An intern’s perspective on what we can learn from DreamWakers’ Women’s History Month flashchat series
For Women’s History Month, DreamWakers hosted a series of flashchats across the U.S., amplifying the voices of women making #HERstory today. Inspired by these conversations, I decided to highlight some stories from the amazing women in our community who have been working to empower other women throughout this month and beyond.
GChat for Good: Using Your Voice to Empower Others
Ms. Molly Pyle, Senior Manager of International Summits at Singularity University, spoke with Mrs. Rosenberger’s 10th-grade AVID class about the importance of technology and its ability to create a more equitable, inclusive, borderless future for all. Before this conversation, Mrs. Rosenberger’s students had discussed the importance of equity and access as it pertains to their future as first-generation college students. As a first-generation college student myself, I know that the idea of attending college can feel daunting — you don’t know anyone who has done it successfully before, the forms and applications are difficult to fill out, and for many, it will be their first time away from home. Yet, at times like this when it is easy to feel powerless, Ms. Pyle reminds students:
“You have so much power as an individual …I started to realize that manifesting things that you want is possible for you. You have to be willing to be proactive, to go out and get it, and talk to people. If you use your voice, if you try to accomplish the things you want to, you will succeed.”
Technology, as we have seen from our flashchats, can start to bridge inequity in the world, but more importantly, we need students in the future to believe they can create this change, especially the girls who are told they don’t belong in STEM industries. By speaking to Ms. Pyle, the students in this classroom learned that not only can they fit into this world, but they can do so comfortably, harnessing their power to transform the world around them. Students realized, as Ms. Pyle put it, “ there can be powerful women in an industry dominated by men” — a realization that showed students there is room for them not only in these industries but also in higher education.
Designing Your Dreams: Taking Initiative in Your Life
While Ms. Eneia White now designs homes for the rich and famous as the owner of her own company, Eneia White Interiors, she explained to students that she was not always a part of this world. Growing up, she didn’t have the opportunity to talk with career professionals or meet with people in her community who had followed a similar career path. Rather, she made the decision to become an interior designer after watching episodes of HGTV, a television network dedicated to interior design. So when speaking with students from DC Prep, Ms. White encouraged students to speak with people and explore possibilities they otherwise would not consider. After the flashchat, one student said: “I had never considered this as a career before, but now after speaking with a professional, this is something I might want to pursue.” Representation matters. By sharing her story, Ms. White was able to show students they could also follow their dreams — even if they have only seen them on TV.
Hustle to Gain More Muscle: Building Resiliency
Ms. Caitlin Rush works at Twitter’s Washington, DC office as a client partner. She loves her current profession, but when speaking to Ms. Knoxville’s class, she opened up about the fact that she was laid off from her first job. For Ms. Rush, this was a devastating obstacle, but she reminded herself:
This wasn’t going to be the end. I did have value to offer to a company or someone else. It was a reminder that this doesn’t define me. This setback, this hurdle, is not who I am. I am so much more than that; I have so much more to offer.
As women, there are many hurdles we must overcome, not only in our careers but throughout life. Once you hear the word “no” for the hundredth time, it’s easy to feel defeated or to want to give up. However, Ms. Rush reminds us that “resiliency is one of the best kinds of muscles you can hone.” Practicing resiliency means bouncing back from difficult situations and actively working to overcome them. Just like building a muscle, practicing resiliency might hurt a bit or take time, but in the end, you’ll be stronger for it.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: The Women Behind the Blog
As I write this blog, I can’t help but reflect on how the women at work empower me. The first internship I have ever had has been as an Education Technology Intern for DreamWakers. Before this internship, I had never experienced having a “real” job — that is, one where I got up each day to go into an office, wearing professional attire and giving input in meetings. I was excited to start working at DreamWakers, but I was worried I wouldn’t fit in or that I didn’t have the experience that they were looking for. However, after speaking to all the women on my team, my worries disappeared. They have all taken me under their wing and helped me grow into my role. I feel proud to be a part of an organization that not only highlights the ways women empower other women, but also actively makes sure to empower the women around them like me.
Written by Ashly Paulino, DreamWakers Education Technology Intern
As I write about Women Empowering Women, I also want to let readers know that during the COVID-19 pandemic, DreamWakers is working hard to empower educators, students, families, and communities at large. If your classroom is going virtual, DreamWakers is here to support you. Reach out at [email protected] or via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!