Volunteer of the Week: Mary O’Keeffe

Publication Date

By: Maura Driscoll '15

The Kenney Community Center’s Volunteer of the Week is Professor Mary O’Keeffe.

A public policy economist who teaches the College’s service-learning class, Eco 391: Income Tax Policy and Practice, as well as supervises the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, O’Keeffe has overseen IRS-certified student volunteers in preparing and filing free tax returns for low-income working families, senior citizens and disabled individuals in Schenectady.

O’Keeffe also contributes to the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) on campus and is the founding director of the Albany Area Math Circle, an effort that grew from her volunteer work in local public schools. She is co-organizer of the Math Prize for Girls at MIT, where she works with hundreds of enthusiastic young women in mathematics.

In May, O’Keeffe received the Kenney Center’s award for Outstanding Volunteer Service to Union College and the Schenectady Community. “We admire Mary O’Keeffe so much for the incredible dedication and desire to help the community in so many ways,” said Janet Sweeney, Kenney Center assistant director.

On Feb. 6, O'Keeffe will be hosting a luncheon talk at Messa House about her community math outreach work, focusing on the mathematical leadership and community collaborative opportunities that her math circle initiatives provide to young women. It is also the keynote talk for President Ainlay's annual Commission on the Status of Women meeting. For those interested, RSVPs can be sent to Professor Sheri Lullo at lullos@union.edu.