Kelsey Chase McFaul

Mentor and Tutor for CityYear Sacramento

Davis, California

Class of 2015, English and Political Science majors


McFaul is currently a mentor and tutor in St. Hope Public Schools in Sacramento, California, through the Americorp program CityYear. She chose to spend a year giving back because she has been fortunate to have wonderful teachers and parents who invested in her education, and she wants to play a similar role for her students. She also realizes that the opportunities she was afforded are not available to everyone, and she wants to play an active role in dismantling the systems that determine educational opportunities by zip code and race.

How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?

As a person of faith, I was encouraged to do the hard things, to be the hands and feet of Jesus in uncomfortable and unconventional places (the places he sought out), and to live for a cause greater than myself. I was challenged to acknowledge and then give up my privilege, all the while serving as an advocate and ally for those who were underrepresented. Having spent a year in graduate school at Stanford, choosing CityYear was a conscious choice to act on the values and model SPU cast for me, even if it didn’t always realize it. It was at SPU that I began to develop the conviction and courage to do and ask unconventional things and had peers and mentors who modeled these choices for me. I would not be serving where I am without the perspective I began to develop at SPU, that changing the world often meant starting small, giving up comfort and prestige, and having radical faith.

Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?

Dr. Tom Amorose was my academic and honors project advisor and has been an invaluable support through my time at SPU and beyond. When I was a student, he would sit for hours discussing literature and its connections to life with me, and took the risk to branch out into territory he didn’t know — African fiction. He also wrote my graduate school recommendations and continues to check up on me.

What advice would you give to current SPU students?

Reach for opportunities, apply for jobs and degrees, take chances you think seem crazy — you are more prepared than you think as a scholar, a person of faith, and an empathetic human.