What is your hometown, your pronouns, and your major(s)/minor(s)?
My hometown is Franklin, TN. I use She/Her pronouns. My major is International Studies.
What areas/aspects of gender activism and/or advocacy for women and girls you find most engaging/interesting/what you’re most passionate about?
I am most passionate about advocating internationally for women’s and girls’ rights; I am specifically interested in education. Malala Yousafzai has been one of my biggest inspirations for years.
Tell us about any extracurricular work you’re doing (ex. volunteering/local activism), or any involvement you have on campus with clubs/organizations.
I am the Founder and President of Cougar Refugee Alliance (CRA). I started this club at the College of Charleston in Spring 2022 because I saw the need to support Afghan refugees arriving in Charleston. I had worked with refugees back home in Nashville, and I knew how vital our help was in helping them transition to self-sufficiency in the United States. We have worked with Lutheran Services Carolina, our area resettlement agency, to assist over 80 Afghan refugees who have arrived in the area. In our first semester we grew rapidly to 75 members. CRA held a fundraiser, a school supply drive, and helped to coordinate and staff childcare during a Cultural Orientation for all recently resettled refugees. Our advocacy will continue as refugees from various parts of the world will be resettling in the Charleston area.
I also serve as a student representative of the College’s Task Force on Refugee Resettlement. This campus wide collaboration arose from some of my initial discussions with Dr. De Welde about what I wanted to do for my activism project as a Ketner Emerging Leader. Comprised of faculty and staff from across the College and student representatives, this taskforce focuses on coordinating campus involvement in local refugee resettlement efforts such as by establishing “Circles of Welcome” for families. I help to lead and coordinate student involvement with task force initiatives, and am a student liaison with Lutheran Services Carolina.
I am also a Charleston Fellow and an International Scholar, active in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, Charleston Hillel, and the Chaarg Fitness Club.
What does being a Ketner scholar mean to you?
Being a Ketner Scholar means actively working to create change in the local community to promote acceptance. I think it means to have courage to step up and advocate for those who do not have the same privileges that I do as a white American woman with the ability to attend college. It means going out into the community and making a hands-on impact.
What are your plans and goals after graduation?
After college, my goal is to work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or for a refugee resettlement agency. I hope to apply what I learn from the International Studies program to work on policy change to make refugee resettlement a more efficient and effective process.