Mikayla Smith

Concordia University St Paul

Since her first year at Concordia University, St. Paul, Mikayla has been passionate about civic engagement, social justice and service. Her interest has increased annually, and has resulted in additional commitments, internships and activities. Mikayla has a passion for helping others by seeking ways to address problems and meet the needs of individuals, groups or communities. Her sincere dedication is evident in the way she handles challenging situations and engages others to help address root causes. These qualities are displayed in her involvement as a Public Achievement Coach, Community at Work volunteer and an intern for Mayor Coleman's office, where she serves as part of the racial equity team in that role. These opportunities provide her avenues to hear, respond and take action. Mikayla is known for her outreach in recruiting and motivating others to be involved in initiatives that address social issues and human needs. Her peers, professors and staff observe and identify the genuine care, concern and consistency she exhibits in all that she envisions or undertakes. Mikayla will continue to make significant contributions to Concordia University, the city of St. Paul, the State of Minnesota and beyond.

Tom Ries
Concordia University St Paul

Personal Statement

Working with youth is a deep passion of mine, predominantly through mentoring people of color in the areas of civic engagement and personal development. After years of working with youth in grade schools, recreational centers, and college there seems to be common issues that can hinder students' of color success: low self-esteem, frail social systems, and/or socioeconomic disparities. Many approaches to address these root causes include after school programs, student success coaching, student organization involvement, and civic engagement. These methods of change do work, but can be flawed. They can lack effectiveness to address all three areas of concern. This pushed me into the public sector, primarily local government. My goal is to work within the government to break down barriers through policy work. Quickly I realized that the public sector is a system where change happens over long periods of time. Through my eagerness to help today's youth, I find that there must be a mixture of civic engagement, community building, and individual development to garner deep impact. My focus is to work within specific communities to highlight their strengths, teach about the public sector, and most importantly how they can be change agents to effect policy development.

Mikayla Smith
Community Leadership : Class of 2018
written 2017

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