INSPIRING WOMEN: Maryse Minnick Abrahams

Maryse Minnick Abrahams another wonderful Hamline connection. When we first because friends, Maryse told me that, before we knew each other, she pointed me out in a line to another student and said “I want to be friends with that girl!”. Well, speak it into existence, y’all! ;) The rest is history. Maryse is positive, passionate, strong, and stylish.

Maryse and I became connected in college and have remained in touch since. We had lots in common in terms of passions and involvement throughout school. Most notably, we attended a service learning trip to New Orleans together in 2009 and both worked for Residential Life as Assistant Area Coordinators in 2010-2011. I loved sharing the AAC experience with her as we both worked in separate areas of campus but were able to check in with and support each other. After college, we both went into Student Affairs fields and, straight out of Hamline, continued our work in housing and residence life.

Maryse is from Pine City, MN. She graduated from Hamline University in 2011 with a degree in English, specializing in creative writing and minor in Education and Communication.  Then, she worked at Syracuse University for a year before furthering her education at the University of St. Thomas where she earned a master’s degree in Leadership in Student Affairs. While at St. Thomas, she worked at our alma mater in transfer and orientation programs and for the wellness center at St. Thomas.

Currently Maryse works as a Membership Coordinator at University Recreation and Wellness at the University of Minnesota.  She loves her job!  She said she’s very, very happy – with life and work – which is wonderful! She lives with her partner, Aaron, their two cats, and their cockatiel in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis.  Maryse enjoy spending time with family, going to the movies, working her part time job at a brewery (yay for side hustles!), shopping, napping, doing yoga sculpt, and exploring her surroundings.

Maryse’s master's capstone project was "Positive Affirmation Vs. Negative Female Body Image: The Effect of Consistent and Reoccurring Affirmations on College Female's Body Image and Self-Worth". Um, amazing, right!? (I actually didn’t know this until Maryse shared this in her responses for this project!) She is interested in female college students and how they are impacted by positive affirmations.  She maintains that kind words can go a long way for people and really impact of a woman's view themselves and others.  Yes, yes, yes!

Maryse is doing important work. The idea of positive body image, self-love, and affirmation is not always present in the hearts and minds of folks who work in campus recreation. It’s so valuable to have Maryse sharing these concepts of all-around wellness with others – especially college women. Knowing Maryse for some time, it is also been lovely to see these sentiments grow within her. She has always been beautiful and poised but her positive self-concept, confidence, and holistic beauty seem to grow more and more each time I reconnect with her.

Since college, I have enjoyed keeping in touch with Maryse. It’s nice to connect with other student affairs folks but, mostly, it’s wonderfully to have like-minded, passionate, beautiful women in my life so we can support and encourage each other. I look forward to staying in touch with Maryse so we can continue this connection in years to come.

What inspires you?

“I am inspired by the young women that I continuously meet as a professional in higher education.  It is crazy to me to think about these women and where they are in their transformative college career and how much they know and are willing to learn from other woman.  It is even more inspiring when these woman come to me to learn, to ask questions, and to share, as well as look up to me.  When these conversations and relationships happen, I feel empowered but I also know that I am able to empower them and help them get the tools to empower themselves as well as other women in their own lives. “


Who are women in your life or throughout history that inspire you? 

“Many women in history inspire me—but I am sure I am not alone when saying the women in my family are/were the most inspiring.  Thank you to my Grandma Denise who showed me the courage it takes to leave a country and start a new home and adventure in America.  To my grandma Edna who showed me you can love taking care of a large family, making dinner and doing it all in the most fashionable way.  To my grandma Bonnie for always giving to others, asking me what my dreams were, and showing me how to stay young.  To my Aunt Lia who shows me that as a woman you don’t always have to make others happy or take care of everyone—you have to make yourself happy first and stand up for that no matter what.  To my aunt Lynn who shows that your emotions keep you alive—keep feeling them. To Karen (Aaron’s mom) who teaches me that you (and your furniture) can constantly be moved around—so do it!  And to my beautiful mother who continuously is teaching me new things, showing me the beautiful ways that the world works, introducing me to new art, and always listening first.  She has taught me that woman can do anything and be anything and is living proof of it.  She is smart and kind and strong and curious and adventurous and cautious and funny and creative the woman I aspire to be.”

If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be and why?

“If I could go back in time in and tell little Maryse one thing it would be that it will all be okay—literally ALL OKAY.  That boy who broke your heart?  Turns out, you don’t need a man to fill your heart—but you are lucky enough to have a partner to share the world with.  That first ever C- you got on your first communications paper?  It’s okay—because it helped make you become a better writer, find your passion and work harder towards your education.  Those mean girls that made fun of your “nappy/curly/kinky/mixed hair?” Fuck them! Your hair is so beautiful, BIG and BEAUTIFUL.  Take care of it—stop straightening it and embrace what the universe gave you.  Take care of yourself; love yourself, read something that makes you feel good at least once a day. Hug yourself 3 times a day, and embrace what makes you, you and love the world.”


This March, I am celebrating all the amazing women around me! Sharing women who have influenced me and make up my personal history. As the month goes on, you can see all my Inspiring Women posts here!