Introducing 2010 Graduates: Kylie Patterson
Degree: B.A., African American studies, political science (College of Liberal Arts)
Hometown: Bushkill, Pa.
Why did you choose Temple?
I was a very meticulous (high school) senior. I had a detailed Excel sheet tracking all the qualities I was looking for in a college: Division I athletics, internships, access to political internships, financial aid, etc. And, my mother had attended here for one semester and loved it. Also, I wanted a school with a high percentage of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and white students. Everything was perfect with Temple.
How has Temple’s diversity shaped your experience?
It’s made all the difference. Before coming to Temple, I never had the opportunity to be around a diverse group of people. After coming here, I started to fall in love with the diversity of experiences that people have had. I’m now well trained in black hair care, can whip up Latin dishes and even know a few Hebrew phrases. I leave here with such great experiences.
Why did you choose to become active in Temple Student Government?
I started to go to Temple Student Government meetings during my freshman year. As I started to get involved, I noticed that the Temple student voice is heard — the administration really listens. I realized that by getting involved I would be able to change the lives of students around me more and more.
What was the most difficult issue you’ve worked through as TSG president?
The most difficult publicly was the (controversial) Geert Wilders event. It was a challenge to make sure that all students felt they were being heard and equally represented by TSG. It became a delicate balancing act. On the other hand, the most satisfying has been the work we’ve done to advocate to establish an Independent Scholarship Office.
Where does your commitment to public service stem from?
My mother and father. My father was drafted during the Vietnam War, became a doctor and a third degree black belt in karate and made it his goal to mentor young black people. In his practice, he serves people who he knows will not pay him, but he does it because it is the right thing to do. My mother has been involved in community organizations for her entire life — I was a lifetime member of the NAACP at only four years old. Both of their being involved was a true inspiration.
What’s next for you?
I’ll be working in Washington, D.C. this summer at the Council of State Governments, a non-profit council for leaders of state government. I just received a fellowship in institutional advancement and hope to work for Temple’s Office of Institutional Advancement after graduation.
Where does your ambition come from?
Something happened to me after I overcame a stutter. It took a lot of work with my mother, but I was able to overcome it. That personal narrative has driven me to succeed. Who would think that the girl who stuttered so much in grade school would end up giving a Convocation speech?