Mikayla McClanahan

Photo of Mikayla “Mickey” McClanahan
Class of 2020
Major: Government & Foreign Affairs and Philosophy

April 2020 did not mark the end of academic or athletic pursuits for Walsh University alumna Mikayla “Mickey” McClanahan. If all goes well, she plans to continue her studies with graduate school at Durham University in England where she will also continue her athletic career on a semi-professional soccer team. Mickey will study Politics of International Relations with a focus in International Organizations. 

Originally, from Franklin, Ohio, Mickey joined Walsh as a Biology Pre-Med major before finding a new direction that more aligned with her professional passions. One of the hallmarks of a Walsh education is helping students discover their life’s purpose. Mickey found hers in government, foreign affairs and philosophy through her experiences as a Blouin Global Scholar. 

“Something else was calling my name and I changed my major to GFA/Philosophy. I loved policy, philosophy, lobbying, working with government officials, and working with people,” said Mickey. “I ended up graduating in April with a double major in Government and Foreign Affairs and Philosophy with a minor in Medical Humanities and Biology. I had a multitude of professors who always made sure I believed in myself and supported my exploration of happiness. I’m grateful to have had this time to learn, believe, and understand my passions and myself.” 

As a Blouin Global Scholar, Mickey traveled to Rome and Tanzania where she was able to explore different areas of the international law and regulation. During her sophomore and junior years, she received two scholarships to travel to Washington, D.C., to attend the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. There, she was able to network with prominent national hunger fighting advocates and Hill lobbyists including Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Rob Portman, Senator Bernie Sanders, and a multitude of Ohio's Representatives. 

Mickey was co-founder and President of the Walsh College Democrats club and was instrumental in organizing a bipartisan gun control debate on campus. She also co-ran the Student Get Out and Vote Campaign, registering over 50 students to vote. She served as the Senate Clerk and sat on the Executive Board of Student Government, attending and logging all meetings as well as making major university student-based decisions. 

In addition, Mickey found time to play a little soccer as goalkeeper for the record-setting Cavalier women’s soccer team, who among their many accomplishments, earned finalist status for the NCAA 2020 Division II Award of Excellence three out of the past four years. Team milestones included the G-MAC Tournament Championship and competing in their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Overall, the Walsh Cavaliers women's soccer team finished the 2019-20 season with a 16-5 record, setting the program mark for most wins in a season. Mickey started all 19 games for the Cavaliers to help lead them to their best season in program history. Her accomplishments led to recognition as a two-time G-MAC Defensive Player of the Week.

“The first time I visited Walsh, I had not been on campus for more than 25 minutes when I felt so unbelievably at home,” said Mickey. “I knew that I belonged there. Walsh gave me such a family atmosphere. Coming from a Catholic high school, going to a Catholic University where I could keep playing the sport I loved certainly made my decision easy.” 

Among her future pursuits was the Peace Corps. Through Walsh’s Peace Corps Prep Program, Mickey earned her Peace Corps Prep Certificate and participated in several field trips to learn firsthand about the social outreach opportunities. Ultimately, she passed on joining in order to pursue her graduate degree overseas as a member of an international soccer team. 

“Through the organization Play Overseas, I received the opportunity to join a semi-professional team linked to Durham University,” said Mickey. “I may not be joining the Peace Corps, but I’m grateful that I had phenomenal coaches, athletic support staff, faculty members and the Career Readiness & Development Center who encouraged me to explore every single opportunity available while helping me with all of my application processes.” 

After graduate school, Mickey plans to work in the field of international law. She plans to continue her studies in law school and become a Foreign Service Officer before moving into a government position, possibly with the United Nations or as a Special Counsel to the President on European Relations. 

“Walsh gave me a platform to stand up for my beliefs and find my happiness,” said Mickey. “Faculty challenged me to question the things that I was passionate about, which ultimately led me to translate my passion into a possible career. I credit Walsh as the reason I have the courage to pursue my dreams and make them a reality.”