Hi! My name is Vanessa Sousa and I am a sophomore at American University. I am currently majoring in CLEG which is an interdisciplinary studies major specific to American University which encompasses the subjects of Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government. Along with my plans to receive a BA in CLEG, I am also minoring in the Spanish Language and am a part of an exclusive and competitive 15 credit program to receive an Advanced Leadership Studies certificate where I conduct research on certain either local, national, or global issues in conjunction with social action projects and develop both my leadership and team-management skills in specific leadership courses.
I am a first-generation college student whose parents immigrated to New Jersey as young adults searching for the American Dream. Coming to this country, with a few hundred dollars in their back pocket and an English Dictionary, they instilled qualities of determination, ambition, and motivation within me like a flame that constantly glows. Therefore, my parent’s evident American nationalism and fight for their rights and civil privileges have been passed down to me resulting in my drive to help restore America in the areas of public policy and economics.
Therefore, during my time at American University, I desire to study the intersectionality between politics and policy and the nation’s current socio-economic issue areas within the classroom and apply such research to potential outreach, which I have and will continue to accomplish. For instance, I have just concluded an abundance of independent research exploring both the short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the already-broken US education system. With this research, I am currently organizing an initiative to spread awareness around this issue through a social media campaign and preparing to launch a socially-distanced charity run to fundraise for a partnering educational non-profit in the DMV area.
Additionally, as I am passionate about outreach, I have taken a major advocacy role within American University, especially through Student Government. In my role as a Senator for the Class of 2023, I have been able to advocate for greater awareness of our community’s need for greater inclusivity and revisions to the presently offered mental health services. More specifically, I was part of the initiative that pushed American University to fully divest from fossil fuels and to apply the Pass/Fail option for the 2020 Spring Semester once COVID-19 hit. Additionally, I am currently working on fundraising and greater awareness for University Student Employees, Chartwell & Aramark Housekeeping Employees because everyone deserves the same level of respect. Along with other numerous advocacy initiatives I have spearheaded within the legislative branch of AU Student Government, as the Chief of Staff for the Vice President, earlier in the semester, I aided the programming of a Black Lives Matter Week in which the VP cabinet was able to fundraise and bring in major speakers via zoom such as Angela Davis.
On the more individual level, I am a Teaching Assistant for first-year members of the AU School of Public Affairs Leadership Program and an Accessibility and Accommodations Advocate of the Center for Advocacy & Student Equity (CASE). Because of my passion for research, within my Teaching Assitant role, I guide first-year members through their determined research area and social justice project and educate them on research assignments such as literature reviews, policy memos, matrixes, and grants. Additionally, growing up with a sibling with special needs, you acquire a kin awareness of the unfair lack of accessibility available. Therefore, through my work, as an Accessibility and Accommodations Advocate of the Center for Advocacy & Student Equity, I support AU students seeking such rights by advising them on university policies and procedures, developing statements and appeals, and even attended conferences and hearings if they would like. Additionally, along with the other advocates within this sector of CASE, I am currently working on speaking to and compiling possible improvements students desire that we then plan to take to administration.
As one can see, I am not simply an idealist, as ideas only go so far. I stand up, object, and promote as that is how change is enacted. Change is now, so let’s get to work!
The next few tabs, which include my resume and work sample, which explain the applicable skills and abilities acquired from my passions, interests, and previous/current activities. Additionally, here is a link to my LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessa-sousa-73807719a