2021 PDSA Recipient, Mary Culp

Mary Culp

Mary Culp

Zionsville, Indiana | Inclusive Special Education Major

When Mary Culp and many of her peer special education majors experienced disruption and inconsistency in their field placements at K12 schools around the area because of COVID, Mary didn’t throw up her hands. As one nominator wrote, she instead “saw an opportunity to serve her community and create her own learning experiences.” Although field placement requirements were waived, Mary continued working for her students, creating remote learning videos to help teachers and students’ families. As President-elect, then President of our Student Council for Exceptional Children, Mary wrote letters of encouragement and checked in on graduating peers and kept the organization active in a remote format in the past year. She has also been active with our Access Miami program, which creates an inclusive college experience for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Outside of work related to her major, Mary was involved throughout her Miami experience with Cru, a campus ministry. She most recently served as president, where she led the organization, and still coordinates a group of students who hold weekly hybrid small group meetings of well over 100 members. She’s a member of Chi Omega, and currently serves the entire Panhellenic sorority community as the director of ethics and values on the Panhellenic Council. Mary has also presented to our Bridges Scholars on art and activism through the lens of Freedom Summer. Another of Mary’s nominators captured her impact well, writing that “as a strong leader, she has been a role model for many of her peers at Miami.”