Associate Professor of Psychology
Coming from a small Canadian town with a population of only 5,500, Dr. Angie MacKewn continually is motivated to work toward the betterment of the UT Martin community by performing two important tasks for the campus: recycling and teaching. These two passions keep her motivated throughout her everyday life.
“My heart flutters when I see the light bulb flicker and suddenly turn on. I don't mean droll faces nodding at me on a Monday morning at 9 a.m. but when students challenge me and really do critical thinking, especially things I never thought of. I have no qualms about saying, ‘Wow, that is great; I never considered that’.”
MacKewn, an associate professor of psychology, especially enjoys teaching her research methods and health psychology courses. “I really like teaching health because I consider myself a health researcher and try to live a healthy life, and our bodies are one giant science experiment.”
With a doctorate in brain, behavior and cognitive sciences from York University, MacKewn initially chose UT Martin because a map of the campus said it had it’s own recycling facility. “I was ecstatic. I met Dennis Kosta, and everything has grown ten-fold since then. He is a real inspiration and like a ‘recycling icon’ father figure for me.”
Dennis Kosta, manager of custodial services, Dr. Heidi Huse, assistant professor of English, and MacKewn are the co-coordinators for UTM Recycles! on campus. The organization works to secure money to coordinate events to increase awareness throughout the community. UTM Recycles! hosts events and activities at the Soybean Festival, City of Martin Picnic and Student Organization Fair, during Earth Week, Sustainability Week and Recyclemania, a 10-week competition for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. They also just received the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Higher Education in the state of Tennessee.
MacKewn works with Huse as part of UT Martin Growing Gardens, a project to create and maintain several herb and vegetable gardens on the UT Martin campus for use by students. She also works with injured or stray cats to get them spayed or neutered and find them new homes.
All of her efforts earned her a 2010 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award, given to higher education individuals who represent the many dimensions of community service through volunteer work and public service.
MacKewn has been recycling since she was a child. She was able to pay for her own schooling through recycling, collecting cans, bottles and pulling parts off her grandpa’s car in the backyard. When she began researching, she was floored by what she discovered. “I think that one person can make a huge difference and if not me, then who? If not now, then when? I want to give back to the community.”
MacKewn has several ideas in mind to help reduce waste in Martin and the surrounding area. “I want to develop a conveyor belt computerized pick system where our materials get sorted out automatically. Wastes would be greatly reduced and recycling efforts would jack up. I want to sell this to Martin and surrounding towns to bring their garbage stuff too and drastically reduce landfill being filled up with materials that are recyclable. Last year, in cardboard alone, we recycled 40 tons. This converts to 120 yards of landfill space being saved.”
MacKewn not only works for the UT Martin community, but she is also taking her efforts to international locations. She is currently trying to get a recycling/alternative energy program started in a remote village in southern Belize. “I am so stoked about this expansion, not just because I get to do something I love, but because the village is excited about it and UTM could play a role in changing their lives forever.”
MacKewn has helped further promote the recycling efforts here at UT Martin, and she is looking forward to even more of a change for the future. “I have no complaints about our progress, although I would like to push for more and more.
|WINS TOP AWARD - UTM Recycles! received the 2011 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award for Green Schools in the higher education category. Pictured are Bob Martineau, Tennessee environment and conservation commissioner; Jason Russell, UT Martin recycling coordinator; Dennis Kosta, custodial services manager; Dr. Angie MacKewn and Dr. Heidi Huse, UT Martin faculty members and co-coordinators for UTM Recycles! and Claude Ramsey, deputy governor.|