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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Special honor caps college career

Sunday, November 4, 2012

John and Micky are pictured with Shirley Raines, University of Memphis president, after being announced Mr. and Ms. University of Memphis.
(Submitted photo)
Micky Pietkiewicz, a 2009 graduate of Shelbyville Central High School and former Times-Gazette intern, was recently named Ms. University of Memphis. Each year, two seniors are selected for the honor of Mr. and Ms. University of Memphis after a lengthy application process.

Active students who are very involved with on-campus organizations apply for the title, and based on the applications, a committee uses a rubric to select the top five female and top five male finalists. From that point, each finalist has an interview with the committee, and the male and female finalist are selected based on those interviews.

John Stevenson and Micky Pietkiewicz -- Mr. and Ms. University of Memphis.
(Submitted photo)

"As a very involved high school student, I knew that I wanted to be involved in college," said Micky. "My sister, Kelly, went to the University of Memphis and became involved with several student organizations and based on the amazing experience she had, I knew I wanted to become involved with several of the same organizations."

As a freshman, Micky decided she wanted to become involved with Greek life. She joined Alpha Gamma Delta and has been extensively involved with the chapter ever since. She also became involved with Up 'til Dawn, a philanthropic organization that supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and has served on its executive board for three years. She's passionate about St. Jude and the Memphis community.

The list of other student activities and organizations in which Micky is involved is endless.

Micky does all this while maintaining a strong GPA (she's on the Dean's list), which is one of the conditions of the scholarship she received as a freshman.

Longtime dream

When Micky was a freshman, several women in her sorority were chosen to be finalists for Miss University of Memphis, and since then, Micky knew that she would love to someday be honored as a finalist.

"My older sister, Kelly, was also chosen as a finalist for Miss University of Memphis and made a huge impact on our campus' Up 'til Dawn program as the Executive Director," she said. "I have always thought that it would be awesome to be named Miss University of Memphis, but I never thought that I would actually receive the title.

"I love staying busy and being connected with people on campus and being a part of the campus environment, but I've always done those things because I love my campus and I want to make an impact."

Up 'til Dawn

Micky says she's especially passionate about her work with Up 'til Dawn and would someday like to work for the organization.

"Throughout my involvement with Up til Dawn, I have become extremely passionate about supporting St. Jude," she said. "The hospital not only provides free treatment for cancer patients 18 and under, but the doctors at the hospital also conduct research and share their results with doctors across the world ...

Micky spends a moment with her family, dad Bill, mom Miriam and sister Kelly, before the halftime presentation.
(Submitted photo)
"I have always been taught how important giving back to your community is, but I did not truly understand the importance of it until I came to college and became actively involved in the community. It is an awesome feeling to be able to give back and see how your work pays off."

Micky, who has studied various aspects of the communications field, hopes to one day work in public relations. Last week, following the award, she spoke of her time at the Times-Gazette.

T-G experience

"My time at the T-G definitely helped me to be ahead of everyone else in my journalism courses," she said. "I remember when I was in the entry-level journalism course, I already knew all the terms that we were being taught and I already knew so many things that other students didn't.

"I already knew how to write a newspaper article, what a byline was, and how to write in the inverted-pyramid style. The T-G also prepared me for interaction with professionals and my professors. After being placed in a newsroom and actually reporting and writing stories, I felt like I already had experience that impressed many of my professors.

Kelly was a finalist for Ms. University of Memphis in 2010. She is now an admissions counselor for the University of Memphis Recruitment and Orientation Office.
(Submitted photo)
"I also learned a lot about how to interact with co-workers and that helped me to interact with my peers in the classroom. Many college students have not had the experience they need with professionals when they enter college. As an intern at the T-G, I learned how to speak with professionals, how to email with professionals, how to interact with professionals, and that has helped me tremendously as a college student."

Big step ahead

Micky will graduate in December 2012. She admits she is not looking forward to that day.

"Not because I am not prepared, but because I have had such an amazing experience at the U of M that I am not ready for it to be over," she said.

Micky is the daughter of Bill and Miriam Pietkiewicz of Shelbyville. John Stevenson and Micky Pietkiewicz -- Mr. and Ms. University of Memphis.

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