School of Social Work
Hometown: Monroe, Wisconsin
Major: Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Women’s Studies and Gender Studies
Expected Graduation: 2019
Meaghan has been an advocate and activist for LGBTQIA+ individuals since arriving at Loyola in 2016. Meaghan has devoted their academic career and campus life to social justice work that addresses systemic issues faced by these populations.
They were selected as the 2017–18 Graduate Children’s Rights Scholar, where they researched the labor and sex trafficking and the overrepresentation of transgender and gender nonconforming youth a topic about which they have completed a research brief. Meaghan co-organized the third annual Careers in Human Rights program on campus; served as steering committee student representative and graduate assistant for the women’s studies and gender studies program; and served as a senior leader for the School of Social Work’s student organization. They have interned at organizations such as the Federal Defender Program and Chicago Public Schools—and volunteered organizing the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender and Ally College Conference and co-facilitating workshops on and off campus.
They graduated in 2010 from Evergreen State College with a bachelor’s in cultural studies and human rights.
Here, Meaghan shares what they gained through their experience with the Center for the Human Rights of Children (CHRC) and how faculty, staff, and students inspired and influenced them throughout their Loyola experience.
What was the most meaningful volunteer, service, or student organization activity you’ve been involved in? How has it influenced you or shaped you as a person?
My experience as the 2017–18 Graduate Children’s Rights Scholar for the CHRC was meaningful practically and academically. I was encouraged to consider the ways in which law and social work inform each other. This relationship is now central to my understanding of the obligations I hold as a future social worker. This position gave me the opportunity to dedicate a significant amount of time to a topic I am committed to and subsequently present on that topic in a variety of settings. At the completion of my year there, I had gained academic confidence, invaluable mentorship, and an increased understanding of networking within the nonprofit world.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your Jesuit education?
My education at Loyola was largely accented by faculty and staff who truly believe social justice, anti-oppression work, and service have a place in higher education. Between the committed and affirming staff and students affiliated with Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, outstanding professors in my school and program, and staff, faculty, and students at the CHRC, I have observed how Jesuit values allow for creative, inspiring, and social justice-minded work to occur on campus. A Jesuit education means striving for excellence while stepping back to think critically about issues of ethics and justice. With the examples set by my mentors and peers, this is a balance I will continue to strive for in my future pursuits.
What do you hope to achieve after college, and how has Loyola prepared you?
I aspire to become a school social worker at a public school. In the future, I would like to contribute to education policy. The dual-degree program in social work and women’s studies and gender studies has prepared me to merge theory with practice. Women’s and gender studies classes are filled with critical conversations about history, theory, and systemic issues of privilege and power, and social work classes give me the practical skills I need to work with people in individual and group settings.