Joseph McKeen
Center for the Common Good

Michelle Johnson
Class of 2015

Posted January 01, 2013

From Lexington, MA, Michelle Johnson is a  Sociology major/Education Studies minor.  Before she was a student at Bowdoin, Michelle was drawn to the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good. When looking at colleges, Bowdoin’s emphasis on the Common Good ideals and a Center to help students in these pursuits set Bowdoin apart from similar schools.

Michelle’s involvement with the McKeen Center began through the Midcoast Community Immersion pre-Orientation Trip focused on hunger and homelessness. Through the trip, her connection to the McKeen Center was forged and the Center became one of her first communities on campus. This year she led a McKeen Center Orientation Trip, working with the Passamaquoddy Tribe in Downeast Maine.

As a first year Michelle was a mentor at Bowdoinham Community School through the Bowdoin Volunteer Corps mentoring group Falcon Friends. Charmed by her eleven-year-old mentee she is co-leading the program this year along with Ruth Bodell '13 and Will Horne '14.

Last winter break, Michelle spent the final week on an Alternative Winter Break trip, continuing to work with organizations in the greater Portland area on issues of hunger and homelessness.  And then in the spring traveled to Milbridge, ME with a Weekend Service Trip.  There they met and worked with Ian Yaffe '09, executive director at Mano en Mano, an organization that works to provide educational services, healthcare, and low-income housing to Latino immigrant farmers in Downeast Maine.

Michelle brought her passion for service into the classroom, participating in a community-based course, EDUC 233: Latino Education with Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Education, Mariana Cruz.

Last year, Michelle was a member of the Development Committee within the Common Good Grant Program, which entails meeting with donors to ask for donations to supplement the committee’s $10,000 annual donation. This year she is serving on the Grant Committee which allocates the funds to local non-profits in the form of grants. Through this opportunity that is unique to Bowdoin, Michelle and her fellow committee members have learned skills in development, grant writing, and stewardship. Her previous experiences with non-profits had been mostly based on direct service, so it was a new experience to learn about the behind-the-scenes work of non-profit organizations.

Michelle's career goals involve work within the non-profit sector, so she is grateful to be able to develop these life-long skills with the McKeen Center’s help.

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“The McKeen Center is a collaborative network of like-minded students, staff, alumni, and community members working together to accomplish things that no one group would have been able to do on its own.”