Kristin is a student from the University of Minnesota majoring in Political Science. She has been a GGAL intern and mentor since February 2020! Kristin has always been interested in the many fields of public service and hopes to find a career in nonprofit management or international relations after graduation.
Why did you choose your major?
I knew I wanted to work in some form of public service. The wide range of classes available in a political science major reassured me that I was not shutting myself into a rigid field, which I love about studying social sciences. I want to feel like I’ve opened doors for myself, and I have the flexibility to follow multiple different career paths with an undergraduate degree in the humanities. Once in my classes, my peers were having the conversations I always found myself passionate about, and knew I had found a sense of belonging in the field.
What are your plans for after college or what is your dream career? As of right now, I want to go to the Peace Corps. After the Peace Corps I hope to pursue a graduate degree in some sort of nonprofit management or international relations. What led you to intern/mentor at WISE? Naomi, a fellow GGAL intern, introduced me to the organization. She mentioned GGAL taught topics like healthy relationship habits and helped students with homework, and I really appreciated the breadth of topics covered for girls at their age. After the GGAL class I visited, I fell in love with the program and felt at home with other passionate individuals. Were there any personal experiences that motivated you to work with WISE? As a young girl, I was heavily influenced by the women in my life. Whether it was my older sister, mother, aunts, neighbors, teachers, or coaches, I saw a lot of myself and a lot of who I wanted to become in the women who raised me. Growing into adulthood, I recognized how absolutely necessary that type of representation and attention is, especially if you may face other types of institutional or social obstacles. We are failing entire identities of people if we as a society don’t learn from our own experiences and put in the effort to make life more accessible for those who come after us. What goals did you have as an intern, if any? I hoped to learn more about the way in which young girls can be supported, especially at that age. I wanted to learn how to become a strong mentor for younger people, where it may be more difficult to foster a relationship because of the age difference.
“Hearing some of [the GGAL] experiences and how they reacted to them, it reminded me that I wasn’t there to introduce something new to the girls, but to encourage and support already existing skills like self confidence.”
What did you expect to learn and why? I expected to learn more communication skills, like how to approach and emphasize important topics for girls to learn. I assumed the mentoring experiences would teach me people skills, but I really took away that and so much more. What did you learn or take away from your experience with WISE? I learned so much about the institutional support systems that are available and often not available for people who utilize WISE services. Everyone who works at WISE is an incredibly well rounded and motivated person. I’ve learned a lot from just having the privilege to ask them questions and spend time around them. I learned a lot about educational barriers through GGAL and spending time around the girls. Being around them also showed me a lot about myself—it’s important to remember being their age and wishing I had a mentor. Tell us about a memory or experience that was significant to you during your internship. During a conversation with some GGAL students, I realized how much self-agency and self-awareness they already have at such a young age. Hearing some of their experiences and how they reacted to them, it reminded me that I wasn’t there to introduce something new to the girls, but to encourage and support already existing skills like self confidence. I think this realization, that sustainable work is achieved through supporting and encouraging skill building, not lecturing and trying to “save” people, is something WISE emphasizes.