Growing up, Kathleen Wirth knew she wanted to see the world outside of her small hometown of Irmo, South Carolina. She felt she didn’t quite fit in. Her mother’s family had fled from Cuba in 1960. Her grandfather, who’d been a respected doctor in Havana, worked as a hospital janitor until he could qualify to practice medicine in America. Though she got into minor trouble, it wasn’t enough to keep Kathleen from becoming her high school valedictorian. A scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill was her ticket out of Irmo.