What We Can Learn From Youth

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For women, as we gain wisdom and experience in our jobs, it’s easy to get so caught up in the daily demands of work that we overlook the potential contributions young women can make, in spite of the fact they’ve spent less years on this planet.

This summer the Woman AdvaNCe team has been blessed with the addition of two amazing interns to our staff. These young women – Zoe Redfield and Emily Hagstrom – hit the ground running at the beginning of the summer, and embraced the mission of Women AdvaNCe.

Their enthusiasm was refreshing and contagious. They were like sponges, soaking up every piece of knowledge they could gain, diving headfirst into social media efforts, and smoothing the transition for our new executive director Naomi Randolph, and myself as Editorial Director and Communications Coordinator.

We think it’s important we recognize them for their hard work, and let the world know to “watch out” for these two stellar up and coming superstars.

Zoe Redfeld is in her second year as an English and Gender Studies double major at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver. As if a double major at a school across the continent from her home in Chapel Hill wasn’t enough, she volunteers at the Work Training Center for Women and Children in Vancouver where she reads and plays with children as their mothers pursue additional job training.

Even before she started college, Zoe was determined to set herself apart. Two years ago she participated in a archaeological research project at the Northern Cape in South Africa, and was a representative for her school in Model UN.

Zoe comes to us from the Lillian Brown Fellowship, providing hands-on experience with a nonprofit organization, with a concentration on helping them communicate on progressive women’s issues.

Both of them penned impressive writing pieces while interning with us. Zoe wrote >>Ask Me About My Degree, Not Dating which received quite a bit of feedback through our website and social media. She also told us about >>Tanya Jisa, and her founding of Benevolence Farm, serving women recently released from prison.

Emily Hagstrom is our Moxie Scholar, through the Moxie Project. She is a sophomore at UNC, majoring in political science and public policy. She’s also working on a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Emily works as a researcher with the Public Policy Department at UNC and develops workshops for the Carolina Women’s Center. In her free time, Emily works with advocacy groups and theatre productions on campus. She also enjoys hiking, playing guitar and spending time with her dogs.

The Moxie Project is an academic and community engagement project, that places UNC students who have completed coursework in women’s activism with community organizations for summer internships.

Emily shared her impressions of the life of a young mother in >>Motherhood Reality Check where she offered a fresh perspective on the challenges young women face as they work to support young children and build a career. I’ve been a mother for eight years now – and it was good to be reminded of how difficult it was in the beginning.

Both Emily and Zoe bravely showed us their willingness to share their thoughts with their larger community. They both had the confidence to offer their expertise, and humility to ask for guidance when they needed it.

So when people tell you the next generation is failing, and they don’t know how good they have it, and are lazy and don’t try – think of these young women. With them serving as our future leaders I’d say we’re in pretty good shape. Our job as women already in the workforce is to raise them up, support them and we might just learn something along the way.

Below is feedback from Emily and Zoe about their experience with Women Advance NC – in their own words.

From Emily:

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On my first day working at Women AdvaNCe, I hadn’t the slightest idea about what the summer had in store for me. I was so nervous that I came in that day a little over-prepared—two legal pads, a notebook, and a laptop filled my coral bag, causing my gate to be slightly unbalanced. But when I greeted Naomi Randolph, the Executive Director, I was immediately at ease. She welcomed me into the space in her supportive and affirming way and invited me into the work of Women AdvaNCe. Thus began a summer of empowerment, self-discovery, and advocacy.

Through my time with Women AdvaNCe, I have connected with incredible women all across North Carolina. I have written articles celebrating their achievements and highlighting how policy could better serve them; I have reached out to them for help understanding policy; I have learned from them as experts in their fields, especially Stephanie Carson the Editorial Director at Women AdvaNCe. I have delved deeply into the policy issues facing North Carolina women from all different backgrounds, and found myself even more invested in understanding policy solutions and advocacy tools.

As an intern at Women AdvaNCe, I have also gained the invaluable mentorship of Naomi Randolph and an opportunity for personal empowerment. I’ve had the chance to examine the way I project confidence and value myself not only in the workplace, but in life. I am stronger, a little bit wiser, and a better advocate thanks to my internship through Women AdvaNCe and the Moxie Project at UNC.

 

From Zoe:

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Before working at Women AdvaNCe, I knew I had a passion for women’s issues. Moving away from North Carolina for school made me realize how much change needed to happen in my home state. When I saw the ad for the Brown Fellowship, I couldn’t believe how it encapsulated everything I wanted to do to make a difference. Throughout my fellowship, with the guidance and leadership of Naomi Randolph, our executive director, I have become well-versed in the issues surrounding North Carolina women today. Not only that, but I got to apply my skill set to a good cause. Before working for Women AdvaNCe I was not as aware of things going on in the world and how they pertained to women’s issues, the fellowship kept me up to date and well informed, prepared to share what I learned with other North Carolina women. I am so thankful for this opportunity, being able to connect and engage on a wide variety of issues and to educate myself and others with up to date information.




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