Kate has a background in both Music and Applied Linguistics, having graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music majoring in harpsichord (1988). She later gained both Masters (1997) and PhD (2001) in Applied Linguistics from The University of Melbourne.
Before joining the Fenner School of Environment & Society as Manager, Kate managed the School of Music and the Joint Schools of History and Philosophy. She has worked at The University of Melbourne in both the School of Graduate Studies and in the International Admissions Office.
In 2012 she was profiled in the ANU Gender Institute's publication, ANU Inspiring Women.