Student Uses Photography for Philanthropy

Mickie MacNicol is a senior Nursing major at Penn State Behrend

Mickie MacNicol is a senior Nursing major at Penn State Behrend

Credit: Penn State Behrend

Mickie MacNicol, a senior Nursing major, grew up in an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she witnessed extreme poverty on a daily basis.

“People struggling with hunger was a real, everyday thing,” she said. “Children came to school hungry, and homelessness was common throughout the town.”

MacNicol counts herself lucky to have had a home and regular meals.

“I feel super blessed because at the orphanage, there was always food, and we were able to get an education,” said MacNicol, whose parents died when she was young. “When I was 15, I was adopted by a family from Pennsylvania and my family has given me so many opportunities to make my dreams come true. They did not have to accept me, but they treated me like one of their own children. Because of that, I believe strongly in giving back.”

MacNicol, a talented photographer, found a way to do just that—give back—this spring when she offered all graduating students a senior photo shoot in exchange for donations to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

“I love photography, and this was a way I could use my talent to help people who are in need and hungry,” MacNicol said. “Also, it’s a chance for students to get senior portraits while giving back to the community.”

MacNicol said the project exceeded her expectations. “I was able to raise more than $600 from a total of fourteen photo sessions. I definitely plan on doing it again next year.”

After her graduation in spring 2018, MacNicol would like to hone her nursing skills in the United States before returning to Haiti to serve her native country.

“Everyone has talents,” she said. “I believe in using your talents for the good of your community.”