulling I realised that I wanted to keep working in coffee, I just didn’t want to do it under the employ of anyone else, and thus began my journey into owning and operating my own cafe here in Gowanus. I opened shop in June 2022 and have been nose-to-the-grindstone ever since.
  • Outside of working myself sick, I also collect coins and make a personality of riding fixed-gear bikes every day of the year.

Why are you joining the IAVA Cavalry?

  • Because my friend Kristen Rouse suggested I apply. I had no idea about this program until then but as soon as I hit the interview room I realized how cool and perfect this work is for me.
  • I’m a perennial ActivistTM and have an affinity for the

How did your military experience shape you to be the person you are today?

  • It always feels cliche to say, but the Marine Corps made me stubborn and bullheaded about getting shit done and I had instilled in me an ethos of never surrendering and never quitting.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you believe is the most pressing? Why?

  • I would love to see not only the modernization of VA, but also see it care more about women, non-binary, trans, and all people who are not cisgender men.
  • Why? Because the VA is painfully antiquated and one of the least user-friendly organizations around.

Which one of IAVA’s policy priorities do you have the strongest personal connection to? Why?

  • The one about giving women equitable access and representation at the VA. Why? Because I am one.


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