Name: Hailey Meyer
Hometown: Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Graduation Year: 2016
Degree Pursued: Chemical Engineering
Involvement On Campus: Harvey Scholars, McBride Honors, Residence Hall Association, Society of Women Engineers
The service-oriented mindset has been part of Hailey’s DNA since she was little. Her older brother has Down syndrome and when he was younger, he went to a camp for people with disabilities. Right after she turned 14, the minimum age to volunteer, Hailey signed up to help at that camp; that week changed her perspective of the world. “These people, like my brother, like all of his classmates at school, they want to enjoy life just like everybody else. They’re sad, they’re angry, they’re excited, they’re scared of heights on the rock climbing wall, they have a crush on the boy in the cabin next to them. It’s this whole gamut of emotion that I understood innately with my brother but it never occurred to my 14-year-old mind to be like, oh, this is everybody, no matter who it is, not just my brother,” said Hailey. She spent many more summers volunteering at that camp, as well as working with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, her high school’s National Honor Society and many other service organizations.
So when she was selected as a Harvey Scholar at Mines, the fit was perfect. “Circling back to the Mines philanthropy, I’m only here because there was a donor willing to take a chance on me. The whole idea of the Harvey Scholars Program is to pay it forward and so I’m just one but I can cause a lot of ripples. I can inform a lot of people,” she said.
Since she’s been on campus, Hailey has continued to give back to her community. She was the service coordinator for the Harvey Scholars for a year, worked with the foundation in donor relations and was selected to be a fellow for Compassion by the Book. This organization was started by a Mines alumnus with the goal of bringing about positive social change on college campuses and local communities. Hailey has been using her experiences during her fellowship to help the next round of students to be successful in that role. She credits her Mines education, especially the McBride Honors program, for helping her look at problems holistically. “Part of my education is just about understanding and grappling with these big complicated problems of humanity. This (group of) people doesn’t understand this (group of) people but why, when they’re essentially the same” she explained. “Some people have some extra chromosomes, but they’re still people. McBride has given me the tools to think about and tackle those problems.”
As Hailey looks to the future (she got hired at Orbital ATK and will be creating a rocket fuel facility), she can’t help but feel like she’s leaving a very special place.
“My most treasured moment is finding those people who not only are they passionate about what they wanted to do or what they were into, but they wanted to be part of what I was passionate about, they wanted to create that community. I never had that before, that’s pretty cool. That’s home. And it’s making it really hard for me to leave.”