Wendy Oduor, Miss Kenya USA and a 2014 Saint Mary’s alumna, spoke to the importance of relationship-building and mental health in her keynote speech at the annual Martin Luther King dinner Wednesday night in Rice Commons.Miss Kenya USA is an annual pageant held in Houston, Texas. According to its website, the organization pairs contestants with organizations working to combat inequalities Kenya and the U.S.Though she holds degrees in biology and psychology, Oudor currently works in fashion in New York City. After graduation, Oduor spent time at home working in the medical industry before making the decision to apply to the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan.“My acceptance to Parsons was a green light from God,” Oduor said.Taking this sign, Oduor packed her bags and moved to the Big Apple.Oduor attributes her four years at Saint Mary’s as the foundation for what she has accomplished today.“If you were to ask me four years ago, I would have told you that my degree from Saint Mary’s was a waste because I was not directly using the biology or psychology — but today, I know that it is so much more than that,” she said.She said returning to campus and speaking to a new generation of Belles was a meaningful experience for her.“Being back on campus is so surreal, it is a truly humbling experience,” Oduor said. “The fact that I am able to be here tonight is a testament that God is a man of his words.”Oduor said she urges current Saint Mary’s students to curate relationships, whether it be the girl you pass in the hall or your future bridesmaid.“It is so important to make time for relationships,” Oduor said. “It doesn’t matter how close you are or not, [if] you don’t know what they are going to be doing one year [or] five years from now and how that could benefit you.”Odour said this mindset helped her maintain a years-long relationship with Interim President Nancy Nekvasil, a longstanding Saint Mary’s biology professor.After losing her brother to suicide during her senior year, Oduor became an outspoken mental health advocate.”I use a lot of the psychology that I learned at Saint Mary’s in the work that I do surrounding mental health advocacy,” she said. ”Acknowledging the grief allowed me to heal and move forward and establish where I am today.”In addition to speaking at social events, Oduor utilizes Instagram as a platform to share stories and engage with her followers about mental health. She hosts weekly Mental Health Monday livestreams to spread awareness of the issue.Oduor said she places a high value on finding and pursuing ones’ passions.“It is God’s version of my vision. I would not have been able to heal if I did not find my purpose and allow God to work through me,” she said. “Passion is for you, purpose is for others. God gives us the tools to turn our passions into our purpose.”Tags: Martin Luther king dinner, Miss Kenya USA
Press Association Cameron was facing a three-match suspension having been sent off for violent conduct by referee Lee Mason after pushing Claudio Yacob in the back of the neck during the Barclays Premier League game at the Hawthorns. But the Potters announced on Monday they were appealing, and a subsequent statement from the Football Association said: “Geoff Cameron has had his three-match suspension withdrawn with immediate effect after his wrongful dismissal claim was successful. “An Independent Regulatory Commission found that the match referee had made an obvious error in dismissing the Stoke City player for violent conduct during the game against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.” Cameron is now available for Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool at home. The 30-year-old United States international had walked in the final 10 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat after he responded with the push on Yacob to a challenge from the Albion midfielder. Stoke boss Mark Hughes said in his post-match comments that he felt the Baggies man over-reacted to ensure the visitors were left with 10 men. And before the news of the appeal being successful came through, Hughes added on Monday: “We thought he (Cameron) was a little bit hard done by. “We think Yacob made a meal of it and was hoping there would be a sanction for Geoff. We didn’t feel it warranted a red card. “Having seen the incident back again, we weren’t quite sure the referee got a clear view of it because there were people in his way. “I felt a couple of the West Brom players didn’t cover themselves in glory to be honest. “From our point of view, yes, there are certain situations where you have to be careful and you don’t react to them, but then you also have to hope the referee sees it for what it is.” Stoke have been successful in their appeal against the red card Geoff Cameron received in the defeat at West Brom on Saturday.