Kathryn Tyykila Honored for Volunteer Service
Kathryn Tyykila has been named a Newman Fellow in recognition of her exemplary volunteer service. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program that recognizes and supports community-committed students.
Buena Vista University junior Kathryn Tyykila has been named as a Newman Fellow in recognition of her exemplary volunteer service.
The Newman Civic Fellowship is a yearlong program that recognizes and supports community-committed students who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country. The fellowship is named in honor of Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders, and is supported by the KPMG Foundation and by the Newman’s Own Foundation.
Tyykila, an elementary education major from Canby, Minn., is enrolled in BVU’s Special Education Bachelor’s Plus One program, which allows students to complete a master’s degree in special education within one additional year of study.
“I’m surprised at how involved I could get. Doing work like this really makes me happy.”
In addition to her academic work, Tyykila serves as vice president in Student MOVE’s (Mobilizing Outreach & Volunteer Efforts) AWOL effort, which stands for Alternative Week of Offsite Learning. AWOL members participate in a spring break trip that features work activity in an underserved area. As a freshman, Tyykila spent spring break with the AWOL group doing service work with children on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.
Last year, Tyykila served as site leader of an AWOL effort painting houses, establishing a honey-raising project, and working with children in Nicaragua.
“I always knew I wanted to be involved in service because my parents, Steve and Genevieve Tyykila, were AmeriCorps volunteers in college and they stressed the importance of serving others,” Tyykila says. “I remember going to and doing some work at a food pantry as a young child.”
Tyykila was nominated for the Newman Fellowship by BVU President Joshua Merchant. The fellowship consists of a Newman Civic Fellows National Convening involving 262 community-minded students in November in Boston. Tyykila says she’ll attend the conference and meet other service-oriented students while working with a mentor to continue service projects already begun.
“This recognizes what I’ve done and asks me to keep serving,” she says.
“Kathryn is an incredibly passionate and hardworking student,” says Dr. Ashley Farmer-Hanson, BVU interim vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “She has done an excellent job working to create a stronger alternative spring break program and serving as a leader for her peers. All of her experiences have allowed her to apply what she is learning in the classroom to her many service efforts.”
Tyykila is also a member of BARC, the Beaver Animal Rescue Crew. She spends time walking and tending to animals at shelters near BVU. Additionally, Tyykila works in local classrooms and offers her assistance to conduct individual testing for students at Storm Lake Elementary School and the Storm Lake Early Childhood Center.
“I love the local schools and I’ve gotten such a good experience there,” she says. “And being at BVU has been a great experience. I’m surprised at how involved I could get. Doing work like this really makes me happy.”