Dedication to Service and Research Shapes Undergraduate’s Success

Victoria Rose MacLain | Undergraduate | Psychology 

Victoria Rose MacLain accomplished a lot during her time at IUPUI. Ranging from research and mentoring to service days and honors societies, MacLain’s involvement earned her accolades including being named an IUPUI Top 100 student and the 2015 recipient of the Department of Psychology Research Award.

Finding her voice and passion

Despite all of this, MacLain says her proudest accomplishment at IUPUI “was finding confidence in myself to achieve everything I have done and will do in the future.” IUPUI is the place that I found my voice and my passion.”

Much of Maclain’s passion was devoted to research. Working in Psychology and School of Environmental and Public Affairs labs gave Maclain well-rounded experiences that resulted in a publication, many presentations and a grant for her work.

Next steps

This fall, MacLain will begin a Master’s degree in forensic psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She recently reflected on her personal growth and what service means when she gave a speech at the IUPUI Class of 2015 Commencement Ceremony. 

Speech transcript

“The first time I stepped foot on IUPUI’s campus my senior year of high school, I noticed almost instantly that everywhere I went the words “Where Impact is Made” followed. Initially, I did not understand the magnitude of that saying and how incredibly accurate it was in describing this amazing university the Class of 2015 will soon call our alma mater. As I began my freshman year and experienced what this institution really had to offer their students, I came to realize that IUPUI fulfills the promise of those words and it is a place where we make an impact on the lives of students, the Indianapolis community and beyond. We do this through our research, our commitment to diversity and most importantly our passion for civic engagement and understanding that community relationships are a vital role in the progression of our city, state, and nation.

"At IUPUI, we celebrate the lives of individuals who were and still are committed to cohesive community relationships. Every student here is aware of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the Harvey Milk Dinner, and the Cesar Chavez Day of Service. We pay our respects and memorialize these great men because they were the true definition of what a public servant should be. They were all active in their respective causes and gave their lives to advocate and help minority populations have a better quality of life. We honor these men in expectation that our students will be able to learn from their experiences and find causes of their own to embrace and make a difference in.

"At IUPUI, we do not ignore the call of duty, and we willingly serve our community where it is needed. Thanks to the annual report from the Dean of the Center for Service and Learning, I can offer you evidence of this statement. IUPUI students volunteer with an estimated 162 community partners currently. In the year of 2011, the year a majority of us started attending IUPUI, community service hours increased by 14% and since then has escalated. And between the years of 2011-2014, IUPUI’s students had a grand total of 761,970 hours of recorded community service, and I can do you one better, the schools represented at this ceremony this morning have contributed 574,978 of those hours. These numbers also continue to grow every day. So before I go on I want to applaud everyone out here today who has contributed to these totals, because not every university has those same numbers or has as many students that make as big of an impact as you do in their city.

"Service is not just about statistics and gold stars and dinners though, it is about making a difference in someone’s life and finding something to be a part of that is bigger than yourself or any one person. Service is providing the overworked and underpaid staff and directors an opportunity to spend time with their loved ones because the tasks needed to be done have already been completed by their amazing volunteers. And service is the ability to branch out and make long-lasting relationships with individuals that you may have never come into contact with before. A professor once informed me that volunteering and service is the back bone of local non-profit organizations. By this he meant that most of the benefits that non-profits receive are not in generous donations, but by the hands of everyday citizens who want to make a difference in their communities. They can be you, a family member, your next door neighbor, or even the person sitting next to you right now. Anyone has what it takes to be make an impact, and IUPUI has provided you with the tools to achieve it.

"I would just like to leave you with one final thought. This thought is on the concept of time. Time is one of the most precious, yet under-appreciated gifts given to human beings. Although we don’t like to think about it, time is not infinite, and we are constantly losing it. When we give our time to another person, cause, organization, or all of the above, we are saying that they are willing to sacrifice their already finite life on this Earth for something we believe in. And that is worth more and means more than any object or monetary reward ever could be. Now I challenge you, Class of 2015 and everyone sitting here today, to find something, someone, or some cause you are passionate about and would like to see a difference be made in. Give them the gift of your time. Go out and show the world what you have gained here at IUPUI. It was more than just a traditional education. It was the drive to become a public servant and the motivation to help move our nation forward. Give back to your community. I promise that your community will start giving back to you in incredibly life-changing ways. Congratulations Class of 2015, we did it! Thank you.”