Current job title and employer and briefly describe what it is you do: I am a Health Care Advocate in the Office of the Health Care Advocate at Vermont Legal Aid. I answer questions and help solve problems with Vermonter’s health care. We also track trends in health care and work to address systemic issues like affordability and access. Overall, I help folks manage our current health care system with the ultimate goal of universal health care as a human right.
Academic experience at Saint Michael's College help prepare you for your career: The biggest transferrable skills have been in researching policy and communicating that research in an understandable way. Health insurance and health laws are really complicated. And there are big consequences for people when mistakes are made. It’s important to think critically and interpret the rules carefully, which are skills that are attributed to my St. Mike’s education.
Favorite memory or class from your time studying at St. Mike’s: My favorite memories are mostly from my participation in Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC), especially the trips we made to Washington DC. We met with staffers from different members of congress, and we got to experience our government institutions up close. As young people, we brought a unique perspective to the halls of the Capitol Building and it was exciting to have our voices be heard. I learned a lot about different strategies for change working both inside and outside the current political systems.
Completed or are completing a graduate program, please provide the name of the degree and institution: Masters of Arts in Health Advocacy, Sarah Lawrence College
Translated your volunteer experience at Saint Michael’s into giving back to your community after graduation: Volunteering is important work, but equally as important is the lens through which you volunteer. At St.Mike’s I learned that volunteering is an important contribution to social justice, not just an act of charity. I made many connections between my work with MOVE and my political science classes. It’s important to understand the systemic barriers that lead to social conditions like homelessness, food insecurity, poverty. True change comes from shifting power to those who are oppressed, not just lending a helping hand.
Other information you would like to share or advice for incoming or current students: My learning at St. Mike’s laid the foundation for which I view the world now. As the country and the world grapple with the pandemic, climate change, and other crises, I can think critically and creatively about solutions. Our college years don’t exist in a bubble. The most valuable learning happens when– as we said at MOVE– we think globally and act locally.