JRN 521 – Your Choice #1

As part of my “Your Choice Assignment #1,” I did a portrait series on student musicians. Through this part of the assignment, I decided to experiment with lighting on location and doing both unconventional and traditional portraitures. I wanted to showcase unified emotion and a similar theme throughout the entire series. I worked with six different musicians (all with different instruments) and below is my work from the week. (click on the image to enlarge it)

As a whole, I am really pleased with my portraiture series, but I believe I have done some better work with location lighting, yet I understand this is all a learning process; trail and error. I really struggled with trying to do a spotlight using a speedlight and a snoot, which was harder than I expected it to be. In addition, I wanted the work to all have the same feel/emotion with each image, which I feel I achieved while working with various spacial constraints from outdoors to a small personal practice room.


For the second part of my assignment, I covered The Swift Brother’s concert at Hunter’s Ale House on Friday, February 9, 2018. I did a set of a stills covering the concert/event and a video including interviews with the brothers to act as an introduction/promo for the music duo. Below is all my work from this section of my “Your Choice #1” assignment.

I am still learning how to do video effectively and professionally since I am still a beginner with Adobe Premiere Pro and shooting video. I am pretty pleased with my end result of this video for The Swift Brothers and I feel like I have learned a lot about shooting different angles, working with space and lighting provided, and making the most of everything you have for a strong end result.

Album of photos from the performance:

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Again, this was also a learning experience because shooting in Hunter’s is really difficult.There isn’t a pit for photographers and it is a bar/restaurant. The lighting isn’t prime and you have to work around the customers as well as the small stage area to not get redundant photos that still strongly showcase the event to its fullest. This is a different experience for shooting a concert because not all concerts are held in stadiums, arenas, festivals or music halls, and you have to work with the space provided.

{Total Hours of Work = 16}


My Internship With University Communitions This Past Spring

Wow, I cannot believe that last semester I had an internship of a lifetime. I hope I can get the chance to continue working with University Communications, but if not I still wanted to share my experience.

This past spring semester was actually a hard one for me. I struggled a lot with my self, personal issues, school, etc. Yet, I got this amazing opportunity to work as a photography intern with Central Michigan’s Communications Department under the instruction, guidance, and mentorship of Steve Jessmore. You literally could not ask for a better experience than this as a photojournalism student at CMU.

With this position, I got to grow little by little as a photojournalist, ignite my passion more, and learn a lot about myself and my potential. I will be honest and say I don’t believe I gave 110% of myself when holding this position due to my struggles during the semester, but I did grow a lot.

I got to photography things I would have never dreamed of getting the chance to photograph. DNCE (in another blog post), Laverne Cox, CMU’s President Ross, a Pan-African Fashion Show, and more, these are just a taste of what it is like to hold this internship.

I learned how to expand my eye when shooting, leave the front and head to the back of a room to get a wide shot of the crowd or a full photo of the scene. Go behind the speakers or below, looking up, to get different angles. I learned to not just shoot and shoot and shoot. I am not paparazzi. Photojournalists wait for moments, they wait for drama, action, excitement, etc. We show emotion through our work and want to bring the viewers into the scene, making it feel like they were actually there, while accurately depicting what occurred.

I will admit, I was not the best one of the group at first, or even at the end, but I grew. I learned from my mistakes and listened to my critiques. I was told that I need to just be constantly taking photos, every day, of anything because there is always something occurring. This was the one tip I never fully applied though, because with my Resident Assistant position, classes, sorority, personal issues, etc, I thought I wouldn’t be able to. This was just me holding myself back. I have a little bit of free time every day, even if it is just for 10-20 minutes, it is experience, practice, and growth. I have to learn how to find stories with out an assignment now and I will be fully applying this advice this semester, I wish I just fully listened and realized this before. Don’t make my mistake and remember you are a photographer always.

I do really believe I got some of my best collegiate work during my internship with University Communications. I can only go up from here. Below are some of my favorite photos from some of my favorite shoots/events.

Enjoy! (plus, sorry this post was super late in comparison to when I had the internship, lol.)

-Check out my photos from DNCE in another post!!-

Laverne Cox – CMU Speaker Series 

Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.
Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.
Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.
Audience cheers as Laverne Cox walked on stage before her speech with the CMU Speakers Series.
Laverne Cox, from Orange is the New Black, speaks to the students at Central Michigan University about her life, transition, and working career.


Annual Meet President Ross, Hosted by the International Student Organization

International Student Organization hosted the annual Meet the President with President Ross in the Park Library Auditorium, on the campus of Central Michigan University.
International Student Organization hosted the annual Meet the President with President Ross in the Park Library Auditorium, on the campus of Central Michigan University


Lize-Sized Board Game Event for an RPL Class

CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.
CMU students play a life-sized version of Hungry Hungry Hippo during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.
CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.
CMU students play a life-sized version of Jenga during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.
CMU students play a life-sized version of Ker-Plunk during an event from an RPL class in the Finch Field House on the campus of Central Michigan University.


Annual Griffin Forum

Five state political leaders — including U.S. Sen. Gary Peters — shared their perspectives on how citizens can make a difference in today’s polarizing political climate at the Griffin Policy Forum. – Caption provided by Central Michigan University Communications


Women of CMU 12. Kathleen Trombley

Senior Kathleen Trombley poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University, Tuesday, March 28, 2017. “My definition of a feminist is just someone who understands the barriers rooted in this country that go against women and how difficult it is to triumph over those, but continues to do that anyway. Put in the work, put in the advocacy, the activism to try and override those barriers, because obviously they are unequal. So, just really trying to be as intersectional as well with your feminism. Knowing that everyone women of every demographic is involved and they all have equal opportunity to be present in this country as much as any man. I would say also that a feminist is someone who also does more to dismantle those (barriers) for other women, not just themselves,” states Kathleen.


This is our last #WomenofCMU entry. This journey was amazing and I have learned so much about women leaders on our campus and different perspectives on what it means to be empowered. I hope you all enjoyed this campaign as much as I did and I look forward to restarting it again next March in honor of Women’s History Month because there are so many more amazing women on this campus that deserve a shoutout.

Say hello to our final and 12th #WomenofCMU for this year, Kathleen Trombley. Kathleen is a senior here at CMU. She is a 2 year SAPA (Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates) member and is a program coordinator within the group. She is also an intern with the Office of LGBTQ Services here on campus since February since February 2016.ml

“With SAPA it really was my experience as a survivor that got me involved in the group and got me interested, along with some of my friends that came before and they would talk about it with me. I was like wow this group is amazing and they do such great work on this campus. So, with that having inspiring women in my life that helped me, kind of pushed me into choosing SAPA and also my experience asa survivor, it made me realize that this is something that I wanted. Something that I would be good at. For a while I felt like I didn’t really find my niche here, I was involved in other things but, I didn’t feel totally comfortable involved in what I was doing until I go into SAPA. With the Office of LGBTQ Services, I am a member within the community, so barriers and struggles for those that are LGBTQ+ have always been something that has been close to my heart. I really understand how hard of a transition it can be coming to college and not really having a support group…I wanted to be that person within the office that maybe someone who is a freshman who didn’t have that support, they can be themselves with,” explains Kathleen.

There is always a reason we get involved in the organizations we choose. There is a reason women on this campus are empowered. For Kathleen, she stated the administrators of SAPA were women who helped motivate her to be an empowered woman and the best advocate she can be. It is everything to have a mentor to guide you and help you become the best version of you. Talking with Kathleen, I could just see her passion on the topics previously stated. She glowed and just shows pride, which is what you want to see in someone who is an advocate. She even wants to be involved as an advocate career wise. Studying Family Studies here at CMU, she has so many opportunities to help people and continue make her impact on this world.

“I would really love to work with individuals who come from families of abuse, whether it be domestic violence or alcohol…along with working with individuals in the queer community who may have experienced those as well…I just really want to work with groups of people when it is difficult to have voice sometimes, because of pressures our society has on those groups of people. Like survivors of sexual aggression and LGBTQ+ people…As someone who is in both of those groups, I understand how hard it can be sometimes and how difficult it can feel to rise about what you have experienced,” states Kathleen.

Kathleen really fits with my 5 pillars of feminism (look at previous posts to learn more), but I also thinks she belongs with her definition, or any definition. She stated her mentors were women who showed what it meant to be dedicated and hardworking, but I see her also being that person, even though it was just a 20 minute interview. That, to me, is extremely powerful. Kathleen, like all the women in this campaign, in some shape or form have left their stamp on this campus and they will be remembered. I am honored get to know these women, their passions, and their perspectives on why it is important to empower women today.

“Negative statements (against women) they produce a toxic culture, where we feel like there is a hierarchy where some individuals are more superior then others. That culture, it makes it okay for people to commit violence or harassment against specific groups of people, making it harder for them (minorities) to rise up in our society as equals…I think women of the past are a great platform, but we need to do better. For example, Susan B. Anthony, she was a great woman, she was a great advocate for women’s rights and women’s voting but, she was also only focused on white women. So, when we look to these women of the past, we also have to look at their areas of improvements. Women of today, Elizabeth Warren or Michelle Obama, (we have to look at) what they are doing now and how inclusive they are being now,” informs Kathleen.

Thank you Kathleen for allowing me to speak with you. Thank you so much for you advocacy on this campus and the positive impact you are making.



Women of CMU 10. Payton Salomon

Central Michigan sophomore, Payton Salomon, poses for a portrait in the lobby of Larzelere hall on the campus of Central Michigan University, Saturday, March 25, 2017. “For me, when I first came to Central I thought feminism was something completely different than what is actually is. So, when I came to Central, I thought it was just females overcoming men, which I don’t feel like that defines feminism anymore. I feel that feminism is standing up for equality between men and woman and allowing us to be at the same point. Not as much equality, but equity too. They (men) get this privilege that we will never have and I think that by just giving us the same opportunities, we can do what we were meant to do and reach our own heights. Feminism for me is starting at the same point and allowing us to take is further…I want to have the same opportunities as everyone else,” Payton explains.


Say hello to our 10th #WomenofCMU!

Payton Salomon is a sophomore here at Central Michigan University studying in the Bio Medical field. She is in the honors college and a research assistant studying C. Elegant worms and their genetics involving stem cell research. When she is not in classes or doing research, she volunteers with the Flint Task Force Water Crisis on campus, participates as the Treasure for Larzelere Hall Council, and is soon to be a apart of Residential Life this fall as a member of Saxe Hall staff.

“I am going to be a doctor, no one is going to tell me I am not going to be,” states Payton

Payton is showing the world that gender does not matter when it comes to being a leader in this field. She is a woman in the STEM field and as a sophomore, she is already doing research. Research is extremely hard work; it takes up a lot of time and requires immense amount of dedication. She is  making an impact on campus by showing empowerment through women in science fields. Even in today’s society, there are still stereotypes places on women in these careers, but Payton has never let that stop her from following her dreams.

“I think it is very empowering, because I feel like a lot of people assume that it is going to be males (in the medical field). It also feels really cool when someone asks you, ‘oh are you going into the medical field,’ and they ask me if I am going to be a nurse or a PA, and I’m like nope, I’m going to be a doctor. Then they ask, ‘oh do you want to be an OBGYN?’ and Im like nope, I wanna be a trauma surgeon. People are kind of surprised, but they are always very like ‘ wow that is so cool of you, we need more women in this field.’ …I am going to be  woman taking on this role and it is going to be very satisfactory once I get there,” Payton explains.

In high school, Payton was a part of a competitive business group called “Business Professionals of America.” She came 2nd in the nation and 1st in the state for advanced spreadsheet application. This is amazing, because this part of the competition is very male dominant, so for Payton to show that she is a woman, she is smart, and kicking ass, she demonstrates that women can do anything and everything. Without her knowing it, these actions and the way she presents herself is positively impacting women. Payton is a prime example of what it means to be a powerful woman in a male dominated field. I am so honored to work with Payton on Saxe staff next year and in awe of all of her impressive accomplishments.

In addition, this campaign focuses on the empowerment of women. We all have our own views on how today’s society is when it comes to women and how we should be treated and loved. March is women’s history month, but lets not forget about the women of today, like Payton.

“So like obviously we do focus on women of the past because if you don’t know your history, it will repeat itself…But I think the women of today, a lot has changed in the past 100 years, from voting rights, women in the work force and stuff like that. We are obliviously still at a disadvantage and have stereotypes, but we have to see that we are so much different then where women were. Yet, we can’t just settle with where we are because of how far we’ve come. Women should not be paid any less then a man for a similar position or job, like I am literally so dumbfounded by that, it makes no sense to me…I think that with the political jazz that has been happening, I think it almost a step backwards. He is not saying things that are empowering women. He is not helping us rise to this challenge we are already given…Its 2017, we shouldn’t be treating a woman like an object anymore, and people still do. We are not trying to take two steps back, but at the same time put it in a positive light. Seeing someone with so much power say stuff like that, I think has caused quiet a bit of an uproar and a lot of people were really upset. It kind o lit a fire, if people were settling with how much progress we have had, you see something like that you are like ‘oh wait no, this isn’t cool, this isn’t going to happen’. It fires people up and people got more involved and more inspired,” explains Payton.

Thank you Payton for not letting anything stop you and pushing through any obstacle you face. You truly are an inspirational person and please continue to show people how amazing you are. You will be the best doctor and rightfully so.


Women of CMU 9. Ericka Magee

Senior Ericka Magee poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University, Friday, March 24, 2017. “I would define a feminist or empowered woman as someone who looks at women as a strong leader. Someone who doesn’t think that women should just be in a corner, or not listen to or be misunderstood. I think feminists are the people that value women enough to say ‘hey we have a voice as well and we are strong as well.’ …I feel feminists are the leaders that show, hey look we are doing this, and then they are the voices that show there are other people doing this as well,” explains Ericka. 


Ericka Magee is the 9th #WomenofCMU! Ericka is the President of Phenomenal Brown Girl (PBG) here at CMU. PBG strives to empower women of all ethnicities and diverse backgrounds. In addition, Ericka is a volunteer with the Volunteer Center and with PBG, she has been a site leader this past winter for Alternative Breaks, she is a member of Rampage Dance Team, and she is a peer advocate for international students here on campus.

“The need for more diversity on our campus in a different way. We do have a lot of women empowerment organizations, but they are directed to only towards African American women. For our organization (PBG), we wanted to have to have African American women, but open it up to other peoples as well, saying we do want to be empowered, but we don’t want you to feel like you are not empowered. We want to form a bond with all cultures, because if I don’t understand anyone else’s culture then I can’t believe I could fully be myself. What got me interested in (PBG) was that fact that everyone on our executive board, this is our first year, so we all push for the same goal. We want every woman on campus to feel empowered, not just one specific race or culture,” Ericka explains.

PBG focuses on four main values: mentoring, sisterhood, empowerment and service. This is PBG’s first year on campus and Ericka is a leader in making this organization start its lasting impact here at CMU. PBG hosts a lot of events and collaborations with others RSOs on campus.

“My goal is at the end of this is just seeing people grow. Like when I set up the E-Board, I set it up to people in places that they weren’t comfortable in. It is so great for me to see people reach those goals they never thought they could reach. Also, adding more people to our organization and encouraging them and pushing them to do things that they didn’t think they would,” states Ericka.

Even though PBG has just started this year, it has already impacted those involved. The courage to start a new organization and not know what could happen is extremely empowering. Ericka really shows her love for empowerment, mentorship and most importantly making all women feel equal. This is huge for our community to have. Ericka definitely fits with my 5 defined pillars of feminism (look at previous blogs to know what those are). We need to truly focus on the women of today, in our communities, our schools, because they are doing amazing things. Thank you, Ericka, for all that you do on this campus and empowering women of all cultures.

“I think we need to celebrate them (women of today) and continue to let them know that they are valued. I think a lot of people forget that you came from a woman. I know that is something that takes a man to do as well, as far as all the genetic things. A woman raised you or helped raise you, and I think that people forget that. A lot of times women do more than just housework, they go to work, they make money for the house, and then after an eight hour day they cook, they clean, and they take care of the kids. I feel like that is something very strong and a lot of people can’t do…We do need to celebrate that because a lot of times it goes unnoticed,” Ericka explains.


Women of CMU 8. Kara Agby

CMU senior, Kara Agby poses for a portrait in the Fabiano, Emmons and Woldt lobby on the campus of Central Michigan University, Friday, March 24, 2017. “Feminism is such a loaded word. Every person you ask will give a different answer and I think that is what makes it so unique. The whole movement is so unique. For me, when I think of feminism, I think of equality. I would say those words are nearly the same. I think of equality not only for women but the LGBTQ community, Black Lives Matter, whoever you may be and whatever identity you hold, that is what feminism is about. It is about getting everyone on that equal playing field. It is about creating equality. I also think it about not putting other people down about what their feminism is. So, if I look at you and that is a different feminism then what I am acting through. It wouldn’t be feminism if I put you down for that. So being a role model for what that equality looks like is super important,” states Kara.


Say hello to our 8th #WomenofCMU Kara Agby. Kara is a Resident Assistant in Emmons Hall, she is a member of SAPA, works in the East Area Success Center, is a part of the homecoming committee with the Student Activities and Involvement, she is an academic orientation mentor, and a CMU campus ambassador.

SAPA is one of the most impactful experience for Kara. This is her second year, going on three, as a member of this organization.

“I cannot give SAPA enough credit as an organization. Not only for what they have done for me but, what they do for others. I never thought I would be part of a group that had such an impact on people and knowing I am a part of that blows my mind. It almost doesn’t seem real at all. Something that I have learned from SAPA and all the people here is that stories have such a big impact. I have really gained a passion and interest in people’s stories and really listening to where they come from and what made them who they are today. There is so much value in where people come from…Through SAPA and to be able to be that listening ear to people has changed my life in so many ways,” explains Kara.

There are so many ways you can impact our campus. Kara does this as a SAPA member, but also as an RA. She works with first-year students in helping them find personal growth and their identity. In addition, Kara gets the opportunity to be the first face people meet when they come to CMU for a tour or orientation and getting the chance to impact them from the ground up. Kara just glows when she talks about her passions and her roles as a mentor.

“As far as empowered women, I think being a role model is so important. As a woman living the past 21 years of my life, you go through certain things and everyone’s life events look so different, but it is being a role model to other women saying yes I can do this, I am doing this, and you can do it too. Through everything I have done, I have tried to act that way as well and to not put others down for what their process looks like,” Kara states.

Kara explains that it was the mentors she had that encouraged her to get involved in the organizations that she is in now. They saw something in her and now she is experiencing that same feeling seeing that growth and potential in the students she mentors. Empowerment is a circle, once you empower someone, they will empower someone and so forth. Kara is a role model and fits with my defined pillars of feminism: dignity, self-responsibility, empowerment, acting in kindness, and using one’s voice for a positive impact. Kara is correct in her statement that we all define feminism differently, but one thing is that each definition intersects in some shape or form. Thank you, Kara, for all that you do for this campus and our Chippewa community.

“It is so important (to recognize women). I actually think about this l the time because where we are at right now, we are already a repressed group. Which, it really shouldn’t be that way because if you look at all the things women are doing and really all the things women have done in the past, we are right up there. I think that it is so important to recognize women of today because we look very different from the past. There is a quote, ‘if we fail to recognize the past, history will repeat itself,’ and so I think it is important to honor where we have been but so important to look at where we are now and where we are going…we are capable of som much,” informs Kara.


Women of CMU 7. Madison Rodriguez

Junior, Madison Rodriguez poses for a portrait in the Anspach study lounge on the campus of Central Michigan University, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. “To me, feminism is just promoting the equality of all genders. I think that is the most important part of feminism and I know that a lot of people misconstruct it. It is equality for all genders, equality in all senses, so social, political, economic, it is so multi-dimensional. A lot of people get left out in the conversation of feminism, queer women, trans women, women of color are left out of the conversation. I think feminism needs to be all encompassing of all women and of all people to promote equality,” states Madison. 


Say hello to our seventh #WomenofCMU Madison Rodriguez. Madison is the current President of the Organization of Women Leaders (OWL.s). With OWLs Madison gains opportunities to lead other empowered women and chances to stand up for domestic violence and women’s issues. Madison is also a mentor with a Native American program at Shepard once a week. She is a volunteer with the Isabella County rotating Homeless Shelter. She is involved in multiple writing organizations, such as Word Hammer and Poets’ Collective. Lastly, Madison is a leader with Central Michigan Action (CMA).

Madison actually brought back the “Slut Walk” to CMU’s campus and is leading OWLs in running the event, set for April 8cth. “Slut Walk” started after a recording of a police officer stating that women should not dress slutty after an alleged sexual assault. This spurred woman on campus across the country to march and protest the word slut, when it comes to sexual assault.

“What you are wearing shouldn’t matter. Those things don’t matter, in cases of sexual assault. So Slut Walk was born. It was sort of taking back the word ‘slut’ and just bring attention to the rape culture that exists on college campuses and slut shaming that a lot of women receive for reporting assault on campus…One of the things I wanted to do as President when I ran was to reinstate a Slut Walk, because I think it is so important, especially with the political climate that we are in now, we need that support more than ever…This Slut Walk is really aiming to be all inclusive, that is something that we find really important to us,” Madison states.

Being a member of OWLs, Madison is a defined woman leader on campus. Madison is from a small town and a catholic school system. She defines all odds to stand up for what she believes a woman should be and promotes that in her daily actions. People are afraid of the unknown and when a woman is strong and empowered, it can be scary for some closed minded people.

“An empowered woman has so many different faces. It is really just a woman who has the opportunity to be whatever she wants to be and loving what she is doing. I think my goal as a woman leader is that other women know whatever they choose to do, do so freely and enjoy it. I think we need to stop shaming women into believing that they should or shouldn’t do certain things and sort of let women make their own choices because, they are often really beautiful,” Madison explains.

Madison defines a woman leader as someone who has “passion, determination and makes a difference in their lives and the lives of others.” Madison basically describes herself with this statement. She is all of these things and so much more. She has been a part of multiple activist marches and rally’s on campus and even participated in the Women’s March in Washington D.C. She was also the student who received the infamous antisemitic valentine this February. Madison made sure that she informed her friends in the Jewish community and informed the campus community that this is not what CMU stands for, that we cannot accept this as okay.  Madison has already made a huge impact on CMU’s campus and fits perfectly with my five pillars of feminism. Thank you, Madison, for continuing to make a positive impact on Central’s campus and consistently standing up for friends, peers, minorities and issues that are close to your heart.

“We focus a lot on the past like women’s empowerment is done, like the fights over. We honor all these fantastic women of our past, who are so phenomenal, and thank them for all the progress like there is nothing else to be achieved, when in reality we still have a long way to go. I think that it is important to focus on these women of today. I don’t just mean big figure women. I mean women everywhere, women in small towns, big towns, women who stay at home, women who work, women everywhere…Just recognizing and promoting the strength of women. I think when we focus on those things we can just keep pushing forward. I don’t think the fight is ever going to be over, I think it is always going to continue, but we are taking steps, we are staying strong, and we are uniting together…keep fighting, keep being vocal, and don’t be silenced,” Madison infoms.

Women of CMU 6. Katie Rae

Big Rapids senior Katie Rae poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University, Sunday, March 19, 2017. “To me, a feminist is an empowered woman. A woman that is got a fire under herself to make the world into a better place, a better version of how she sees it. Create herself into a better version each and every day, striving to create a better world,”  explains Katie Rae 


Meet Big Rapids senior, Katie Rae. I have the pleasure of working with Kaite Rae in Saxe hall and knowing her for 2 years. Katie is an inspiring woman and someone I look up to, which makes me so excited to spotlight her in this campaign.

Katie has been involved in a variety of organizations here at CMU since she was a freshman. She is a Leader Advancement Scholar, she was the Vice President of Breaking the Silence: a suicide prevention RSO, she is actively involved in Alternative Breaks having been on 6 trips and sighting leading 2 of those, she is a Resident Assistant in Saxe Hall (with me), before Reslife she was a Leadership Safari guide for 2 years, she is a mentor through College 101: an organization that helps “at-risk” students find possibilities in higher education, she is a desk associate in the Residential Halls, and she is a life group/bible study leader with His House Christian Fellowship.

“Through the Leader Advancement Scholarship, I am a mentor. So each cohort gets to have a mentee in the cohort below you. I get to be the mentor to a girl named Amanda Yats, she is one of my favorite human beings on this campus, and it was really cool opportunity to really shape and help someone else’s  college experience…College 101, I get to be a mentor with that as well, with high school students who are labeled at risk. I get to be a person who looks at them in a different light. I get to look at them as a person that matters and I have no pre-conceived ideas of who they are. I am a free, unbiased face to them; just asking them what they are passionate about, what their goals are, and how I can help them get to college,” Katie explains.

Katie connects extremely well with those she mentors, but also with those she meets in her involvements or in her everyday life. She sets a spark in people and encourages them to find themselves. She event impacted a student with College 101 and she states her conversations with him was great because she “got to see a fire in his eyes and a spark within him that he wanted to pursue college. It was a different view that he’s ever had because he was never talked to in the way that I talked to him.”

In addition, Katie is actively involved in social justice issues. Through all of her Alternative Breaks, she has helped with historical preservation, suicide prevention with the Trevor Project: a suicide hotline for the LGBTQ community, hunger and homeless, adult special education, substance abuse with Harvest Farms, and lastly, working with the elderly. Katie could talk your ear off about her ABs, but the ones that made the most impact was the one involving substance abuse. Harvest Farms is run by The Denver Rescue Mission. Katie is now applying and trying for an internship with this organization to continue her passion that she found from her experiences.

“I have a huge heart and a huge passion for helping others in general, so there isn’t a specific issue that I am more passionate about because if I am helping in any I am having the time of my life,” Katie states.

Katie is an empowered woman and doesn’t rub it in your face, you can just feel it. She has a fire of her own and is truly going for a career in her passion of helping others. Katie 100% fits in not only my 5-pillar definition of feminism but any definition of feminism. She is proud, encouraging, outspoken, an advocate and so much more.

“We need to (spotlight empowered women) because we are an under-represented group. More women are graduating from colleges than men are right now and there are more women with leadership roles on campuses all over the world right now. That is under-recognized because, if you are looking at CEOs it is still men. I don’t know if that is a generation gap or if we get to that point as women and don’t feel that empowerment anymore to go above our typical expectations. It is super important (to recognize women) because women have huge hearts, and men have huge hearts too, but as women, as caretaker, we are very compassionate and I feel as though our world has been lacking that lately.So I think it is really important to empower women and to be an empowered woman in this society so that we can have a society of love, compassion and treating people as people,” Katie explains.

Thank you,Katie for focusing your energy on empowerment. You are a huge impact on this campus and you have helped so many. Continue to put your stamp on this world.

Big Rapids senior Katie Rae poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University, Sunday, March 19, 2017.

Women of CMU 5. Autumn Gairaud

CMU student Autumn Gairaud poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University, Sunday, March 19, 2017. “I would define a feminist as someone that believes in and advocates for equal opportunity for all people, especially women…,” states Autumn. 


Autumn Gairaud is a woman of many talents here at Central Michigan University. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Autumn on Sunday night to learn about her and her involvements on campus. Autumn is a member and the recruitment coordinator of Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates (S.A.P.A), an intern for the office of LGBTQ, is an activist with Central Michigan Action where she is the gender and sexuality campaign director, she is a member of Students Advocating Gender Equality (S.A.G.E.) where she is their “zine” editor, and  she is a member of College Democrats.

These are some of the most impactful organizations to be part of on out campus. First off, if you do not know, SAPA is an anonymous help-line to support students facing/dealing with sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, etc. SAGE is an organization that works to better gender equality, especially with the LBGTQ community. With this organization Autumn helped coordinate and facilitate a town hall on campus about the Gender and Sexuality Center campaign for the CMU and Mount Pleasant area. This event not only got campus new coverage, but local coverage as well, making a huge impact on our community.

“Throughout the semester I have done a lot of advocacy for that (Gender and Sexuality Center). So meeting with President Ross, met with him a few times, and helped put on the town hall. As well, Central Michigan Action has done a few protests and rallies throughout last semester and this semester on campus, both for the GSC and other stuff on campus,” explains Autumn.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and consistently fight for your views and values. Autumn does this with every single organization she is apart of, as well as in her daily life. When first coming to CMU Autumn met people in her Residential Hall who were involved in some activism on campus. In addition, Autumn is studying Political Science and wants to change the world and make changes in her community.

“I think it was just advocating for women and marginalized groups, like the LGBTQ community, was something I am really passionate about…I am a really firm believer that whatever side of the aisle, whatever your political policy is, getting more women elected into office, getting more LGBTQ people elected into office, and people of color is really important, because I think representation is important,” Autumn states.

There is a lot we can do for our community and Autumn has become a recognizable face for the issues she supports and fights for. Autumn is a self-defined feminist and for me that is the most powerful thing you can define yourself as. She fits into the 5-pillars of feminism (defined my me): dignity, self-responsbilty, empowerment, acting in kindness, and using one’s voice for positive impact. Thank you Autumn for all that you do, it was amazing meeting you, and you are truly and inspiration.

“I think that we celebrate women of the past because I think it is important to remember women have changed the world and I think it is important to remind each other of empowered women now because when are still changing the world and still making waves and organization things, like the Women’s March. I think when we look at things as just history it means that that’s been done and we forget to focus on the awesome things that are being done now. I think when we see that there are other empowered women making things happen, whether it is on our own campus, or in the state, or country, it can kind of re-engerize us when things seem impossible or tough…being reminded that there are other empowered women pushing through to what we have and still trying to make things better, I just think that can re-inspire and re-empower you that it is worth it to get up the next day and keep fighting for those things,” Autumn states.

Great work Autumn, keep doing you!

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