Mississippi Is, Mississippi Will Be

My name is Madeline Spolin and I am a rising Junior at Mac. My project, “Mississippi is, Mississippi will be” focuses on college access in Mississippi. I will visit high schools across Mississippi and recruit for Macalester by presenting the strengths of a liberal arts education and highlighting Mac’s commitment to financial aid. I will also work with the Sunflower County Freedom Project, a well respected college access program, mentoring and teaching students for eight weeks, becoming a part of the community and increasing my awareness of the challenges facing college bound students in Mississippi. My project concludes with identifying five highly motivated students of color from Mississippi to attend the Extended Sampler in fall 2013.

Last summer I spent a month visiting historical sights and engaging with contemporary activists on a civil rights themed HECUA program. I learned that even today people in Mississippi live without sewage systems, when we quickly label other countries as “Third World” for that very reason. My experience allowed me to judge my previous understanding of “my” country as inaccurate and idealistic at best. As a global citizen, I’m obligated to to critically examine my identity as a member of a fairly idealistic Macalester community and a diverse and challenging America. I have wanted to return to Mississippi ever since my experience last summer, because I also saw a Mississippi of activism Mississippi of Freedom Summer 1964, about Medgar Evers and Fanny Lou Hamer. Pursuing this project is my way of honoring their legacies, their spirit of perseverance and willingness to dream. I am in a unique place to make two communities I love more conscious of the broader world and firmly believe Mac students and Mississippi high school students would benefit from an awareness of each other.

My project began throughout this spring, when I approached began planning my summer in Mississippi. Thus far, I have planned to attend eight high schools and two non-profit organizations to meet students who could be strong candidates for Mac. I will be driving across the state of Mississippi and stopping in five major areas: Jackson, McComb, the Gulf Coast, Tupelo, Oxford. I will mostly be going to public schools and college access programs for high school students. I have prepared my presentation to high school students, which talks about Mac, me, and why I love Mac.

I am anxious to begin my project, scared to work on my own, and so so excited to begin working with high school students.

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