Meghan Kelly '18, special major in Sociology/Anthropology and Educational Studies with a minor in Peace & Conflict Studies, has illustrated a sincere commitment to the common good through her engaged scholarship and committed work with communities, both on and off campus. Megan cares deeply about the Swarthmore College campus community, as exemplified by her thoughtful and active participation in many campus initiatives and volunteer programs, including a three year commitment as a member of Swarthmore's Campus Climate Study Committee, which aims to improve the learning, living, and working environment for all Swarthmore students, faculty, and staff. Meghan is also an engaged scholar who has applied her knowledge to needs in the US and abroad. In the socio-economically distressed city of Chester, PA, Meghan served as a Chester Community Fellow while working for 10 weeks at the Chester Education Foundation (CEF) in summer 2016. As Meghan continued to bridge her coursework and co-curricular interests, she earned financial support from the Penrose International Scholarship Fund to work alongside Professor Syon Bhanot at the Nairobi-based Busara Center for Behavioral Economics, which partners with other non-profit organizations, professional researchers, and development practitioners to conduct rigorous behavioral science research for poverty alleviation.
I am passionate about striving towards a more equitable, peaceful society. I enjoy engaging in work that balances making positive social change in the short run and in the long run, as I believe this layered approach can help dismantle unjust systems while also addressing their most destructive, most immediate impacts. From working in local and global communities, I have learned that providing high quality, equitable education structures and creating socially-conscious public policy offer two key channels for creating short and long term change. Engaging with students and community leaders in the low-income city of Chester, PA, for example, showed me that education develops the critical thinking skills needed to analyze and improve the social world. From my work on Swarthmore's Campus Climate Committee, I have seen how public policy can build off community-based work to create broad-based, institutional change. These two experiences in the United States, along with my summer in engaged scholarship research in Nairobi, Kenya last year, lead me to seek a career in international education development and policy. I will continue fighting for social justice because I believe that my liberation is braided into our collective liberation from oppressive social systems.