Kelly Smith is a senior at Loyola majoring in anthropology with a minor in theatre. After discovering a passion for studying other cultures and helping others, she transferred from Purchase College in New York to Loyola before her junior year, switched her theatre major to a minor, and changed her major to anthropology. She has worked with the Loyola Refugee Outreach program, Chardin Anthropological Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, and Tau Sigma Transfer Honor Society. She has also volunteered in Tunisia, working with the local refugee population.
Why did you switch your major from theatre to anthropology?
I decided that it wasn’t really the lifestyle that I wanted and I was always interested in studying other cultures and traveling all over the world. So I came in [to Loyola] as a cultural anthropology major and kept my theatre minor. And since being here, I’ve kind of moved from cultural anthropology into applied anthropology. Now that I’m working in applied anthropology, I’m going to continue to work in non-profits and try to use the same concepts to help people.
What does it mean to you to be a person for others?
Well, obviously it’s always nice to know you’re helping someone, but I also feel like it’s personally rewarding because you can make a direct difference in someone’s life and better someone else’s situation. A lot of times, for work that I do, I see people that have had completely different experiences and I feel like it really puts my life into perspective. I really enjoy having somebody shake you up a little bit and make you look at the world in a different way.
How did you feel when you found out you were being profiled for the Weekend of Excellence?
[I was] kind of surprised because I’ve never thought of doing volunteer work as something to put on my resume or to impress people. I’ve just always done it for me and for the people I help and really never thought someone was watching. It is kind of nice to know somebody’s watching.
How is your experience at Loyola different from other students’ experiences?
I definitely have had a unique experience only being here for two years, so I think I came in with a lot more drive to get things done and to get things done quickly. And immediately during my first couple weeks here I found the Refugee Outreach Program and became an officer and started creating new opportunities for other students and trying to give the program a structure. I think a lot of other kids kind of come in and take some time to figure out their talents and their passions and I came in ready to do something with those already.
What is your career goal?
The dream job would be to create and manage my own non-profit. I’m working on the baby steps so I’ll probably continue working in refugee resettlement after graduation, and probably in Chicago.
Do you have a motto that you live by?
I try to just live every day experiencing life and not let it pass me by and reminding other people to do the same.