Deirdre Kelley came from a unique background. Raised on a farm and homeschooled prior to college, Deirdre came into her college career prepared and full of excitement about the road ahead.
“I chose to attend O’Neill Indy because I wanted the IU excellence in public affairs education and the Indianapolis location that would allow me to intern with leaders in my field,” the Civic Leadership major says. “Both have paid off marvelously.”
The most recent payoff? Being named among IUPUI’s Top 100 students. We spoke with Deirdre about the award and what it means for her future.
What was your reaction to being selected for a Top 100 award?
“Several things have happened this semester that felt like all the doors were being opened. Receiving the Top 100 Award was the culmination of this series of successes. So, it was thrilling and sobering, too. Greater success means that I am charged to give back even more fruitfully.”
What advice do you have for students just starting in the O’Neill School?
“College is what you make of it. Getting your personal A+ in classes is a bare minimum. It’s also internships, student involvement experiences, volunteer service, and leadership that makes college rewarding. As an O’Neill student, you are “Majoring in Making a Difference”—don’t wait until you graduate to start!”
What has been one of your most memorable projects in O’Neill?
“One of the most formative O’Neill projects has been my research with Dr. Cullen Merritt. He taught my first O’Neill class and has supported me in a multitude of ways, giving me the opportunity to engage in meaningful public management research. Additionally, my summer study abroad trips with O’Neill were once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I spent two months in Germany and Ireland learning, exploring, and becoming myself in a new environment. The resulting opportunities for thought, reflection, and adventure fundamentally shaped my personality and character.”
What are your plans after graduation?
“I plan to continue pursuing my accelerated master’s in policy analysis and then begin serving the Indianapolis community in the intersection of policy and nonprofit. I will continue to serve with Heart Change Ministries and perhaps seek a leadership role in another local nonprofit organization.”