a diptych shows Katie Maloan and a colleague giving cleaning supplies to a business; Katie's headshot
Finding a ‘Yes’ in a World of ‘No’s
ALE intern Katie Maloan finds clarity in her work at Magdalena House
Thursday, July 29, 2021

Since middle school, Katie Maloan ’22 has been passionate about serving her community and those in need. Through church, she participated in various mission trips where that passion for volunteering strengthened and shaped a clear sense of direction for her future. 

Now the Norman, Oklahoma native double majoring in political science and international studies and double minoring in economics and French is using her interests and skills to further her work in social justice. Through the Arts, Letters, and Enterprise (ALE) program at Trinity University, Maloan interned with a San Antonio-based nonprofit over the summer. 

“I’m extremely passionate about issues of gender equity, economic development, and human rights,” Maloan says. “I chose to work with Magdalena House because it is an amazing nonprofit organization where I can be a part of working with such an inspiring group of people.” 

Magdalena House is a transitional home in San Antonio that serves mothers and children who have fled dangerous and abusive lives. The organization supports these families through their transformation by providing education, a nurturing community, and programming. 

“This organization not only serves the mothers, but the children as well,” Molan adds. “As a family they can bounce back and be healthier in the future and the kids can hopefully grow up and have their own healthy families.”

“Magdalena House is also women-led, and all employees as of right now are women, which is incredibly empowering and one of the big reasons why I was drawn to work with them,” Maloan says.  

This internship could not have been a more perfect fit with Maloan’s interests. Passionate about gender equity and social justice, Maloan’s work as a development intern for the nonprofit gave her valuable insight into the important “behind the scenes” work of fundraising, grant proposals, and research and conceptualization that go into successfully running a nonprofit.

Katie Maloan assisted with a family dinner at Magdalena House, where participants enjoyed fellowship during a group painting activity.

“For me, I feel like this experience has given me a sense of clarity about where I hope to be in the future,” Maloan says. “It’s also helped me get a much more broad background on what it looks like to work inside a nonprofit and on all the different things that go into funding programs that do so much for people.”

Candidly, Maloan even admits that those mission trips that inspired her years ago may have been unintentionally detrimental to the communities she felt called to serve.

“It was really painful to realize that the things I thought were doing good were actually either not helping much or may be harming people or the greater economy of the places we were serving,” Maloan reflects. “Though realizing this was extremely challenging to come to terms with, I’ve been inspired to learn more about social justice and how I can be a part of combating the white savior narrative by working to hopefully conduct research on how to find best practices for humanitarian work that would be empowering rather than patronizing.”

With more confidence in her skills and reassurance in her passion, following her senior year Maloan hopes to go straight into graduate school and obtain a master’s degree in economic development or public policy. 

“I think experiences like this are really helpful if you think you know where your ‘Yes’ is,” Maloan says. “It helps to try a few things and get some ‘No’s so that you know that you’re on the right path. I’ve been so fortunate and inspired by the fact that my experience this summer has revealed, for me, a no in the development area of nonprofits, but a yes in the nonprofit, women empowerment, social justice work that I’m passionate about.”

Mariel Clark ’22 is a communication major and economic minor who helps tell Trinity stories as the development writing intern for the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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