Kalynn Manker is a second year student at Morningside College, and is actively engaged both on and off campus as a leader, with a focus on engaging a diversity of people in her work. Specifically, she served as a research fellow for the first ever Morningside Poll, a state wide, non-partisan public opinion survey which was published through local media channels. She is currently assisting campus in developing and implementing their Campus Civic Action Plan. This plan will directly identify ways Morningside College can provide the best civic engagement experiences for students, as well as how they can partner with the local community. On campus, she is active in the Connie Wimer Women's Leadership Group, Morningside Civic Union, and was recently named Student Ambassador of the Month (October). Kalynn has worked with disadvantaged and at risk youth through her experience as an Upward Bound Mentor, and has used her strong communication and leadership skills to always perform at the highest level, positively impacting both campus and the community.
To be civically engaged is to use any unique talents or skills to help those around you. My passion for giving back to my community dates back to my early childhood when I volunteered at athletic events with my dad. In high school, I was able to continue this service from running the scoreboard for every junior high basketball game to helping build homes in Haiti. This ideal carries through my life and has influenced my educational path. At Morningside College, I hold a fellowship with the Colonel Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement and am co-writing a civic action plan for the college in order to assess and improve our engagement both internally and in the community. We are conducting focus groups of community partners, college faculty, and students to understand how the college is currently viewed in terms of civic engagement. I also volunteer with Boy's Town to help coordinate childcare during their Common Sense Parenting classes. In my experience, the best way to get to the root of any issue and make positive change is to speak directly to those involved and work with community partners to maximize collaboration and resources.