Kathleen "Kay" Thursby, a junior at Saint Mary's College (Notre Dame, Ind.), shows exceptional commitment to service, athletics, and education and is one of the most active, forward-thinking, and well-rounded students on campus. Concerned about social justice, particularly housing inequalities, she started a Habitat for Humanity campus chapter at Saint Mary's. A varsity soccer player since her first year, she now leads her teammates as captain, as was recently chosen to represent Saint Mary's at the NCAA Division III National Convention. Actively involved with her home parish, Old St. Patrick's Church in Chicago, Thursby oversaw the fundraiser for its "Workday" event which supports teens and their mentors in volunteer house work and repairs at over 50 residences in the Chicagoland area. Her capacity to keep working toward the greater good has been a true public service. Thursby's scrupulous dedication to every endeavor speaks to her integrity, and her involvement across a range of activities shows her many interests and talents, and readiness to make a difference.
My interest in the Newman Civic Fellowship results from my passion and concern regarding social justice issues facing America, particularly housing inequalities. The Fellowship provides an opportunity to extend my knowledge about social justice, and to collaborate with others who feel as strongly as I do about fighting poverty and reducing disparity. My high school youth group at Old Saint Patrick's Church in Chicago allowed me the opportunity to participate in service trips to help neighborhoods in need in Washington, D.C., Rochester, New York, and New Orleans, and introduced me to Habitat for Humanity. After volunteering with numerous Habitat affiliates, I started a campus chapter at Saint Mary's. My goal was to show my classmates how they could contribute to a support system for a family in need of quality housing. Saint Mary's Justice Education program has further fueled my passion for advocacy and action. Serving as a Newman Civic Fellow solidifies my commitment to reducing social injustices in my community and deepens my understanding of practical prevention strategies to reduce existing risk factors.