Senior Spotlight: Maggie Kusar


Maggie Kusar.

She has done it all.

From being in the Honors program to singing in choir, copy editing for the Decurtarian to participating in Gregory’s tap dance group. She has quite literally taken advantage of every opportunity possible in her undergraduate years at Millikin.

And she has thrived.

Originally a Theatre major, Kusar came to Millikin on recommendation from a student she met during a community theatre show; “‘If you’re thinking about theatre for college, you should check out Millikin.’”

However, after only three semesters in the program, Kusar realized that theatre wasn’t for her.

“I loved theatre, but I didn’t want to do it for a career.” Kusar knew that she wouldn’t be able to survive in the industry while remaining true to herself and her values.

And thus began her journey, as Dr. Magagna would say, “to the dark side.”

Kusar has always been a good writer, and yet regardless of that, never wanted to publish her own work. Instead, she found herself gravitating toward the publishing and editing side of the English major.

While working an internship with Dr. Bates editing Decatur Magazine and Rhetoric Review, the skills gleaned from those experiences truly opened up opportunities Kusar hadn’t realized were possible in the English field.

With this newfound love of editing, she took her recently acquired skills and ran with them. And they have continued blossoming ever since.

Kusar’s copy editing repertoire doesn’t stop with magazines, though. In her last semester as an undergraduate, she has stepped up to work for the Decurtarian, Millikin’s student run newspaper, as both a copyeditor and a writer. She is also co-editor of Critical Storytelling Through the Pandemic, a student-edited and written anthology, and has spent dozens of hours thoroughly reading through every submission, ordering the pieces to tell a story, all while taking great care to keep the voice of the writer forefront within each piece.

Kusar also has worked as a tutor in the Writing Center for three years, helping countless students find their confidence and voice by providing constructive feedback and posing thoughtful questions to problems that students encounter in the writing process.

One of her favorite projects she worked on at Millikin was editing a fellow student’s screenplay.

“It was for their capstone.” Kusar said. “It was different editing than I had been doing. It was more plot development and character-focused, rather than grammatical line editing or copy editing.”

She loved working alongside the writer, making certain that the characters were consistent throughout the screenplay and the plot made sense.

It was more developmental and creative; feeding into her past as someone who loved theatre, and she was able to incorporate her previous knowledge of it into the project.

“It made me realize that this is what I wanted to do.” Kusar said. “This is the field that I am happy in. This is the work I love doing.”

Not everyone has the opportunity to find what they have a passion for, let alone be able to make a living off of it. Fortunately for Kusar, her dream is to work in the publishing and editing industry. Specifically working alongside conservative companies with journalism as their specialty. And her prospects are looking bright.

“Writer-editor looks like it’s going to be a probable position in my future.” Kusar is more than excited to take on new opportunities and continue to grow as an individual through them.

“You always have more to learn.” Kusar said. “So ask the questions. Talk to people who have been in the profession longer than you have. Be willing to learn something new.”

Kusar fondly remembers when she was an amateur working in Blue Satellite Press, observing the upperclassmen and thinking about how experienced they were working with the letter press.

“I would look at the seniors and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, they know so much.’” Kusar said. “‘I want to be able to do that.’”

Working on printing notebooks for the Center for Entrepreneurship, Kusar realized that instead of looking up to her peers for guidance, she was the one who was the guide. The one setting the example. The cool upperclassman that she had once looked up to.

She was the leader, now.

“I realized that I had made it to that point.” Kusar said. It made her inexplicably happy to see how far she had come in such a short amount of time: from being the wide-eyed apprentice to a knowledgeable mentor.

Kusar has learned a lot over the past four years. Her willingness to step out of her comfort zone, take on new opportunities that come her way, and reap the benefits from those experiences has shaped her into an incredibly versatile and well-rounded person.

She has gained confidence in both her belief system and voice as an individual, and is no longer scared to speak out about what matters to her.

“People are going to hate me either way.” Kusar said. “So I might as well be true to my values and true to who I am as a person.”