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@State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

Never Holding Back

photo of Mariah KellyAS Vice President of Financial Affairs Mariah Kelly Motivated to Serve

There's no stopping the dynamic Mariah Kelly.

One of Associated Students' five executive officers, the Vice President of Financial Affairs chose to run for office because she saw the need for even greater diversity in the organization.

"I saw a need that I could meet in AS," Kelly said. "Even though AS is extremely diverse already, I thought there was another perspective I could contribute. It was as if all of my previous leadership experiences came together to this push me toward this position."

Kelly, a business management major and English minor, is no stranger to getting involved with organizations she believes in. Operating under the motto of doing anything and everything you can to get involved in campus life, Kelly has served in leadership positions for organizations including the Afrikan Student Union, Rotaract and the KO Hip Hop Dance Team, of which she is a founding member.

A dancer at heart, Kelly said her Vice Presidency is worthwhile and fulfilling, but has not come without sacrifices, including reducing her involvement with the KO team.

"I wish I could dance with them still," Kelly said wistfully. "I still am very close to the team and do what I can to support them, but I miss having the time to dance."

Dancing and cheerleading are just some of the activities Kelly chose in the past to connect her to campus life, even before San Diego State. She said it was those activities, as well as mentorship from key individuals around campus, that helped her recognize getting involved at SDSU was a must.

She hopes people across campus can recognize the dedication of the AS officers to their work. Kelly added that the executive team never forgets they are in their jobs to serve something bigger than just themselves or the groups with which they identify.

"We put so much time into researching things because we care about what we're doing," she said. "Working for the students has required real and true sacrifice, but it is so worth it in the end."

Facing challenges and making tough choices is not new for Kelly, who grew up in Compton in a single-parent home. She said there were times prior to, and when she first entered college, where she felt like all she heard was the word "no." Despite that feeling, she didn't give up. She said she continues to take risks, doesn’t let obstacles stop her and keeps in mind that there is a greater plan in the works. That attitude, and the risks she took, paid off.

"Do any and every thing you can in life to achieve your goals," Kelly said. "Don't hold back, ever."

Kelly encourages students to find ways outside of going to class to connect to campus. She said the most transformative experiences for her in college have happened outside the classroom.

"My highest highs and lowest lows have been on this campus,” she said. “I've learned so much about myself and I wouldn't change that for anything."