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Since its founding, Maryville College has invested in the mission of doing good on the largest possible scale. To this day, this goal is exemplified by the incredible students, alumni, faculty, and staff who make up the college community. 2019 is our bicentennial year, and we are taking this opportunity to highlight some of the most notable individuals and the work they do to make our college and the larger community a better place.
This month we are pleased to highlight an impressive student - Ariel Kaylor, class of 2019. Ariel goes above and beyond for the Maryville College community through voluntary servant leadership in a variety of on-campus roles, including her position as the Bonner Senior Intern, where she helps freshman Bonner Scholars make the successful transition from high school to college. 

Ariel Kaylor, Class of 2019

Ariel Kaylor

Who is Ariel Kaylor?

Ariel is a senior, completing a double major in Human Resource Management and Psychology this spring. Additionally, she will graduate a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) through MC's Nonprofit Leadership Certification program. Ariel has also been actively involved in student government and is currently her class Vice President. Moreover, she has served the campus as a Resident Assistant for 3 years. This April, Ariel will travel to Nashville to be recognized for her outstanding service by receiving the Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Ariel Kaylor was nominated by Reagan Monday, a friend, mentee, and freshman Bonner scholar. They met at the 2018 Bonner Scholars Orientation, and the relationship has shaped Reagan's first-year experience. Reagan says that Ariel demonstrated her commitment to the Bonner students and any individual or organization she commits to serving. More importantly, she helps those she works with see that achieving their dreams and goals is a reality.

I was scared to get involved in things, but she made it a reality. She shows you that you can do almost anything that you want to do.

 Ariel is known on campus for her endless kindness, energy, and spirit of giving back. Her list of non-academic responsibilities would be daunting to some, but Ariel sees it as a way to make the most of her time here. She is the Bonner Senior Intern, an RA, the 2019 Class Vice President in SGA, and the leader of Peace and World Concerns. Through all this, Ariel keeps a positive outlook and passes that joie de vivre onto those she works with. Ariel often goes above and beyond for the students she mentors. Reagan reports that she often sacrifices her time, when there is not much of it, to help freshmen Bonners through hurdles such as navigating the class registration process. Reagan said she even mediates disputes with ease. Her coaching style could be described as hands-on, encouraging, and confident. She is able to stay fun while being professional and teaching that professionalism to her mentees. She says, 

What do you love to do? Why do you love to do it? Let’s get you somewhere!

Reagan said that Ariel encourages students to salvage relationships and build strong connections to help you be successful through your 4 years. Reagan noted that she will go as far as literally riding her bike in the road to stop traffic, recalling an incident during her experience with the famous Bonner 13-mile bike ride around Blount County this past fall. Reagan said, 

Academically and in our service, she’s a great mentor, but also socially. She is like our mom, our friend, and our mentor all in one.

Ariel’s commitment to service started at a young age. When, at 5 years old, she worked for her grandmother who served as CEO/President of Special Olympics Maryland. This experience sparked her passion for supporting and giving back to those around her, specifically to those with disabilities. Throughout high school, she continued to volunteer in the National Honor Society, Key Club, and other organizations. The Bonner Scholars opportunity only built on the sense of commitment to service work Ariel has felt since early childhood. The Bonner program has also allowed her to find a place at college that fit with her interests and values.

I have really enjoyed and found a home in the Bonner program, and with my mentors and the Center for Campus Ministry staff.

Ariel’s commitment to helping and encouraging is also recognized by fellow Bonner Scholar, and President of the Black Student Alliance, Aaron Solomon, who said,

She’s most definitely a dedicated leader in our campus community, especially in the realm of helping with community service

During her interview, Ariel spoke about the area where she grew up in Memphis. She felt was vital for her to grow, change, and overcome her circumstances. This determination has also fueled her service to those who come from similar backgrounds and has helped her in leading and mentoring the Bonner scholars. She said, 

Being an inner-city kid coming out of Memphis, I was driven to not be a statistic and not be someone who fell off to the wayside, but to actually change the world and make a difference.

In her sophomore year, she founded Peace and World Concerns, an organization that is based on the goal of bringing local, national, and international issues to campus. She wanted to create an organization that helped students a view outside what some call the "Maryville College bubble." Ariel explained, 

If you don’t see it every day, or you’re not living in it every day, you don’t realize what is going on. You don’t think about immigration laws or homelessness because we’re typically not facing it.

Ariel mentioned two events that she has used in Peace and World Concerns to bring attention to some of these issues. The first occurs during Hunger and Homelessness Week and is called the Homelessness Car Campout. She said that it is impactful to see those students will to come together and experience this event to increase their compassion and understanding for those who live that every day. The past 3 years, Ariel has also brought students to visit the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, which detains undocumented immigrants. She is always looking for opportunities to bring these valuable, unique moments to her greater community to increase understanding. She said,

It really brings that human aspect back to the issue. Then the issue is brought back to campus, and it starts conversations. It’s just about bringing those conversations here, so our student body is well educated and knows what’s happening outside of our campus.

Ariel strives to challenge the community in which she lives and learns. She exhorts the students she works with to look beyond the surface. She is driven by confronting preconceptions and watching others grow and growing with them through new experiences. 

The Maryville College community is truly fortunate to have had Ariel as part of the student body over the past few years. Thanks, Ariel, for going above and beyond your academic requirements, and “doing good on the largest possible scale.”