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The Passionate President

News Story

Kappa Delta Pi President Kealy Costigan ’20 has a passion for advocacy work. She’s pursuing a dual degree in childhood education (undergrad) and special education (master’s), hoping to create a safe space for ALL her future students.

Kealy Costigan ’20 has worn many hats since she first came to Pace. From president of Kappa Delta Pi to secretary of the HeForShe Pace chapter to a Vote Everywhere ambassador for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, she has dedicated so much of her time and efforts to public advocacy work. “I never expected I would be on executive boards and leadership positions when I came to Pace,” Costigan confessed. “I knew what my passions were, but [here], I figured out ways to act on them.”

Part of that came from her involvement with POWER (Partnership for Women Empowerment and Respect), a student organization on the PLV Campus working to promote intersectional feminism through weekly discussions, activism, advocacy, and education. “At POWER, I gained the confidence to try new things,” Costigan told us. It motivated her to pursue leadership positions like with Kappa Delta Pi, where she truly came into her own as a peer leader. “Being president [...] allows me to combine my passions for service and education. I am motivated to give back because I believe in paying it forward.”

Not only will Costigan be receiving an undergraduate degree in childhood education in a few days, she will also complete her master’s in special education in May 2021 thanks to Pace’s five-year program. It’s one of the many reasons why she decided to attend the School of Education. “I liked that they [have] you in the classroom doing fieldwork as a freshman,” she went on, explaining that she has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember.

And Costigan has big dreams about her future as an educator. “Every teacher I had has led me to be where I am today,” she told us. “I love working with children and I also recognize that teaching shapes the future. I want to teach my students and empower them to do what’s right for themselves, their communities, and the world.” And she’s seen quite a bit of the world, too! Costigan studied abroad twice in her time at Pace—once in Italy, and one in Ecuador. “I cannot put into words what I learned, but I carry that experience and those kids in my heart every day,” she enthused.

For all her passion and dedication to her students, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Costigan is also excited about creating, as she says, “safe, inclusive environments” that support the needs of all her students. To that end, Costigan has worked diligently to raise awareness about children with learning differences, and in particular, children with Autism. “In high school, I had a teacher whose room I could always be myself in. That is the environment I want to create,” she told us. “Safe classrooms are important because some students will only find safety at school, [and] people learn more when they feel safe to be themselves.”

Currently, Costigan works at AHRC Nassau, a nonprofit agency supporting people with intellectual and developmental differences. “My job is a lot of fun,” she said. “I take people into the community to do things that interest them. It has taught me to see past labels and reminded me of the importance of inclusivity in society and in the classroom.”

We want to offer a very warm congratulations to Costigan for her upcoming graduation! We’re excited about her continued studies here come the fall, and all the lives she will surely change in the years to come.

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