Maria Scheel '15
Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts

Maria Scheel '15 is not afraid of tough conversations. As a freshman, Scheel founded Be You, See Me, a service organization that continually transforms social challenges into opportunities for impactful dialogue by teaching at­-risk children in the community how to engage issues and discover collective solutions through art. Through the program, Scheel has taken on everything from animal cruelty, to self­-harm, to cyber­bullying and beyond, using the visual arts and improvisation to revolutionize how we speak to each other about what hurts the most. This year Scheel gained national recognition for her project and was commissioned to represent Be You, See Me at the Clinton Global Initiative University Summit. This occasioned a wider conversation on the need for more local chapters of social justice, art­ and­ dialogue programs and paved the way for potential partnerships across the world, including a sister program in Turkey. But for all the national attention, Scheel has not lost sight of her local community. She continues to build inroads in partnership with Loyola Marymount University Professor Norma Bowles with Fringe Benefits and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is also a faithful member of LMU’s sustainability and human trafficking service organization Espérer (“Women of Active Hope”) where she continues “to bring hope to those who may not have it.” In her work Scheel is sustained by the prestigious Riordan Community Service Award, funding that has allowed her to continue to improve her program syllabi and expand her outreach, looking, as she always has, for more conversations to change.