Where are you from?
I was born in Mason, Ohio and have lived there my entire life.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, life-long student, reliable.
What is your favorite color?
My favorite colors are coral and mint.
What is one of your favorite hobbies?
One of my favorite hobbies is dancing.
I love eating different types of food, but one of my favorite cuisines is Italian.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would love to be a combination of Elastigirl and Violet from the Incredibles, so my powers would be being super flexible, creating force fields, and being invisible.
What is a dream that you have? What is something that you are passionate about?
One dream that I have is that everyone person is able to vocalize their thoughts and opinions and use their voice to create change in their world. I am passionate about empowering individuals to utilize their own passions to create an impact. I believe diversity in its purest form is the diversity of thought and I am passionate about seeing each person feel comfortable sharing their own thoughts and ideas.
Tell us about a very difficult experience in your life. How did this situation weaken you? How did it make you stronger?
A difficult experience that I have had in my life is the passing of two people in my life within six months of each other. While the circumstances were very different, they both had a huge impact on me and I had to come to terms with the fact that I would not see either of them again.
It was debilitating to have two people leave my life so suddenly. I did not know how to come to terms with the loss and I did not think it was fair for their lives to be taken away when all they have done was be good to others.
For me to get stronger, I had to remember that as humans, our bodies were mortal but our impact on this world can be immortal. I had to remember that we have succeeded as individuals if we can make a positive impact on someone’s life. Their passing was also a reminder to show the people in our lives that we appreciate them and to form connections with more people. It is the interactions with individuals that give more meaning to our lives. It is the interactions that they had with individuals that allow them to live on today.
What has been a challenge in your RISE-ing process? How have you overcome those challenges?
One of the biggest challenges of my RISE-ing process has been getting past the obstacles and seeing the impact that I can have. It can be very demotivating to think about how you are one individual and are trying to make a difference in addressing a systemic issue prevalent in several countries around the world. To overcome that feeling of not being able to make an impact, I had to change my mindset to focus on the individuals I was able to impact, motivate, or empower. Even having an impact on one person’s life is incredible and by focusing on creating those moments, I reminded myself that my impact does not have to be systemic to be significant.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling with a very difficult life experience?
I think there are a couple very important things to keep in mind when you are going through a difficult experience. First, I think it is important to lean on the people that are there to support you. You are not alone and should never have to feel like you are struggling by yourself. Second, I think it is crucial to remember that everything gets better over time. It is important to hold your head high and know that you are strong enough to overcome this obstacle. I am a true believer that we are only dealt the cards that we can handle. Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, you are strong and will find a way to overcome the hurdle.
What would you say to those who think they can’t make a difference in the world? Is there a certain quote that you have found inspirational?
One of my favorite quotes is “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” –Winnie the Pooh. I love this quote because it reminds us that we often are harder on ourselves than we deserve and that we have the ability to do things that we think are out of our reach. For people that think they cannot make a difference in the world, I can relate to that sentiment because I used to feel stuck as well. I think it is important to think about perspective and realize that you have made a difference in the world if you have made a difference in someone’s world. You are capable of creating the change and as long as you have the passion and drive to see it through, that is all that matters.
Do you think of yourself as an activist?
I never used to consider myself an activist. I always thought it meant having certain qualifications and going to rallies to fight for what you believed in. Through my internship with RISE, I have realized that it is just when someone uses their innate abilities, skills, drive, and passion to create a change in the world.
What do you think activism means?
The simple definition of activism is taking action to create a change. This can be on any level as long as the innate effort and drive is being made to incite change, generally where an injustice is taking place.
What is your vision of social change?
My vision of social change is that it becomes a part of everyone’s day-to-day lives. Just like we believe that it is our responsibility as citizens of a government to participate in the government by voting, I think it is our responsibility as citizens of the world to participate in making it a better place whether it is locally or globally.
If you could make a difference in the world, what would that be?
There is a lot that I would like to see change in the world. However, I think the biggest difference I would like to make is to empower every individual to achieve goals they never thought were attainable. I am a believer that if we have the right passion, we can make opportunities for ourselves that can ultimately better our lives as well as the lives of others.
What does RISE mean to you?
To me, RISE is a platform for people to realize their potential and see the impact they can create. While RISE is focused on supporting survivors of acid violence, I think its entire essence is more focused on every individual seeing the impact they can make in a community whether it is survivors getting back on their feet and becoming talented artisans, members of RISE working on different ways to support survivors, or students raising awareness and funds for the cause.