By Hannah LeGare ‘19
Margo DeKoch, a political science graduate from Texas A&M, is already a published author and known philanthropist in her local community in south Texas. The twist? She graduated last year.
While the twist is nothing short of a jaw-dropper, DeKoch remains humble in her accomplishments. For Margo DeKoch, it’s never been about what to think, but how to think. “Our view of the world is not incorrect, but incomplete,” she said. By this, DeKoch recognizes that she has a lot to learn from other cultures, people, and life experience.
And she sure has.
In 2015, DeKoch started a blog, MargswithMarge, as a way to share her funny and serious life stories. Many people told her she had a gift for storytelling, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later that she would make something more of it.
And even now, she isn’t telling people what to think, but how to think about her stories.
The gift of stories
After graduating from the Bush School of Government and Public Service with a MPSA in 2018, DeKoch taught abroad in Morocco for ten months, where she worked at an American Language Center teaching English as a Foreign Language. Immersed in a new culture, she wrote more stories about her adventures teaching and living in Morocco.
DeKoch decided to create a book with her compiled blog and Morocco-inspired stories called The Misadventures of Margo Marie. With the help of Metra Mehran, an Afghan friend through the Bush School, DeKoch learned that her book could support students across the world. Thus, the purpose of the book was born. The book raises money to pay for an Afghan student, Alia, to get a degree in nursing and supports the Tasahol Organization located in Kabul, Afghanistan. By early September, DeKoch hopes to raise $3,000 through donations and selling copies of her book for $10, a bright example of the Aggie core value of selfless service.
“It is my passion in helping women through education and health care,” said DeKoch. For her, this project combines what she cares about — philanthropy and women’s rights. The Tasahol Library and supporting Alia’s nursing degree are tangible ways that DeKoch fulfills her passions.
These interests were birthed out of her liberal arts degree. “My undergrad studies laid the foundation for what I am doing now,” said DeKoch. Various political science classes influenced her desire to learn more about her world and how she could positively impact it.
“I just want to inspire the next person,” DeKoch said. “I am a regular person who wanted to take my creative hobby and use it for a force of good.”
Digging deeper into her force of good
DeKoch’s purpose behind The Misadventures of Margo Marie is a force of good — and with every story, there’s a back story. In Alia’s home village, three pregnant women passed away due to complications during delivery. This spurned Alia to be a proponent for change and become a midwife through nursing school. Likewise, the Tasahol Organization helps students to further their education and provides a safe space for young students to study with access to the internet. DeKoch’s friendship with Mehran influenced her to give generously to students in Afghanistan. Mehran provided the idea and DeKoch provided the implementation.
DeKoch states that her humanitarian efforts have been benefited by what she studied in the liberal arts. It inspired the way she thinks and evaluates the world. “A liberal arts degree challenges you and forces you to grow,” said DeKoch. “You think about why you think the way you do. You dig deeper.” Her degree prepared her for extensive writing and reflective, critical thinking skills — helpful for her book.
As DeKoch digs deeper, she recognizes how these critical thinking skills benefit not only her storytelling but her future goals. After she lived in a foreign country, wrote a book, and returned to the U.S., she has a “newly lit” fire in her heart. She wants to apply what she has read, researched, and experienced. She asked herself: “What am I going to do about it now?”
Now she is resting in Corpus Christi, thinking about future projects while promoting The Misadventures of Margo Marie. DeKoch’s experience at Texas A&M led her to create projects that combined her interests and service to others. We can expect great, new adventures in store for Margo Marie.
On Sept. 1, 2022, the Department of Political Science became part of the Bush School of Government & Public Service.