Experiences During My Time at American

First year Environmental Issue Group Social Action Project

Type of experience: Coursework/Community Service

Timeframe: Fall 2017 to Spring 2018

During the first year of the SPA Leadership Program, five classmates and I worked on a social action project addressing environmental issues in the DC area. We conducted extensive research on topics from solar energy initiatives to proposing legislation to Congress. After countless hours of debating and weighing the pros and cons of the actions we could take to make a difference in the community, we decided to start small. We focused on recycling and environmental practices in low-income wards in DC. From our research in this area, we made the executive decision to be more hands on for our final project: we would visit low-income elementary and middle schools in DC and teach them how to recycle and be more environmentally friendly.

Second year Individual Social Action Project

Type of experience: Coursework/political activism

Timeframe: Fall 2018 to Spring 2021

During my first semester Sophomore year I identified gun violence as the problem that I would focus my research on for year two. After conducting research, interviewing gun violence victims, and speaking with a DC Metro PD officer, I came to the conclusion that what first needed to change was awareness of the issue. This led me to gathering a group of my peers interested in bringing a March for Our Lives chapter to AU’s campus. By Spring 2019, there was a fully recognized chapter of MFOL on AU’s campus. I served as the Diversity & Inclusion chair for two years.

Diversity & Inclusion Awareness for March for Our Lives DC

Type of experience: Leadership development

Timeframe: Spring 2019 to Spring 2020

After bringing MFOL to campus, I had planned to continue my social action plan by bringing awareness to the intersectionality of gun violence and race. I implemented a diversity & inclusion executive board position with D&I trainings for the executive board as well as bringing it up to the DC-area chapter director to emphasize on the MFOL DC town hall calls.

Diversity & Inclusion Executive Board Chair for March for Our Lives at AU

Type of experience: Leadership development/ Presentation

Timeframe: Fall 2018 to Fall 2020

Like I mentioned in my previous experience, I was the D&I chair for the MFOL chapter at AU for two years. During that time, I research D&I and how it related to gun violence in particular. I decided that it was in the best interest of the organization to raise awareness of the identities that gun violence affects disproportionately. I did this in the form of an executive board meeting which I led. I included activities similar to those we have done at leadership retreats. For example, the “take one step forward if this applies to you…” or “take one step back if you have experienced this.” I also informed the executive board on key D&I terms as well as certain things to keep in mind like implicit biases. I concluded with opening the floor up to discussion to hear how the presentation resonated with them and what they took away from it. Overall, the board seemed to really appreciate the discussion of how different identities relate to gun violence.

Public Relations Manager for March for Our Lives DC

Type of experience: Leadership development/ Involvement off-campus

Timeframe: Fall 2019 to Spring 2021

I interviewed with the MFOL DC director and Comms director to incorporate D&I practices into the regional level of the organization and ended up being asked to do Public Relations management for the DC area chapters. In this position I followed the news very closely for any and all gun violence related incidents and any media mentions of MFOL as an organization. I did learn how to draft press releases in this position which is something I had never done before and was a very valuable experience. While it was not a position I had necessarily seen myself in, I adapted to the challenge.

Leadership Retreats with March for Our Lives DC

Type of experience: Leadership development workshop

Timeframe: Spring 2019 to Fall 2020

Being in leadership positions in MFOL AU and at the DC level, I had the opportunity to go to several leadership retreats where we learned more about MFOL’s mission. The DC Directors even taught us how to lobby congressional members more effectively. These retreats were very similar to the SPA Leadership retreats we would do at the beginning of the first two years at AU.