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Arizona State University began its fall semester last Thursday, while Public Allies Arizona will kick off its 14th year next week. The PAAZ team reached out to someone who can speak about both: Class 13 Public Ally Magdelena “Maggie” Saucedo, who joined the program after graduating from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management and earning the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She served as the president of ASU’s Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association during her final year in the program. With Public Allies, she is placed at Maryvale Revitalization Corporation and completes the program later this year.
PAAZ: What did you intend to use your degree(s) for?
Maggie: To empower people to leverage their voices in building capacity within not only themselves, but also their communities.
PAAZ: Have you used your education thus far?
Maggie: Yes, every day.
PAAZ: How did you choose your major? (and minors or certificates too, if applicable)
Maggie: I chose my major because I wanted to make a difference on a macro level.
PAAZ: What are some common perceptions about your degree?
Maggie: We're always asking for money and volunteers and we're going to save the world.
PAAZ: What's some common advice you've received about your intended educational/career path? Was it right?
Maggie: To always listen to the community and make sure people have a seat at the table when speaking about their community. Yes, definitely I can see people within communities using their voices to lift up themselves and their communities.
PAAZ: What's a popular inside joke for people within your degree path?
Maggie: We won't get paid.
PAAZ: Describe a favorite memory from college.
Maggie: Doing a social change project with classmates and seeing, feeling and experiencing the difference we made in a community.
PAAZ: Did you have a professor or mentor that played an important role in your life?
Maggie: YES! Anne Kotleba.
I first met Anne Kotleba in Spring 2017 for a NLM 160 Voluntary Action and Community Leadership class. Throughout the first few weeks, Anne had discussed her journey with community, AmeriCorps and how she has a passion for giving back. She had brought students in from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association (NLASA) to speak to us about joining; she was the faculty advisor. I had asked Anne on different occasions about the student organization and she suggested I speak with other students as well who were members. I respected her a lot for this, which showed me transparency within the student organization. I eventually joined and was a member and then became the president. I stepped into a role I would not have imagined. I grew and learned so much about the nonprofit world and leadership throughout my time as her student and within leadership.
Throughout my time knowing Anne she has been such an important piece to my education, personal and professional life. She has connected me to people I would not have otherwise imagined, encouraged me to step outside of my box and to be vulnerable to communities, people and myself. She has listened and challenged me to think deeper, further and expand my mind beyond limits I have not thought of. She truly cares about people and communities and doesn't just say it – she means it. If you ever get the chance to chat with Anne (which I hope you do), you will notice right away she has this vibe to her where you want to be a part of whatever she is doing because you know she is doing something to make our world a better place.
PAAZ: If you haven't finished (and are currently not in school), why haven't you?
Maggie: Because my process is a little slower and I'm okay with it.
PAAZ: If you haven't finished, would you go back to school? Why or why not?
Maggie: Yes, because my Dad once told me, "Get your education because no one can ever take that away from you."
PAAZ: Do you think everyone should attend college or are there exceptions?
Maggie: I think people will know if college/trade school or other options are for them or not. I think when people are honest with themselves and want to grow as people we all continue to learn in some shape, way or form whether that is through college or other forms of learning.
PAAZ: What do you think should be done to help students stay in school?
Maggie: Create an individualized plan for each student and listen to their needs and what works for them. Checking in with students bi-weekly or monthly. Help them find support systems and their own personal support systems.
PAAZ: Is it ever too late to go to school?
PAAZ: Lastly, we’d appreciate learning if you know of any resources to share or if there’s anything—big or small—that’s helped gotten you through school. What do you know that could help others? What advice would you give to people considering college?
Maggie: People can take your belongings and other things but no one can ever take away your education.
PAAZ: What's are some resources that you have found to be vital for your pursuit for education?
Maggie: Financial aid, faculty, staff, other students, student organizations, food pantries, attend transfer student orientations if you are a transfer student, student advocacy and assistance will help you if you are struggling with school to speak with your instructors.
PAAZ: What are some current back-to-school resources that you know of and would like to share?
Maggie: Resources at ASU: https://eoss.asu.edu/resources.
PAAZ: Do you believe a college education is worthwhile?
Maggie: Yes, it will expand your mind and reach beyond what you ever thought if you give it a chance and put in what you expect to get out of your education.
Maggie Saucedo was part of Public Allies' Class 13. She was placed at Maryvale Revitalization Corporation. Public Allies Arizona is a 10-month apprenticeship program designed to develop the next generation of civic leaders. Before Public Allies, she earned her bachelor's degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University and earned the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. As a senior, she served as president of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association and received the 2019 George F. Miller Award as the outstanding student of the year.