This spring, The University of Tulsa was proud to honor Maria “Misia” Paszkowiak as the 2021 recipient of the Marcy Lawless Service Award. Paszkowiak graduated in May with a bachelor of science in biological sciences, with minors in chemistry, anthropology and psychology. Pazkowiak has always had a passion for academics, but it is her desire for community improvement and development that drives her.
“Reaching out to my community and helping those in need are traits that I was instilled with by my family and have tried to implement them to the best of my ability in my life,” Paszkowiak reflected.
Paszkowiak’s introduction to community service began as young as age 12, when she and her father used to volunteer at free clinics together. She continued with volunteer work and once she began her freshman year at TU, she joined Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a community service-focused fraternity. Through APO, she was able to branch out and form relationships with various service organizations located in Tulsa.
In addition to APO, Paszkowiak also volunteered with True Blue Neighbors, the goal of which is to connect the TU community to organizations through service opportunities. Paszkowiak worked closely with Melissa Abdo, True Blue Neighbors’ program coordinator. “Maria has proved her commitment and heart for service throughout her time at TU,” Abdo said. “Whether it’s community outreach in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood, registering new voters or volunteering in the True Blue Neighbors office, she is always eager to assist in helping people on campus and in the Tulsa community.”
Paszkowiak also joined the university’s Student Association (SA), for which she is currently the chief of operations. Being a member of SA has allowed her to assist students in using and understanding the resources available to them, aiding them in furthering their organizations and providing more opportunities on campus. In addition, Paszkowiak represents the university as a University Ambassador, where she works with prospective students to show all TU has to offer.
Outside of her work with TU, Paszkowiak has volunteered hundreds of hours with hospital emergency and pharmacy departments. Since her junior year, she has been volunteering with the Take Control Initiative, a Tulsa-based non-profit organization that works to make sure the community has access to sexual health resources. She currently serves as a peer educator for TCI and she intends to continue her work with them after graduation.
“I am incredibly honored and thankful to be receiving the Marcy Lawless Service Award,” Paszkowiak said. “Volunteering with my campus and community is a passion of mine and I have learned so much through it.”
In fall 2021, Paszkowiak will begin studying at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine with the aim of becoming a family practitioner. She hopes to continue assisting her campus and her community through the experience and resources she has gained throughout her time at TU.
If you are a student interested in serving the campus and community through True Blue Neighbors, visit their website for more information and to learn how to get involved.