PIP Youth –– The Next Generation of Women on the Rise
Exceptional young women –– chosen by our celebrated politicians
Senior at Great River School,
Nominated by United States Senator Tina Smith
Her take on feminism: This year I’ve been more vocal on my opinions about feminists and being more of an advocate. Before, I used to be scared to say that I was a feminist, because people think feminists are scary. But, because of my teachers at school and becoming a state ambassador I am proud to say I’m a feminist and know I can fight for anything.
Family as a strong foundation: My family is supportive of inclusion for all. Social activism has always been a part of our lives. Like myself, my sister is a strong advocate for social justice. She’s been a huge influence on me, because I’ve been able to witness her abilities to organize marches and bring awareness of social injustices. And, my parents are huge advocates, especially on immigration. Even when we were little, they would take us on marches. I remember being on my dad’s shoulders marching and saying chants in Spanish. My whole family is from Guatemala; we emigrated to Minnesota in 2004 and, “we’re still here and we’re planning on staying here…of course!”
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Senior at Santa Rosa High School
Nominated by State Representative Sarah Maestas Barnes
First political act: In 5th grade, I became familiar with Susana Martinez. She was pursuing an election to become the first Hispanic female governor of New Mexico. As a Hispanic female, I was really inspired by her candidacy. So I wrote her a letter. Luckily I received a hand written letter back from her. Ever since, we’ve continued to write letters to each other throughout her governorship. Her letters serve as a reminder of where I started and where I can go because someone like Governor Martinez believes in me.
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Place of special meaning: I found myself in high school frustrated with the state of education in New Mexico and within my school district. With the goal of easing my frustration, I spearheaded the creation of a mentorship/tutoring program that would take place in this library for a year. To this day, my involvement with the students from Santa Rosa Elementary School serves as the motivation to achieve my goal of improving education in New Mexico as a State Representative.
A web link she shared with us that elaborates on her interest in women’s education
Senior at Kake City School
Nominated by Tribal Council VP Patti Handy (her grandma)
First in her community: I’m the first girl in my high school to be on the wrestling team. My brother used to be on the team and I really looked up to him and I didn’t want to be limited because I’m a girl. So, I thought why don’t I try it. Since then, I’ve been the only girl on the team. It feels good to beat up boys [laugh]. It makes me feel a lot more confident in myself, like nothing can hold me back. I feel I can do anything.
Freshman at the University of Alaska Southeast
Nominated by Councilwoman Marla Howard
Freshman at University of Alaska Anchorage
Nominated by Mayor Barb Miranda
Place of special meaning: Gustavus Beach holds so many memories and is my escape when I am having a hard time. When I need to relieve some stress or calm down, I go there to breathe in the fresh air and listen to the ocean or to pick strawberries during summer time.
Her town’s Women’s March: Unfortunately I was not able to go because I was taking the SAT's during the March. It was one of the last days that I was able to take it, so I was very bummed out. I felt I was a little more distracted taking the test, knowing that my whole community was out there marching and I couldn’t be there with them. But I had many family members and friends that participated in the march, so I feel I was there with them in spirit.
Perspective of feminism in the last year: It has most definitely changed. I know that we need to fight for it more. Before I viewed myself as a feminist, but I didn't view myself as a vocal feminist, as someone that needed to take action. The reason being, I felt that growing up Gustavus, I never really needed to because I felt that our community believed in equality. Since recent election, I feel stronger and I feel that there’s a fight in me. As I said before, it's not just for us females, it's for anyone who seems different than the stereotypical male/female relationship. I feel that I’m fighting as a feminist for the power uniqueness among all living beings.
First political act: I participated in student government as the Secretary. I ran for the office, but in a small school, no one else decided to run. However, I still had to make a speech and convince the class that I was suitable for the position. The following year, I wanted to run for President, but we ended not having student government again because there were not enough students who wanted to participate.
Third year law student at University of Maine School of Law
Nominated by State Senator Rebecca Millet
Place of special meaning: I decided to pick this place because it’s where I spent a lot of my childhood weekends and summer vacations. My grandparents owned and ran the farm when my mom was growing up and all throughout my childhood. I really had a strong connection to the farm as a kid.
Where she sees herself going: Because of my interest in education policy, I applied to law school after considering other master’s programs. I decided law school was the best option for me and my goals. I hope to find government affairs and public policy jobs after I graduate. This would give me some background and institutional experience for the Maine State House. Long term, I would probably like to run for office. Right now I'm more interested in Maine at the state level rather than the national level. This is a small state and individuals have a unique opportunity to make a difference here, whereas on the national stage (with all the gridlock and whatnot) it’s not as much of a process of engagement and moving forward.
Feminism: Feminism has been branded as something negative, which is really unfortunate. I believe feminism stands for equality among the sexes. And I think this is an idea that most people do embrace. The separation between the tarnished word feminism and the ideal of gender equality needs to be bridged through communication and better understanding.
Senior at City Charter High School
Nominated by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak
Place of special meaning: I love the scenery at the graveyard across the street from my house. When I’m in the cemetery, I like to look at the different years and the names [on the gravestones] because you can learn a lot about the neighborhood that way.
Where she sees herself going: Because my favorite things in the whole world are science and math, I want to be a hematologist. I want to learn more about myself as a sickle-cell patient. It’s something that interests me a lot. And I want to go to PITT after high school because they have a really good medical school and hematology team. And my doctor really wants me to go there because of the hematology team. But I want to go there for me.
Feminism: Well the term feminist has been misused a lot. I think of myself as a feminist... It's not that women are better, or that men are better or worse or whatever, but we are equals and we should be treated equally, paid equally. Because we’re all people. And it’s not fair to be treated more justly because of your gender.
Senior at Syracuse University
Nominated by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic
Place of special meaning: Little Bay Park is special to me because I've come here a lot with my family and friends, and sometimes by myself. I came here when I was making a hard life decision, deciding where I wanted to go for college. I came here to make that decision because I needed time alone. It’s a place that I find very comforting.
Gender differences in leadership? I don’t know if there is necessarily a difference between men and women. I think it’s more how you personally view what leadership is. But I think to me I would describe my leadership style as something that is more based on teamwork and consensus.
Feminism: I think it’s very unfortunate that people have this very radical idea of what feminism is (that women are better than men). But it’s really so simple; it’s about equality, that men and women are equal, and we can achieve the same things. And it’s not based on our gender.
Role models: When people ask me who my role model is, I always say my mother. (Because of her mother, they are both such strong women.) Growing up, that's why I never thought I couldn't achieve something just because of being a woman. Going into society, I learned that’s not really the case––there are structural limitations for women. But I think starting from a young age, my mother and grandmother were the people in my life that said “no, you can do it, and if anything women are stronger.”
Sophomore at Allegheny College
Nominated by Councilwoman Valerie Schey
Place of special meaning: I chose Outpost's Sand Volleyball Courts because volleyball is where I learned most of my discipline, my determination, which got me where I am today. I believe that volleyball and sports in general help kids develop into successful people. Volleyball has always been the kind of sport with team support, but you also have to push yourself.
Athletics and athleticism: As a player, I think I'm pretty enthusiastic. I'm pretty hard on myself but I think every athlete is. I'm the type of player who tries to pick the team up, along with myself. It's all about doing your best on the next point. Defeat has always been hard. As I matured, and as I experienced the game more, I developed the ability to forget the loss of a point and just move on to the next one. But it's been a struggle. My mental game was probably the hardest part, getting out of my head.
Where she sees herself going: I am studying Physics on the Pre-Med track at Alleghany College. I'm hoping to go to Med School. I believe that physics is the science of everything. Physics is in chemistry, physics is in biology, physics is in sports, physics is life basically, in my opinion. I'm interested in Orthopedics. And my greatest goal is to be an orthopedic trauma surgeon at a top-level trauma hospital.
Graduated from Miami University (Ohio)
Nominated by City Clerk Susana Mendoza
Place of special meaning: I chose to be photographed in front of a mural of three women. All three of them are from different ethnic backgrounds, which I love. The mural is beautiful, but it also represents being a woman, and community. All the strong women figures in my life, all the inspiration and support of family––all of that is here in Pilson.
Politics: I love politics because of the environment––it’s so fast-paced and challenging. Everyone I've met has been amazing and I've learned so much in such a short time. I like the competitiveness as well. And Chicago politics in particular is always very interesting, so I really enjoy it.
Role of sports in school: I played lacrosse. I was also a cheerleader and a soccer player.
Lessons sports provide for life and work: Definitely discipline, for sure. Patience, and teamwork above all. I mean every campaign, without the team, without the field team, without everyone working together––nothing could be possible.
Her mother’s mother: My grandmother, oh my goodness, she is a hero. She came to this country not knowing any English. She raised my mom and her brothers by herself, without any family. But she didn't let that stop her; she didn’t let not having a husband stand in her way and she ended up going to college at a very old age but she did it on her own. And she's always taught me that I can achieve whatever I want in life, no matter what.