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Meet Madeline Coffey


“Something my peers may not know about me is that my family has lived in the same town for more than six generations, on the same land, and I am the first member of my family to move away for school,” says Madeline Coffey. “I want to be the kind of person who can look back on any stage of my life and remember the person I was rather than the things that I did; spending time with the people I love is the best way for me to accomplish that goal.”

What book has been influential in your life and why?
“Humanity’s Footprint,” by Walter K. Dodds, sparked a fire in me like nothing that I had ever experienced before. This book motivated me to start a campaign within my community to raise awareness about the environment. Over the course of one academic year, I spoke with more than 20 groups about environmental issues as well as how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Speaking out for a cause that I felt was very important was one of my most valuable life experiences, and this book started it all!

If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
I would travel to the 1950s or 60s to experience the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. I think that the movement really was the beginning of our cultural acceptance of diversity more so than ever before. It would be amazing to say that I fought for a change.

Is there a particular student group you’re planning to join? 
I’m looking forward to joining the Student Environmental Action Coalition because environmental awareness is a cause that is so important to me. However, I really want to try something this year that I’ve never done before.

Why are you and Wake Forest a good match?
I was drawn to Wake Forest because of the motto Pro Humanitate. Serving the community around me has always been a priority, and I love that Wake Forest empowers students to do that. This school realizes that education isn’t just about obtaining knowledge, it’s about becoming a person who has the ability to take that knowledge and turn it into something that can benefit others.

Could you share one of the challenges you’ve had to overcome in your life?
I grew up in a small town where intolerance for diversity is a major issue, however, I fought this epidemic. I refused to be silenced because I wasn’t the same as everyone else, and I ended up becoming the best person that I could ever be because of that experience. I’m actually thankful that I was able to stand up and stand out – it made me who I am today.

What is it that most excites you about the journey you’re about to begin?
More than anything, I’m excited that soon I’ll be in a setting with people who challenge me on a daily basis. Wake Forest is a great place to learn from the people around you and to be pushed to step outside of your comfort zone, and I can’t wait for that to happen!

Imagine yourself in four years at graduation. What will you be thinking?
I hope that I’ll be anticipating the next chapter in my life. However, I’m confident that I’ll be thinking of all of the wonderful opportunities I had during my time spent at Wake Forest. I’m not sure what adventures I’ll embark on quite yet, but I know that at graduation, I’ll have some amazing moments to look back on.