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Naomi channels her passion for youth development as a GGAL mentor

Updated: Feb 3, 2022

Naomi joined us in January 2020 and is a current mentor and intern for the Girls Getting Ahead in Leadership (GGAL) program. She is a student at the University of Minnesota and is majoring in Global Studies with a concentration in Global Health and Migrations. Naomi is also minoring in Spanish and Public Health and has the ultimate dream goal of working for an international youth-based organization.


Why did you choose your major?

I chose my major because I have always been interested in medicine and health care, and have wanted to work in the medical field ever since I had a pre-malignant tumor as a child. It wasn’t until college that I became extremely interested in the public health aspect, and health equity for all. I also have recently become very interested in immigration, and fighting for human rights for all. I recently went to the U.S/Mexico Border and filmed a documentary allowing those voices to become heard. The major I chose is perfect for me because it combines all of my interests!

Naomi Schmeck, GGAL Intern

What are your plans for after college or what is your dream career? My plan after college is to join the Peace Corps and do work in Maternal and Child Health Care/Health Equity, possibly in a Spanish-speaking country so I would be able to speak the language! After that, I plan on returning back to school. My dream career would be to work for an organization like UNICEF. I know for sure I want to work with children and fight for the rights of all children no matter where or who. What led you to intern/mentor with WISE? I absolutely love being a mentor and friend, and I think the work that WISE is doing is incredible. It is so important to create a welcoming community for young girls and women, especially for immigrants and refugees. It is so important to me to empower each of these students so that they are capable of anything and everything that their hearts can dream of! How did you hear about WISE? I heard about WISE through the UMN Global Studies newsletter. What motivated you to work with WISE? My mom is an immigrant from Okinawa, and that plays a significant role in the person I am. I have a lot of experience working with youth so I thought that the combination of both of these experiences would make me fit to work with WISE.

“It is so important to me to empower each of these students so that they are capable of anything and everything that their hearts can dream of!”

What goals do you have as an intern, if any? I mainly wanted to create impactful connections and inspire the students that they are capable, loved, and important. What did you expect to learn and why? I expected to learn about these girls and also myself in this process. I knew this would be a meaningful internship because I would be able to make connections that would make an impact on both ends. What did you learn or take away from your experience with WISE? I learned that everyone has their own stories, experiences, history, and dreams, and it is important for all of us to value each other. This further pushed me to accomplish my dreams and fight for change, as well as inspired me to continue empowering youth. Tell us about a memory or experience that was significant to you during your internship. I have been doing yoga for a few years now, and during our Health & Wellness Week, I got to lead a yoga class for all of the girls. It was a lot of fun and I loved that everyone participated. Another fun memory is the girls teaching me so many things! I learned a few phrases in Somali (super cool) and learned how to do a tik tok dance (not as cool but still fun).


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