The College of Liberal and Professional Studies is honored to celebrate Nancy Makale (Bachelor of Arts `22), whose academic achievements will be recognized by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) 2023 Annual Conference, which takes place March 22-24 in Washington, DC. After conducting a nationwide search, UPCEA selected Nancy for the UPCEA Outstanding Professional, Continuing, And/Or Online Education Student Award, which recognizes student achievement of excellence in pursuit of professional, continuing, and/or online education at an UPCEA member institution.
“I am feeling so inspired,” says Nancy. “UPCEA made me appreciate my efforts to go back to school; despite difficulties, it was a wonderful decision. Being recognized as a continuing student was very meaningful to me.”
Nancy Makale transferred into Penn with a Bread Upon the Waters scholarship. “I wanted to have an Ivy League experience,” says Nancy, “and my journey here has been life-changing. I’ve met wonderful people, wonderful professors, and I’ve gotten great internships.” At Penn, Nancy studied political science with a concentration in international relations, inspired in part by post-election violence in her home country Kenya. She took classes in the day and worked as a caregiver at night to support her family back home. In 2020, Nancy lost her father and was unable to return for his funeral due to the pandemic; she also suffered physical side effects from COVID-19. Motivated by the desire to make her family proud—and bolstered by the support of her faculty and advisors, who supplied groceries and encouragement while Nancy was isolated—she was determined to continue to excel academically. “Being in so much pain and being on my own in this country was a terrible experience,” she reflects. “Being able to pick myself up and see my hard work rewarded, first with the dean scholarship and then with UPCEA awards, is a beautiful feeling that I’ll never forget.”
Nancy has served as an intern twice, first in the office of Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and then in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. “Being in the East Wing was an experience I never thought I’d have, being born elsewhere,” she says. “It was an amazing experience. I worked with very talented individuals, and learned so much I never would have learned somewhere else.”
She also founded the Dada Safarini Club, a group that strives to support and educate women in Kenya about menstrual health. “Our first project was very successful, and I’m grateful for that. We impacted the lives of 200 teenage girls,” Nancy says. Although she is currently focused on getting established in her career after graduation, she adds, “it’s something that is still at the back of my mind to visit in the future. I would just like to give back to my community even in a small way within my capacity at the time.”
Nancy recently accepted a job offer that will allow her to continue her dedication to public service. She is excited about kicking off her career, but also looking forward to further self-exploration to discover new interests. “I think of a bright future, be it in public service, private sector, or just something else. I hope to accomplish my true highest calling,” she says. “Identify your passion, stay focused on achieving your goals, and success will follow.”
UPCEA is an association that advances leadership in professional, continuing, and online education. For more than 100 years, they have provided research, education and training, networking opportunities, and scholarship and news publications to private colleges and universities in North America. To read more about LPS people and programs honored by the regional division of this association, read Congratulations to our outstanding LPS affiliates honored in the 2022 UPCEA Mid-Atlantic Awards.
To read more about Nancy’s time at Penn, read LPS students announced as 2022 Dean’s Scholars.