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College honors six students with service awards

| Friday, May 19, 2017

This year, the Office of Civic and Social Engagement honored six students with various awards that recognize their commitment to volunteering and community involvement.

First-year and global studies major Anne Maguire received the Sister Maria Concepta McDermott, CSC Award for Service in Education.

“I was so honored and so touched,” Maguire said. “I don’t do a lot of the things I do to get some sort of recognition. I do it more just to be a part of the community and try to make the community a better place.”

Maguire said she has been an active member of the Saint Mary’s and South Bend communities this year. As an ambassador for Catholic Relief Services, Maguire said she worked on campaigns centering around issues regarding migration, climate change, and human-trafficking.

“That has been a great experience for me, just getting more active as a leader who is interested in social justice,” Maguire said.

Maguire also works with the Justice Student Advisory Committee (JSAC), volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club, tutors through the Collegiate Academy of Tutors (CAT) program, is the president and organizer of Project SHE (Spreading Hope through Education) and will work as the outreach coordinator for College Democrats in the fall.

“I really tried to promote educational advocacy in different ways, especially given that we are at an all women’s school,” Maguire said. “If we try to spread that mission to other young girls and women in the community, that’s a great opportunity for us because we are women at an institution that is for women.”

In her work, Maguire said she aims to become immersed in the community.

“I think there’s so much we can learn from our community and just reaching out to others,” Maguire said. “To change the mindset from helping others to working with others to empower them and empower yourself in the process.”

Her dedication to education earned her this award, she said.

“I was so humbled too because these people who interact with me all the time wanted to express their thanks to me when really I feel that I should express my thanks to them,” Maguire said. “I have found these opportunities and then this kind of found me, which is an honor.”

According to Maguire, her peers empower her to serve the community.

“Just looking around and seeing those women who were all so inspiring as well, and seeing myself with them, was really eye-opening,” Maguire said. “They were recognizing me in this way that was just so powerful and empowering.”

Senior communicative sciences and disorders major Caylin McCallick received the Sister Christine Healy, CSC award for Service with Women.

During her time at Saint Mary’s, McCallick has been president of JSAC, participated in the Intercultural Leadership Program, served on the presidential task force for sexual assault, volunteered at the Center for the Homeless, and organized two healing garden events.

“I feel like so much a part of a liberal arts education is meeting various parts of the community and meeting needs of the community,” McCallick said. “Doing service is a learning experience, and it’s a growing experience.”

The healing garden events enabled participants to take negative experiences and change the way they were looked at, McCallick said.

“I saw that as symbolic,” McCallick said. “Growing beauty is coming out of something negative that happened.” 

McCallick said her Saint Mary’s education reinforced her desire to help others.

“It’s just something that my family has instilled in me, and certainly Saint Mary’s has too,” McCallick said. “I think it’s part of being a good Catholic. Part of being a Saint Mary’s student is that you should serve the world with the things you are given.”

McCallick said she hopes to continue her passion of serving the world by getting a masters degree from Northwestern University and working in audiology.

“Because I’m going into audiology, I figured that there are a lot of underserved populations who don’t necessarily have audiological services for various reasons,” McCallick said. “I would like to work with those populations in different cultures across the U.S. and across the world.”

Assisting those with their audiological needs helps to give a vital gift of communication, she said.

“You need to have a voice, and you need to be able to communicate that voice, so I think that is the root of developing communication skills,” McCallick said.

Senior communicative sciences and disorders major Alyssia Parrett received the Patricia Arch Green Award for her work with CAT.

Parrett said his award is given to a student that shows dedication to the CAT program, which provides tutors to a local elementary and middle school.  

“I was kind of shocked because there are a bunch of other seniors that do as much work as I do in the office,” Parrett said.

Parrett said she began her involvement in the CAT program her sophomore year after seeing posters looking for students to act as both tutors and teaching assistants. This year, she not only helped to lead the CAT program when it was left without a director, but also acted as the lead teaching assistant.

“I recruited 20 [teaching assistants] this semester, and I managed where they were going, what teachers they were with and also got feedback from the teachers about how our students were benefitting the teachers and their students,” Parrett said.

The schools that CAT works with have a high percentage of low-income students.

“Just being a positive person in their life, I really wanted to do that in that aspect,” Parrett said. “They don’t have someone. Their parents are usually working third shift. They don’t see them, or their siblings are taking care of them. It’s just rushed all the time, and they don’t get one-on-one contact with someone.”

This helped Parrett realize that she wanted to continue to help children in need, she said.

“After working with the CAT program is when I realized that I really want to work with kids,” Parrett said.

Parrett is a communicative sciences and disorders major and will pursue her master’s degree in speech pathology at Saint Mary’s next fall.

“I hope to continue doing the CAT program,” Parrett said. “And when I graduate, I want to work in … areas that have high poverty rates.”

Parrett said her experience with the CAT program has opened her eyes to the importance of community service.

“I encourage people to go out and do service in the community because you don’t realize what a need there is until you are there,” Parrett said. “We stay in our niche at Saint Mary’s, and we don’t leave our bubble, but leaving the bubble has helped my life so much.”

Junior psychology major Kathleen Thursby received the Sister Olivette Whalen, CSC Award for General Service.

“I didn’t really realize that it was an award you needed to be nominated for, and I distinctly remember saying, ‘I don’t remember applying for this award,’” Thursby said in an email. “But once I found out more about this honorable distinction, I was really excited and grateful to be recognized for this.”

Thursby is currently the president of the student athlete advisory committee (SAAC), and was previously a soccer representative on SAAC. She also founded the Saint Mary’s Habitat for Humanity Chapter.

“This past year has really allowed me to become more involved in service opportunities, and there has been a lot of recognition that has come with that,” Thursby said. “While I do truly appreciate the recognition, I mostly look at it as a great way for the things I am involved in to become more public too.”

Thursby’s work in service has enabled her to develop an increased sense of involvement with the community, both on a larger scale and at an individual level, she said.

“Bringing people up and providing them with the basic necessities that they deserve is truly inspiring, and I have always cherished the opportunity to connect with those whom we are serving and hear their stories,” Thursby said. “You not only learn a lot about that individual, but also a lot about yourself and what is important to you.”

She said she plans to continue her work in the community throughout her senior year, and she is exploring working with nonprofit organizations after graduation to continue her passion for volunteer service.

“I look at myself and the opportunities I have been presented and immediately think and know that I constantly need to find ways to allow others to have the same opportunities as me,” Thursby said. “A lot of these opportunities are rights, and I think it is important to do everything in your power to ensure that these basic rights are provided to all.”

Senior nursing major Maranda Pennington won the Sister Olivia Marie Hutcheson Award for Service in the Health Field.

Senior social work major Maria Teresa Valencia won the Sister Kathleen Anne Nelligan Award for Spiritual Service.

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About Jordan Cockrum

Jordan Cockrum is a junior at Saint Mary's studying Communications and Humanistic Studies.

Contact Jordan