A servant’s journey
From supporting hurricane victims along the Gulf Coast to acting as a goodwill ambassador to Great Britain, Margaret Bagwell’s journey reflects her passion for service.
In 2006, Margaret Bagwell graduated from LaGrange. Inspired by the College’s Servant-Leadership program, she devoted the next two years of her life to ministry as a US2 missionary for the United Methodist Church.
“I went to Baldwin, La., which is on the Gulf coast where they have lots of hurricanes,” she says.
Many nearby homes had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Margaret’s assignment was to help with housing rehabilitation.
“I never thought that I would be inspecting buildings for work that needed to be done, but that’s what I did,” she says.
“I also helped run a monthly food program for elderly people and single mothers, and got a lot of other really great programs started in the area.”
In fact, she has a gift for starting service programs. While a student at LaGrange, she launched FRISBEE (Friendly Recycling Initiative by Students Becoming Environmentally Empowered), which is still going strong today on campus.
She credits history professors Dr. Joe Cafaro and Dr. Kevin Shirley for challenging her to work hard during her undergraduate years in preparation for attending graduate school.
At the end of her two-year ministry, Margaret applied for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.
“It was something Dr. Cafaro had encouraged me to do when I was a senior at LaGrange,” she says.
The purpose of Rotary’s Ambassadorial Scholarships is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries.
Margaret’s scholarship enabled her to study for a master’s degree at the University of Bristol in Bristol, England. While there, she studied archeology.
“I’d never had a class in archeology, but I did feel really prepared for it because I knew how to execute research based on the undergraduate research project I did at LaGrange.
“It helped that I knew how to write well, too,” she says. “As a history major at the College, you write all the time, so that provided a really good foundation for graduate school.”
“I’d always wanted to be an archeologist ever since I was 8 years old. It was like a childhood dream coming true, and being abroad just made it all the more exciting,” she says.
What’s next for Margaret?
“I’ve been accepted to Wesley Seminary at American University in Washington, D.C., where I plan to earn double master’s degrees in Theological Studies and International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
“The service component of the educational program at LaGrange inspired my passion for service to the poor. So that’s what I’d like to do in the long-term, but I feel like I need a little more school so that I’m ready for the non-profit world.”