Inside USD

Empowering Presence

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MKlos-photoMaggie Klos’ time as a University of San Diego student is running out. On Sunday, she’ll join hundreds of other College of Arts and Sciences Class of 2010 students who will walk across the Jenny Craig Pavilion stage and realize their dream of obtaining a college degree.

Attending and graduating college is a life-changing event. Klos’ four years at USD epitomize that principle. She’ll earn a BA in Communications Studies, as well as minors in women’s and gender studies, and visual arts. Together these subjects have been valuable assets to her growth.

Klos was a reporter for the USD school newspaper, The Vista; she enjoyed the Semester at Sea study abroad program her junior year; and, actually through a newspaper assignment, Klos discovered USD’s Women’s Center and quickly found it to be a place that connected with her own goals and beliefs. It gave her a space on campus to call “home.”

“I’m from Kansas, so when I came here, I was a small fish in the big city at USD,” Klos said. Her university experiences have “given me a lot of confidence” and fueled an “unexpected ability to become a leader and a more empowered person.”

Erin Lovette-Colyer, director of the Women’s Center, said Klos’ contributions over the last two and a half years have been a big boost to the center and across campus. “She’s been incredible,” Lovette-Colyer said.

As the center’s director of programming, Klos handled logistics planning for events such as discussion groups, a leadership retreat, themed awareness weeks, Women’s History Month (March) and the Women of Impact luncheon in December.

“Her role has shifted to overseeing many of the other programs. She also took incredible initiative in re-evaluating programs and finding ways to improve them,” Lovette-Colyer said. “She’s able to bring the staff together, to be a part of the process and to get others behind it.”

Klos added to her own education during the fall 2008 Semester at Sea trip. She visited 10 countries and gained insight about women’s issues from a global perspective. The trip inspired her Women’s and Gender Studies capstone project, “Bridging the Gap: Forming Meaningful Connections with Women’s Groups at Local and Global Levels.”

Klos was one of five students to do a project presentation at the 15th annual Women’s and Gender Studies and Women’s Center banquet last week. Later that night, she was the 2009-10 recipient of the Dr. Linda A.M. Perry Award for Outstanding Student for Academic Excellence and Dedication to the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Perry, who started the USD Gender Studies program, presented Klos (pictured, far left, with Perry and current W&GS director Lori Watson) with the award.

The award celebrated Klos’ many contributions at USD and it was a reflection of the inspiration she’s been to other female students. “The biggest thing I’ve really valued at USD is being a mentor,” she said.

That trait will be important in her immediate post-graduation plans. Klos will travel to Chicago to begin training for Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that recruits recent college graduates and professionals to teach in low-income communities throughout the United States. Klos will do a two-year stint in Detroit.

“I’ve wanted to do this since my freshman year,” Klos said. “Education has been good to me and I want to give someone else that gift.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

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