That’s the advice that Kaitlyn Schmaltz gave herself during her sophomore year that changed her college experience.
Schmaltz (political science, ’17) is the president of the Political Science Honor Society, an undergraduate research assistant, and a teaching assistant. Looking back at her first year of college, she describes her freshman self as shy and afraid to take the first step toward her goals.
Sophomore year, Schmaltz tutored on campus, which gave her the confidence to develop interpersonal skills and join Political Science Club, which she had previously been afraid to join. Through that club, she met friends and grew in her ability for speaking in groups and in front of groups.
After taking those initial steps of involvement, she realized that pursuing her passion was worth facing her fears.
“I consider myself a feminist and I wanted to help push issues important to women and raise awareness about domestic violence and intimate partner violence,” Schmaltz said.
As the president of Political Science Honor Society she is thankful for her opportunities to speak in front of groups and grow in her ability to organize people.
Schmaltz learned that when she puts herself “out there” for opportunities, it pays off. She is making a difference on campus and in the lives of younger girls through volunteering at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center and serving as a mentor to young girls through the YWCA in Ames. While mentoring, she serves as a role model while developing herself into a leader. Schmaltz said she loved going to Reiman Gardens or out to eat with her mentee weekly through the program.
Schmaltz plans on graduating in December and pursuing an internship in Washington D.C during her final spring semester. She wants to continue empowering women by making others feel comfortable to take the first step toward their goals. For freshmen, Schmaltz encourages students to attend events at least every other week and find friends in the activities they want to be involved in.
Ultimately, Schmaltz dreams of being a lobbyist for women’s rights and raising awareness about human rights. She is thankful for her time at Iowa State and how she is continuing to develop into the person she wants to be.