Maggie is a sophomore at the University of Delaware Associate in Arts Program in Wilmington majoring in Communication with a minor in Journalism. Over the past two years, she has emerged as one of UD’s exceptional student leaders in the field of community engagement, taking advantage of her campus surroundings in downtown Wilmington to build innovative partnerships with local non-profit agencies throughout northern Delaware. Beginning with a Leadership project involving the re-design of a community garden at the YWCA Home-Life Management Center to, most recently, producing a podcast documenting the experiences of Delaware students caught in the school-to-prison pipeline, Maggie has been a pioneer in UD’s initiative to put its students, resources, and capabilities into meaningful collaborations with partner institutions in Delaware’s largest city. Maggie’s podcast project has produced documentary audio that she has presented to the Wilmington Civic Advisory Council and the Louis Redding Consortium for Educational Equity, and the student experiences documented in her audio are driving strategic planning at the Delaware Center for Justice. Maggie’s ability to understand and honor experiences outside hers and her passion for providing concrete opportunities and voices for people inform her academic preparation to use investigative journalism to create change.
When I was in fourth grade, my brother Ryan was diagnosed with autism. All the meltdowns, outbursts, and anger suddenly made sense; I saw facets of autism that are difficult to understand from the outside. Because of Ryan, I participated in the Meadowood program in middle school, an extensive special-needs initiative with full-inclusion classes. Ryan had taught me to see kids in the program for who they were: kids.
At UD, I continue to meet people where they are. Refurbishing the YWCA garden provided fresh produce to those who were not fortunate enough to have it. Mentoring with the National Student Athletic Association led to counseling at-risk youth at Tyler’s Camp to combat summer learning loss, a concept I knew nothing about. While creating the School Offense Diversion Program podcast, I advocated for kids who were a lot like me. And now I have chosen a Communication major with a minor in Journalism so I can advocate for others who are unable to advocate for themselves. I would love to continue advocacy through a career in an in-school diversion program, resolving conflicts before students are charged, re-imagining the school discipline process to work for kids, not against them.