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Kaitlyn Rabach named SMC’s outstanding senior

| Friday, May 15, 2015

KAITLYN (1)Courtesy of Gwen O'Brien

In sixth grade, Kaitlyn Rabach decided she wanted to attend Saint Mary’s. Since then, Rabach has remained devoted to the College, and the Alumnae Association Board of Directors named her this year’s Outstanding Senior. (Editor’s note: Rabach served as Saint Mary’s Editor for The Observer from 2013-2014.)

Recipients of this award display values of scholarship and leadership, according to Director of Media Relations Gwen O’Brien.

“As the valedictorian represents the mind, and the Lumen Christi Award recipient reflects the soul, the Outstanding Senior embodies the heart of the graduating class at Saint Mary’s,” O’Brien said.

Rabach, a political science major with minors in global studies as well as gender and women’s studies, said Saint Mary’s granted her unique opportunities such as working with women from around the world to implement change in their communities.

“Saint Mary’s has taught me that helping women is really important and that raising up women is really important,” Rabach said. “The president of my college is a woman. That doesn’t happen everywhere.”

Rabach’s devotion to women’s leadership is evident through her social justice work, according to her political science professor Sonalini Sapra, who nominated her for the honor. She said Rabach worked well with 20 college students from five countries during the study of the United States Institute (SUSI) on Global Women’s Leadership in 2012 and 2013.

“I was the lead faculty for that institute and got to see firsthand the great intercultural leadership and sensitivity demonstrated by Kaitlyn,” Sapra said. “She showed maturity well beyond her years.”

Rabach has also raised awareness about contemporary slavery by founding Saint Mary’s College New Abolitionists, Sapra said. Her passion for seeking justice and promoting women’s education make Rabach the best choice for Outstanding Senior, Sapra said.

“She challenges everyone around her to always think carefully about what they read and say and pushes others to do their best work,” Sapra said. “She’s a truly gifted, deeply serious and morally decent human being whom I’m proud to have as a student. I can’t think of anyone I know who deserves this award more than she does.”

Rabach said she plans to move to London in May to pursue a master’s degree in social anthropology. She credited her Saint Mary’s education with giving her the ability to pursue the move.

“Saint Mary’s has given me the confidence to feel like I can tackle anything that comes my way,” she said. “Saint Mary’s gave me the tools to tackle all the barriers and obstacles in my way with a positive attitude, and that’s something I’m really thankful for.”

Rabach said she appreciates fellow leaders within the Saint Mary’s community.

“I think that the heart of Saint Mary’s is centered on social justice and advocacy, and every day I am surrounded by so many of my peers doing such great work in the Saint Mary’s community and the South Bend community and really at the world at large,” Rabach said. “To be recognized for the social justice work that I’ve been doing here on campus is truly honoring and humbling.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

Contact Martha