Willis ready for change and city involvement
By LETY VERDUZCO
Marie Willis is one of the many fresh faces at Saint Mary's this fall as she assumes her position as assistant director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
With a background in working with young people Willis hopes to improve the programs the office offers.
"We have successful summer and pre-college programs and I would like to help develop these programs with other groups," said Willis, who replaces April Davis.
A local graduate of St. Joseph High School, Willis continued her education at the University of Ann Arbor obtaining a BA in both English and psychology.
After graduation she worked as a crisis intervention worker for battered women in New York. She later moved to Dowagiac, Mich. where she worked for the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indians as a youth coordinator and an interim educator manger. She helped designed programs for children and organized cultural programs.
After four years with the Potawatomis, she began pursuing a master's degree in educational administration and community leadership at Central Michigan University. She wanted to work with college aged students rather than the high school and elementary students she dealt with through the Potawatomis.
"I really did love working with the children, but I just felt like it was time to move on," said Willis.
The opening at Saint Mary's provided Willis with the perfect opportunity to work with college aged students as well as continue her education at Central Michigan.
As a Michiana native, she was also aware of Saint Mary's mission and philosophy.
"I knew about the College from when I went to school at St. Joe's and I like the fact that it is an all women's college that works in supporting women," Willis said.
Willis hopes to establish even more programming at Saint Mary's — especially programming that will allow students to get more involved in the local community. One of her proposed programs is a mentoring and tutoring program between Saint Mary's students and local Potawatomi groups.
"I want to get the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Saint Mary's College more involved in the community, both in Indiana and Michigan," she said.
All News Stories for Wednesday, August 29, 2001