Hillel of Buffalo welcomed Macie Clawson as the newly hired Springboard Innovation Specialist to Buffalo this past Monday!
A recent graduate of the University of Kansas, Macie was an active leader at KU Hillel and brings to this position a passion for student engagement, social justice, and education.
Macie earned a BA in 2020, with a double major in Political Science and Jewish Studies, and received an Honors Certificate. She spent a semester abroad studying at Tel Aviv University. Deeply involved in campus life, Macie served as a KU Hillel intern for three years and was a member of the Dole Institute of Politics Student Advisory Board and the KU Arabic Club.
The Springboard Fellowship is a Hillel International program that recruits innovative and talented young professionals, provides hands-on training and mentorship and deploys them to campus Hillels for two years. The Fellowship comes with a stipend from Hillel International to cover a significant portion of the Fellow’s salary, and all Fellows receive extensive training and coaching.
As the Springboard Innovation Specialist, Macie will strive to increase student engagement by supporting students in the creation of new initiatives in their areas of academic and personal interest. With a focus on engaging students from a variety of backgrounds, Macie will support Hillel’s mission of helping every Jewish student to connect in their own way. Macie will also play a role in Hillel’s marketing and public relations and will help Buffalo students to engage in the local community. In this unusual year with limitations that complicate Hillel’s usual forms of gatherings, Macie’s focus on innovation will develop new ways for students to connect with one another and bring Judaism into their college experiences.
Most importantly, Macie will build relationships with students on campus and will serve as a person they can turn to for support. Her Hillel experience at KU offers her a roadmap for this role, as she reflects, “I look forward to taking the patience and empathy that was given to me and extend it to the students at UB Hillel so that they leave our doors knowing that they are encouraged back no matter what their story or background is.”
An aspect of Macie’s story that distinguishes her from other Jewish professionals is that she was largely disconnected from Judaism when she arrived in college. Through her Hillel experience, Macie embarked upon an unexpected journey of learning and finding her place in the Jewish community. The staff at KU Hillel welcomed her and encouraged her to wrestle with challenging Jewish ideas. As she puts it, “For so long when I first started going to Hillel, I didn’t know the customs, the songs, or even how to light a shabbat candle. Despite this I never felt like I didn’t belong at Hillel.” Macie is eager to pay forward her experience to Jewish students in Buffalo.
“Sadly, too many students shy away from Jewish life in college because they don’t see themselves as ‘Jewish enough,’” says Rabbi Sara Rich, Executive Director of Hillel of Buffalo. “Macie ’s personal story of finding her connection to Judaism while in college makes her a relatable role model for our students.”
Macie looks forward to meeting the students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community. As a marathon-runner and dog-lover, you might spot Macie in your neighborhood or on your favorite running path, potentially with a four-legged friend. To be in touch with Macie, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to Buffalo, Macie!