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Kathryn Chiodo is one of Temple’s 2018 Diamond Award recipients. In this interview, Chiodo recounts the opportunities and experiences that helped earn her award and gives advice to students that are interested in applying.

What do you study within the College of Education?

I studied Human Development and Community Engagement with a concentration in Child Mental Health. 

What activities are you involved in at Temple?

While at Temple I served as a committee member on the High School Dance Marathon Committee for Temple’s Hoot-A-Thon. I also danced in the actual dance marathon my freshman and junior years.  Additionally, I was involved in intramural volleyball and basketball. I was a member of the College of Education’s Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and made Dean’s list in the spring of 2017 and the spring of 2018. I also held an internship at the Temple University Institute on Disabilities. Finally, I was founder and president of the student organization called Athletes Helping Athletes of Temple University. This organization hosted many individuals with special needs at various Temple athletic events. Our biggest event, Fun Day of 2018, hosted over 40 individuals with special needs, over 40 Temple athletes and over 40 student volunteers. 

What activities are you involved in outside of Temple?

Outside of Temple, I am an active staff member of a local non-profit called Athletes Helping Athletes, Inc. Other than that, I tried to balance school work as well as working twenty hours a week. 

What kind of service do you do within the community?

Athletes Helping Athletes, Inc. serves the local population with special needs. I volunteer at events outside of the Temple chapter bi-weekly. I also spent time at the Norris Community Center on 11th Street tutoring at the after school program. Prior to my senior year, I was involved with the organization called Autism Speaks and also served as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant at the Dunbar Elementary School on 12th street. 

What was the Diamond Award application process like for you?

The Diamond Award application process was done at my internship at the Institute on Disabilities. My site supervisor believed that I had so much potential to be an award winner that he dedicated one of my internship sessions to completing the application. The application took close to five hours altogether to complete. The application asked for an essay outlining my superior leadership, academic achievement, service to the University, as well as impact on the community. Prior to submitting the application, I had many peers review and edit my essay. I made sure that the application was absolutely pristine before sending to the selection committee. 

What does the Diamond Award mean to you?

The Diamond Award represents all of my hard work and dedication to being the best version of myself. These past four years of higher education has been an absolute roller coaster ride. There were many times where I doubted my abilities and lacked motivation to stay the course. Moving forward, this award will remind me to persevere even in the toughest and most trying times. When looking at the actual diamond award sitting on my dresser in my room, I will be reminded that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I will be reminded of how strong my abilities are and how bright my future is. The award will always remind me to never to give up. 

What do you plan on doing in the future?

Post graduation I have accepted a job as a registered behavioral technician in Newtown, Pennsylvania. In addition to working, I have enrolled at Bucks County Community College to finish prerequisites for graduate school. I will be applying to many different graduate institutions by the end of the summer. However, I hope to return to Temple University in 2019 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy.  Long term, I hope to practice OT specifically with individuals with special needs. 

Do you have any advice for education majors that would like to apply for the award?

My advice for education majors would be to get involved as much as time permits. I encourage education majors to browse OwlConnect for organizations that spark their interest. If there isn’t one, start your own! The College of Education offers so many opportunities to provide service to the North Philadelphia community. Take advantage of those opportunities. Above all, never doubt your abilities. Also strive to be the best version of yourself in all aspects of your life. 

Heather Goodman