Student Spotlight: Jody Bell

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What are your pronouns? Your hometown? Your major(s)/minor(s)?

My hometown is Greenwich, Connecticut.  I use she/her/hers pronouns and I am majoring in Finance with a minor in International Studies.

What areas/aspects of WGS do you find the most engaging? OR what are you most passionate about?

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t involved in some sphere of activism. Whether that was protesting atop my mother’s shoulders when I was 5-6 years old, or organizing walkouts in middle school. However, when I turned 15 something shifted, and I didn’t quite feel content with volunteering or protesting. I was experiencing some serious burnout, and I kept thinking of ways that I could maximize my impact and activism in more efficient ways that aided hundreds or thousands of individuals in need. 

At that time I had a few friends with undocumented parents, and I was in the process of researching what they should do in case of parental deportation. In this process I realized that this was my opportunity to maximize my impact and deliver aid to thousands instead of a few. That’s why I released my first venture; In Case of Deportation ( I took all of the research I compiled, and released it in an online format that was holistic enough to help any individual with undocumented parents learn about their next steps.

It was this shift from a more “follower” centered activism role to a leadership position that really ignited my passion and made me understand what I was truly capable of. It lit a fire in me that has seeped into my perception of myself, and motivated me to just keep producing new, innovative, and sometimes unorthodox ways of engaging in activism. 

photograph of Jody Bell speaking at a "Girls with Impact" event

Tell us about any extracurricular work you’re doing, or any involvement you have on campus with clubs or organizations.

I still have a major focus on the undocumented/mix-status communities. Most of the work I’m doing currently is drawing awareness to this issue here in South Carolina, where immigration is not a major focal point. So, I am going to be a TedX speaker about this topic this March, and I am currently working to create a college-student-specific branch of In Case of Deportation. 

Given the events of this past summer, I have also committed to educating myself about the Black Lives Matter movement, and doing what I can to begin activism work within that sector. I engaged in an independent research project with Honors Faculty Professor, Lancie Affonso, and freshman, Brandon Alston, to assess equity within the College of Charleston’s maintenance and dining staff. Through this research, we learned that these groups are predominately Black (60.3%) and are at the absolute frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through examining employee benefit packages, risk mitigation work, and community spread in the areas that employee’s live, we are working to uncover how our campus offers a microscopic view of systemic racism, and thus describes how the Black population is disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 

What does being a Ketner scholar mean to you?

Currently I have no financial support for my education. I already work two jobs to pay for my cost of living, however, the Ketner scholarship has greatly alleviated the financial burden of my tuition. Without this scholarship I would most likely need another job, and thus wouldn’t be able to devote my time to the activism initiatives that I am passionate about. Quite frankly this scholarship has given me the financial freedom to aid my community through my work.

What are your plans for the future?

While I am currently just a sophomore, I have pretty big plans! I do interpret activism through an unorthodox lens — hence why I am majoring in Finance. I hope that once I graduate, I can go into the wealth management field (specifically ESG investing), and aid individuals in sustainable asset management solutions. In less finance-y terms, I want to help people invest in companies that are actively doing good in their communities; this way we can help people accumulate wealth while supporting businesses that aim to do good for the world. 

However, these are just my post-graduation plans. As I mentioned before, I am financing my own education, so once I work in finance I hope to attend law school with my earnings. Specifically, I want to do human rights law; fighting discimination on a case-to-case basis and making a career out of the pursuit of justice.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes