Nirmala Legale '22 is this year’s McKenna Scholarship winner. Established by President Emerita Margaret McKenna, the need-based, $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a sophomore from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to public service and leadership for social change. The scholarship is renewable if the student maintains a 3.0 GPA.
Legale, a counseling major and social work minor, says she became passionate about social and political subjects while volunteering with Medford Conversations in high school. Through that organization, she facilitated conversations with Medford, Massachusetts residents about race and belonging, cost of living and access to resources.
Continuing that work, Legale became vice president of the new Black Student Union this year, which she said exists “so that students of color have a safe space that allows us to process what happens within our communities and be able to advocate for ourselves.”
Looking ahead, Legale plans to work with children in the foster care system, citing the staggering number of those adolescents who end up in the criminal justice system.
“I want to provide mental health care for these children, as well as advocate for social reform in these systems outside of my practice,” she said.