Danielle Onions (Middle)

Danielle Onions (Middle)

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

  • Intern, State Senator Kelly Kultala
  • Dean’s List, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011
  • Service Learning Certificate

How I became interested in my field of study:

I spent a year working with at-risk elementary and middle school students in the Chicago Public School system and realized that the trials they faced each and every day grew out of a cycle of poverty, violence, and inequality. It was a wake-up call that turned into a passion for advocacy.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me and why:

I was honored to be named the 2012 Outstanding Woman Student in Community Service last spring. I believe that communities benefit from citizens who are aware, active, and dedicated. If you’re not concerned with something, I don’t think you’re paying attention.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

It’s cliché to say your mother is your role model, but there’s no better answer. I was blessed with a mother who works hard, thinks creatively, and stands up for the right thing. She taught me that listening can be just as valuable as speaking and to “own” my mistakes.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:

If my advisor had stood by while I got in and out of the University as quickly as possible, skipped out on the “extras”, and stayed home instead of taking advantage of opportunities, I would have walked away with nothing more than a diploma. Thanks to Dr. Chris Wiles, I will leave KU with a wealth of experience, a list of achievements I never stopped to consider, and the knowledge that nothing is truly out of reach. I will forever be grateful for his persistence, patience, and refusal to allow me to settle for less than my potential.

My favorite KU memory:

I love the relationship between the campus and the community. Few things beat KU basketball, but seeing Bill Self in a pair of red high heels to raise awareness for domestic violence comes pretty close!

An important life lesson I have learned:

There are going to be people that disagree with you. You can ignore them, you can work around them, or you can work with them. Work with them.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

I do have a sister in college and I know she’s taught me more than I could ever teach her. I want her to know that she has a lot of people who look up to her – including me. I want her to remember that change happens when the right people take action and that being a leader means harnessing that important power.

A favorite quote or saying that is meaningful to me and why:

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!
– Sojourner Truth

This quote reminds me that rhetoric is nothing more than words intended for a purpose; yet it always has been and remains an incredibly powerful tool for instilling belief and inciting passion.