The mentorship and encouragement that I received at the UHC shaped the entirety of my education. I came to Pitt with an idea that most people would have laughed at—I wanted to triple major. During my time at Pitt, I pursued degrees in Chinese, Non-fiction Writing, and Philosophy through the lens of labor and working-class narratives. Combining these interests academically was rigorous, but it is the outside the classroom opportunities that the UHC helped me pursue which gave me a more well-rounded perspective on my classroom work.
Through the Office of National Scholarship Advising, I had the chance to make the places and issues that I studied more than just words on a page. With the advising of Judy, Ross, and Shannon, along with the support of the Honors College and my professors, I had the opportunity to win the Critical Language Scholarship, travel to China, and study Mandarin while looking deeper into international workers’ rights issues. When I returned home, the Brackenridge fellowship allowed me to continue my investigation into workers’ rights by facilitating a Writing Club that I taught in a neighborhood affected by outsourcing. After the fellowship was over, the UHC gave me continued support as I kept the project going and taught until the end of my student’s school-year.
In the summers, the UHC inspired me as I prepared for my future goal of becoming a labor lawyer. I traveled to London on a grant from Pitt to study corporate espionage before returning to work at the ACLU in Philadelphia, a job that had come from the Pittsburgh ACLU office, an opportunity which I’d learned about from fellow students in the Honors College. The next year, I was at the United Steel Workers IGLHR investigating international violations of workers’ rights. When you have an idea, the UHC helps you make it a reality and encourages you as it takes you places you never dreamed of.
Though I graduated in April of 2015, the UHC remains with me. Just a month after I left Pitt, I was flying to Amsterdam and The Hague to study international workers’ rights issues on a Humanity in Action fellowship that the UHC encouraged me to apply for. The friends, mentors, connections, interviewing skills, and experiences that I gained from the Honors College are still very much a part of my life.
I now live in New York City, NY where I’m a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholar at the New York University School of Law. I continue to work toward my goal of protecting workers and their families through advocacy and policy.