25 Ducks: Kelsey West
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Major: Sociology, Minor in Planning, Public Policy & Management
Why did you choose U of O? I fell in love with the Clark Honors College. It was a more affordable option of a small liberal arts college, with all the opportunities of a large research university.
How/Why do you want to change the world? I believe in the importance of finding where my greatest passion intersects the world’s greatest need, and making a career out of it. I’m an advocate for service-learning, youth leadership development, and equitable education. Specifically, I’m very passionate about in service-learning as a method of closing the achievement gap in education and increasing opportunities for youth to engage in their education, serve their community, and develop habits of citizenship. I hope to continue to advocate for the importance of service-learning until it received the recognition it deserves as an important part of a well-rounded education, at all levels.
Best part of your college experience? My junior winter and spring term I had the opportunity to study abroad in northern Spain. I was matched with a wonderful host family that really welcomed me in. I’m still writing pen-pal letters to my nine year old host sister. During those five and a half months, I worked on really perfecting my Spanish. More importantly, I got to take a break from the stress and monotony of college and work, to just breathe and live life. Afterwards, I traveled alone through Europe. This was a really great time for me to experience the world and build my own independence.
What are you proud to have been part of at U of O? I can say without a doubt, my three years working for the Service-Learning Program was the best and most formative experience during my time at the U of O. One of my favorite projects was organizing the inaugural Service-Learning Roundtable Series that brought together over thirty campus partners to strategize how to improve coordination of our efforts, and increase opportunities for students to get involved in the community. More importantly, I found in the Service-Learning Program a community of mentors and peers who share my passion for Service-Learning and community building. They challenged my perceptions of the world and encouraged my growth, both professionally and personally. Deanna, my boss, especially has inspired me with her commitment to service learning and vision for the future of higher education. She has become my mentor, close friend, cheerleader, and role model. My time with the Service-Learning Program has cemented my commitment to service as a life-long value and daily practice
What are your goals after college? I will be traveling through Peru and hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu before settling down and starting my job.
Who are your role model? My parents. They have inspired me with their hard work and their commitment to social justice. They have given me unconditional love and unwavering support. I owe everything to them.
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