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BLOG | Kirie’s New York Adventures: So Natural, It’s Surreal

Kirstyne “Kirie” Lange has been selected as an intern for the Sadie Nash Leadership Project (SNLP) in New York this summer. For the next nine weeks, she will be blogging for The Campanil about her experience.

Week four zipped by quickly. Being a part of Sadie Nash felt so natural, it was almost surreal.

Our dean group did family portraits last Monday. Every Nasher, including myself, used each other as models for our family. We placed a Nasher in whatever position or action that is representative of that certain relative. It was interesting how most of my Nashers’ mothers are seen as the foundation of their households and have similar relationships with siblings as everyone else. Those of us who were the oldest kid in the family connected the most. We were always in trouble for the other siblings’ actions, we had more rules, and we often crafted ways to keep our brothers and sisters from being our copycats. This activity didn’t last as long as I would have hoped but it’s always nice to hear about the young women’s family structures.

That afternoon I headed a workshop with another dean, Margarita, on life after high school. We shared our stories about the pressures of searching for the right high school as well as having to complete a FAFSA and make sure the school has our desired majors and is accredited. Many of the women were not even thinking about college yet so we also discussed vocational and trade schools for specific field trainings if they had a feeling a four year institution may not have been for them.

Questions about financial aid took up most of the workshop. We stressed about applying for FAFSA and qualifying for local, city wide, state and national scholarships.

Deborah Jacobson, the executive director of the ACLU-New Jersey chapter, was our speaker for “Leader Tuesday” last week. I found it really intriguing that the ACLU would step in for anyone who has been penalized from using their rights. There was a case where a gentleman was arrested for burning the Quran and then fired from his job because his employer thought he misrepresented their company. Interestingly enough, the ACLU stepped in to advocate for him. Deborah shared that while she might not personally agree with a persons’ beliefs, her role is to protect their constitutional rights even if their actions are morally wrong.

During the Leadership Reflection, we had a presentation where the Nashers simulated a plan of action in support of various cases as members of a fictional ACLU Youth Advisory board. The approach was great! Especially when many of the women were tying in concepts they have learned from their courses. While it was difficult to keep them engaged after lunch, this activity worked out really well.

My poetry course took a new twist when we had to share their poetry with the Rutgers campus. We were divided into three groups and created mini-campaign presentations. It was great to see our audience of young people on campus listening in and appearing to enjoy our words.

In the media course, we explored the world of magazines and their influence. We looked at how women of various ethnicities were misrepresented and were shown a video clip of how Dove advertisers digitally altered a model’s facial features on Photoshop to fit a beauty ideal. There was an element of surprise and many of the young women questioned why they didn’t just hire women who already have the looks they worked so hard to recreate. It was a mystery for many of us especially since photos of famous female celebrities like Beyonce and Kim Kardashian were also altered.

On Friday, we split the group into two and took visits to Senator Lautenber’s office for Women in Action Day. I spoke with Talia Young, the Project Specialist, who shared great words of aspiration for my group of Nashers.

It was a nice way to wrap up the the week.

To keep up with Kirstyne, you can follow her on Twitter @QweenKirie.

Read more of her related posts here.

If you’re a member of the Mills community who’s interested in blogging about your summer adventures, contact for more info.