At the heart of Notre Dame’s multicultural community, student leaders who take ownership of their education and make the most of their undergraduate experience embody our University’s mission and values. These students’ involvement in clubs and activities enriches their time at the University and provides them with invaluable leadership opportunities: they are often presidents, club executive officers, or representatives on Diversity Council. These leaders often serve as mentors for underclassmen and prospective students—their stories can serve as roadmaps for success and model how to get involved in the multicultural community.
Rachel Wallace is a fourth year student in the Five Year Dual Degree Program in Arts & Letters / Engineering through the John J. Reilly Center. In May of 2017, Rachel will graduate with a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering. She was first introduced to the office of Multicultural Student Programs & Services (MSPS) when she came to campus for Spring Visitation Weekend in 2012. After she was admitted, she was named a Balfour-Hesburgh Scholar and was re-introduced to many of the opportunities through MSPS during their summer program; over the past four years, Rachel has made the most of all the opportunities offered through the office.
Rachel became engaged in MSPS academically through the Building Bridges Mentorship Program and the National Society for Black Engineers, spiritually through Voices of Faith Gospel Choir and the Plunge, and holistically through her involvement in Diversity Council and Shades of Ebony. This year she served as the President of Shades of Ebony and oversaw a mentoring program between Notre Dame women of color and young women in South Bend-area schools—a program that grew from around 25 to 75 during Rachel’s year in office. Her work will continue next year as she seeks to serve the greater Notre Dame community as the Student Union Representative to Diversity Council.
Rachel was funded by MSPS to go to London through Notre Dame's Summer Engineering Program in 2014. She also studied abroad in Perth, Australia during the Fall 2014 semester. In addition to her experiences at Notre Dame and abroad. Rachel’s involvement in the South Bend community—through Shades of Ebony’s Girls of Shades Mentor program—has fostered her passion for education and community engagement. As she reflected on how MSPS has guided her time at Notre Dame thus far, Rachel said, "MSPS serves unique people in unique ways. Personalizing my story has allowed me to share my experiences with underclassmen and to encourage them to find their own paths in leadership.
Students like Rachel work with MSPS and different cultural clubs to promote diversity and inclusion on campus and beyond. Whether the leaders of the multicultural community are coordinating club events, engaging the South Bend community, or travelling the world, MSPS works to make their time at Notre Dame both memorable and impactful.
Story by Dom Acri