For those who have met Washington University in St. Louis senior Tammy Shirley, it is difficult to avoid feeling inspired by her positivity, energy and focused passion for serving others. A native of St. Charles, Missouri, Tammy got involved in service during high school as a member of the Volunteer Knights and through her school’s Community Service Learning Program, in which she spent hours restocking linens and transporting patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
As a freshman at WUSTL, Tammy spent her first spring break helping refurbish a miniature golf course for a YMCA children’s day camp in Jackson, Mississippi. As a sophomore, Tammy was active in the Lock & Chain Sophomore Service Honorary. Later that year, she mentored a 12-year-old boy through Discovering Options, a local organization that provides at-risk students with supportive and life-enriching programs to prevent drug abuse. As Philanthropy Chair of her sorority during her junior year, Tammy coordinated their annual Kappa Karaoke competition, raising over $2,000 and collecting more than 1,300 children’s books for Lydia’s House, a long-term shelter for abused women and their families.
Tammy’s most impressive contributions to the St. Louis community have been with the St. Louis Area Dance Marathon (DM), a 12-hour student-run dance-a-thon which culminates a yearlong fundraising and awareness campaign for the Children’s Miracle Network of Greater St. Louis (CMN). With Tammy as Executive Director, DM 2006 achieved a stature of organization, professionalism, enthusiasm and innovation rarely seen for a student group. Their spring event attracted 800 participants and raised over $120,000 for CMN to support operations at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center.
Following graduation, Tammy plans to spend the next two years teaching at an underprivileged high school in Los Angeles through Teach For America. Afterward, Tammy will begin medical school to pursue a career in pediatrics. In describing Tammy’s personality, one of her nominators, WUSTL senior Lorin Kline, writes, “She would want you to think that she’s just like everyone else. The irony of the situation though, is that Tammy will never be like everyone else, no matter how much she wants to be. She will always stand out and shine for her caring personality, compassionate heart, ability to inspire and undying commitment to helping everyone around her…Tammy makes me want to make a difference, and after seeing everything she’s done, she makes me feel like I can.”