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Students Who Soar: Monique Maxwell Finds Transformation in Campus Involvement

Students Who Soar: Monique Maxwell Finds Transformation in Campus Involvement

Posted: September 16, 2016

After high school in Queens, New York, Monique Maxwell chose Buffalo State sight unseen because at the time it was the only accredited journalism program within the State University of New York (SUNY) system. This was important to Maxwell, a junior journalism major and creative studies minor who hopes to work in broadcast or multimedia news.

“When I got here I thought it was a really cool campus,” Maxwell said. “There are so many diverse people you’re living among. Also, Buffalo State is large enough that you have your own space, yet small enough that you still recognize the majority of faces you’re passing throughout the day.”

It wasn’t an easy path to get here. Raised by a single mother who didn’t attend college, Maxwell had to navigate the college application and financial aid process herself.

In her large high school, Maxwell served as a senior leader in student government and captain of the cheerleading squad. She transferred that proclivity for involvement to Buffalo State.

She’s now in her second year as resident assistant (RA) in Porter Hall; she serves as an administrative vice president for student life in the United Students Government (USG); she was the public relations chair of the new organization PULSE (Powerful United Ladies Striving to Elevate); and she’s a member of the Homecoming Committee.  

But she admits it took her about a semester to jump in. At the beginning of her freshmen year, she tended to hibernate inside her dorm room when she didn’t have class.

“I had two friends from high school who were part of USG, and they encouraged me to get involved, thinking I would like it. And I did,” said Maxwell, who projects a confident and energetic nature. “My involvement really shot off from there. It led to my becoming a USG executive board member, and with that, I got to work with a lot of organizations and other student leaders on campus.”

Her commitment to these organizations has resulted in her becoming more productive and happier overall, she said.

“Working with the different parts of campus, you learn so much about the way things work. And then in a leadership role, you can spread the word to other students.” 

During her first year at Buffalo State, she was a mentee in the campus’s Nurturing Initiative and Achievement (NIA) program, which is designed to assist minority students in making a successful transition to college. In turn, Maxwell decided to become a mentor to first-year students during her sophomore year, an experience she considers rewarding.

Her favorite role on campus, however, has been that of RA.

“You’re in the best position to affect student development,” she said. “Freshmen are the most positive and upbeat students. They’re looking for people to help them and tell them the things about the campus that you don’t see in the brochures. I keep my door open and love hanging out and talking with the residents.”

Maxwell points to numerous campus mentors who have helped her develop leadership skills, including Tamara McMillan, a lecturer in University College and former coordinator of the NIA program, and Brian Dubenion, student retention specialist.

“Being involved on campus means you meet a lot of staff, and you can see how much they can help you to grow as a person,” Maxwell said. “I think that’s important because leaders create other leaders. By having them mentor me I can be a mentor to some of the first-year students, and they’re going to be mentors to other freshmen leaders that come in the following years.”

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