Ease your student supervision speed bumps.

Mackenzie Piper, Professor in YOLO and Lion for Life

photo (31)Mackenzie graduated from Loyola Marymount University in May with her Bachelors of Science in Health and Human Sciences.  She spoke like a true Lion (LMU’s mascot) of her love for the school.  She told me a story about how this came out two weeks before graduation,

“Two weeks before I graduated, there was this group of high school seniors and their parents doing a tour around campus.   The students stopped to ask where something was, then the parent asked, ‘What is the best part of LMU?’  I almost started crying as I was asked to reflect on my experience. Four of the most joyful, transformative years came to a head in a matter of seconds.  I told them, ‘You have to send your kids here.  Without a doubt, this is the best school in the whole world. They will forever be changed because of this place.’  I said it with such unshakable certainty and pride.”

Her love for her university was always obvious to me, especially because of the countless roles she filled around campus, such as AB trip attendee and leader, orientation leader, Kairos leader, 1st year retreat leader, member of the rowing team for some time, and Ignatian.  I probed further about her experience with the service organization called Ignatians, whose members are called Iggie’s.
Ignatians were named after St. Ignatius of Loyola and founded in 1981.  A co-ed organization, offering members service opportunities on and off campus.  As a previous staff member at LMU, Iggie’s were known to be a very high energy group that brought synergy, reflection and dedication to their work.  They were also known for an on-campus service project called ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ to spread joy throughout the LMU community.
Mackenzie talked fondly about her time as an Iggie, “It was a group that shaped my entire college career.  I originally came to LMU because I had signed with and committed to the rowing team.  For the first year that is all it did, rowing and school work.  I wasn’t balanced.  By the grace of God I applied and was accepted into Ignatians towards the end of my freshman year.  Every day since has been such a blessing. I have created unforgettable memories with this group. Every adventure (whether big or little) that I have embarked on has in some way been inspired by them.  They stand for solidarity and social justice, two words that were not in my vocab before.  The organization helped those not to be foreign terms, but how to live them out and adopt them as a part of my identity.”
Her last description of the group was profound, “Ignatians teach us that we have a commitment to change the world, but we also have the ability to do it with joy and laughter”.  What a great description of a Doer, especially this one.
This LMU grad is doing just that, committing two years of her life to teaching at a high school on a small island in the Pacific Ocean called Weno, in Chuuk, Micronesia.  When I first received an email about this decision, I had to Google the location, does it even exist?!
Oh yes it does.

I found out that Weno is part of the Chuuk Lagoon and is the most populated island of the Federal States of Micronesia.  This experience is part of an organization called the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
Upon the lengthy application process and competitive selection, if selected JVC calls for apostolic availability.  This means to recognize your overall passion to service, by letting the details of certain things go.  For Mackenzie what that means is she didn’t get to choose where she’d be placed or what she’d be doing.  “Through the process of applying we are asked to let go of certain ‘needs’ or ‘desires’ and simply accept the call to serve.  I am a light type-A, I like to plan ahead.  Without knowing a lot, I learned to surrender to big questions and several unknowns.”
Surrendering to things out of her control was a big decision.  There were certain requirements when she graduated that she wanted in her life: spirituality, social justice, and community.  These, along with simple living, are the same four pillars of JVC.  Connecting these made the decision easy.
On Easter with her family, Mackenzie accepted the placement.  Easter this year also happened to be her birthday.  Such a life coincidence one cannot ignore, as on March 31st, 1991 she was born, also on Easter morning.  The day Easter is celebrated on changes each year, my birthday is around the Easter season and I am still waiting for it to fall on it!  For her birth and this major life decision to fall upon the same holiday is also symbolic of the roots of Easter, rebirth and renewal.
Please read on, by clicking page 3.

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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