Outstanding Students

Mara Stewart

Q: Where are you from? (city, state) 

A: I was born in Indiana but I grew up in Iowa City. 

Q: Why did you choose Kirkwood? 

A: After high school I took a year off before going to Truman State for two years. I left there and took two more years off to work and figure out my next step. I heard about the Humane Officer Training program and knew it was perfect for me. 

Q: What is your major and how did you choose it? 

A: Humane Officer Training, I have always loved animals, and have a special interest in corrections and criminal justice. This is the only 2-year long program for animal control in the country! It was a no-brainer. 

Q: What has been your proudest moment at Kirkwood?  

A: My first semester I took a class on animal behavior and was paired up with a shelter dog then living in the Kirkwood animal health facility. It was such a great experience and I learned so much from my girl, Bizzy. I gush about that class to everyone who will listen! Also being voted Secretary of Phi Theta Kappa was pretty great! 

Q: What are your plans after Kirkwood? 

A: I’m looking for animal care and control jobs in the area, but soon my boyfriend and I would like to move westward and I’d love to open a doggy daycare, animal sanctuary or rescue someday.

Q: What inspires or motivates you?

A:  My family has been such a huge support while I was figuring out my path and knowing they’ll always be there for me is a great motivator. I am very passionate about animal welfare, and seeing what can be improved helps keep me focused and driven to make a difference. 

Q: Tell us about who you are outside of Kirkwood – hobbies, family, other interests, etc.

A: I love to craft; I cross stitch, paint and draw. My family loves to road trip, watch movies and cook. I also like to read and be outside. 

Q: What does being named an Outstanding Student mean to you? 

A:  It honestly is a title I never thought I’d achieve. I was diagnosed with ADD with I was in junior high and after that always had a sour attitude about school. I never thought I was smart like my classmates, tested terribly and constantly forgot assignments. It wasn’t until I came to Kirkwood that I realized my grades were poor and my motivation low because I wasn’t engaged with the material. Once I found a program that sparked my interest and kept me wanting to learn more, I’ve never been more confident in my academic skills. 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

A: Congrats to all the other outstanding students here at Kirkwood! I wish I could have met some of you at the reception, but I hope you are staying healthy and finish the semester strong! 

Categories: Outstanding Students