On a campus known for being passionate about service, Katy Woodall, a second year student at Whitman College, stands out among her peers for her ability to make connections within her community as she gives her time to a variety of causes.
After a successful year as a mentor to a local elementary student, Katy easily transitioned into a leadership role, co-organizing the entire mentor program. Katy has a knack for coordinating large groups of students and matching mentees with student role models while maintaining a supportive and caring relationship with her own mentee. Katy volunteers for an initiative teaching civil rights history in local schools, while giving context to the struggles that are still present today. She served as a co-president of Challah for Hunger, recruiting students to bake bread and sell the loaves, using the proceeds to support local and national anti-hunger organizations. Katy's commitment to service deepened when she served as a Resident Advisor of Whitman's Community Service Interest House, where residents agree to complete at least thirty hours of community service each semester. Katy has a gift for leading by example and encouragement, helping other students find ways to give back and connect with their community.
Interpersonal relationships form the roots of my community engagement. I believe that change can start small and I've found that the effects of my service and activism are most visible through meaningful relationships. For example, I began mentoring an elementary school student my first semester through the Whitman Mentor Program and have continued up through the present. Helping her grow into a confident and compassionate person has been an incredibly dynamic and rewarding process. This year, as an intern for the Mentor Program, I work with over ninety Whitman students to connect them with local children. As I have become more involved in service and advocacy efforts, I have taken a more critical eye to my activism in order to ensure that my actions are inclusive, helpful, and efficient. Whether I'm advocating for equal food access on campus, teaching a lesson on civil rights in a local classroom, or participating in a political campaign, I try to learn more about the challenges, needs, and hopes of the community from the people I meet. I feel that it is my responsibility to be aware of and active in the spaces that I live.