It wasn’t the facilities or professors that surprised senior Maggie Burgess when she first visited Ithaca College — it was a tour of the speech clinic that her sister Brittany Burgess ’07 had planned in advance.
“At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come to the same school as my sister,” Maggie said. “But I came up for a weekend to visit her and had a surprise tour of the speech clinic planned for me, which I didn’t know about, and I ended up falling in love with it.”
Brittany said Maggie, now a speech-language pathology major, remains committed to helping others. Maggie is president of Sigma Phi Omega, the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, and the Aging and Gerontological Education Society.
Maggie has always volunteered her time, even before college in her hometown, Newark, N.Y.
“She was like that in high school,” Maggie’s mother, Karen Burgess, said. “But at college it seems like morning, noon and night you can be involved with stuff, and that seems like what she did when she got there.”
Maggie, despite her crammed schedule, finds time to be a team captain for Relay for Life, work at the Division of Graduate Studies and is also training for a marathon.
“I was actually going to do cross country here, and it ended up that it didn’t work out with my schedule,” Maggie said. “It was actually good because I was able to get involved with so many other student organizations that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. ”
On top of her many extracurriculars, Maggie also makes time to volunteer at Longview, an Ithacare Community.
Throughout Maggie’s childhood, her grandmother lived with her, becoming someone Maggie connected with at an early age.
“[The Longview community is] like her Ithaca replacement grandparents,” Brittany said. “When she’s not at home she’ll be telling me stories about her friend, and she’ll be going on and on, and it turns out that her friend is one of the elderly women who live at Longview.”
Maintaining a perfect balance between volunteering and academics garners Maggie high praise from her professors.
“She is able to do the job, think it through, get it done and smile about it,” clinical associate professor Marie Sanford, who has taught Maggie in two separate courses, said. “It’s not just anything, but she’s the most genuine person I know. Now I want her as my daughter.”
Maggie said she makes time to spend with friends, even though she only recently discovered bubble tea in Collegetown and made her first trip to the gorges.
“She’s definitely one of the most cheerful people I know,” senior Katelyn Walter, who met Maggie at orientation freshman year, said. “She has a good time, pretty much all the time.”
Maggie’s volunteer work extends beyond the college and the community. Last spring she traveled to Malawi, Africa, to volunteer.
“We worked in crisis care nurseries and helped feed the babies,” Maggie said. “That was an incredible experience [and] probably my favorite thing in my four years at Ithaca for sure.”
For everything she does, Maggie is recognized as an inductee to three honor societies and as a 2010 recipient of the Peggy R. Williams Award for Academic and Community Leadership.
“I’m extremely honored,” Maggie said. “It was something I received a nomination for, which was anonymous, so I haven’t been able to thank whoever it was. I wish I could.”
But for all her accolades, Maggie remains modest and doesn’t like to talk up her accomplishments.
“She won the Peggy R. Williams Award, and she didn’t even tell me,” Walter said. “I found it on Intercom when I saw her name. She doesn’t like to brag about it.”
Maggie will be attending the speech-language pathology graduate program at the college in the fall. She said she just sometimes wishes she could have been even more involved.
“There’s always that club meeting you wish you could go to or that organization you wish you could help more,” she said. “Maybe make two of myself so that I could be a part of all the organizations I wanted to. But other than that, I mean, I love everything I’ve done, and I certainly have no regrets.”