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Student Named 2013 Change Leader

Sophomore McKehna Thiem is one of only 50 students nationwide who will spend a week this summer training with the Oxfam Change Initiative. The Oxfam Organization is a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness for global poverty and injustice.

McKehna said she was passionate about the issues as a result of various travel experiences. “I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Mexico twice, Brazil, and most recently Kenya,” McKehna said. “In Kenya we went to the slums one day and that was such an eye-opening experience."


McKehna will travel to Boston, Mass., for one week this summer for a training program. The program will teach the students about the Oxfam Organization and help them learn how to start their own programs on their campuses.

“I think it will be really cool to meet with other people all across the U.S. because there’s only 50 of us total coming together,” McKehna said. “I’m looking forward to hearing their experiences and what they’re passionate about and learning how I can take what I thought would only be a passion when I went on mission trips, and apply it and make it a daily thing.”

McKehna said her ultimate goal was to start an Oxfam Organization on Doane’s campus. “I would love to have one established before I graduate,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s definitely going to be worth it.”

McKehna said the first step would be to spread awareness about global poverty issues on campus. “The first couple years are just raising awareness and focusing on that, even as a small campus, we can make a big difference in the world,” McKehna said. “It doesn’t have to be just in Crete, Nebraska, but we really can make a difference across the whole world.”

McKehna said global poverty was an important issue that students had the power to change. “These people did not choose to be this way. They were born into it at most times,” she said. “I’m so passionate about it because I know that we can make a difference, especially as Americans when we are so fortunate and so blessed in comparison to those countries.”