Meet our 2015 Summer Leaders


Chloe, Tina, Sruthi, Susan, Madison
Maya, Jishava, Shajaya

We're thrilled to have such a great group of women interning with us this summer! Read on to learn about our eight Summer Leaders, who are spending the summer gaining experience in social justice organizing, leadership training, and front-line research, as well as a first-hand awareness of the problems facing low-wage workers. Then head over to their blog to find out what they've been up to recently.


Chloe

What makes you passionate about working women's issues?

I'm passionate about education in general. To me, it's the key solution to many social issues. 

How does this internship fit into your plans for the future?

In the future, I want to work for a nonprofit organization whose mission focuses on women or education. WE is the perfect opportunity to focus on both of my interests. The bottom line is that women deserve to have an equal opportunity for success.

Who is a woman that inspires you and why?

Any woman who embraces herself and her ability to empower others is an inspiration.


Jishava

Why are you excited about the Summer Leadership Program?

I am excited to immerse myself in advocating with people who themselves are affected by employment barriers. This is my first time off the East Coast, which in itself is exciting.

How does this internship fit into your plans for the future?

I am interested in community organizing and advocacy work after graduation/for life. Being here, working with WE, is an opportunity to explore different kinds of organizing and advocacy roles and find my niche.

Who is a woman that inspires you and why?

Solange Knowles: Who else can be sisters with Bey and slay while still being so down-to-earth and real?

Sarita Gupta: She reminds me that South Asian women can make it out here on the left and run things.


Madison

Why are you excited about the Summer Leadership Program?

I'm excited to work at the organizational end of a nonprofit. I've only done volunteering with nonprofits before, so I'm looking forward to approaching it from a new angle.

What makes you passionate about working women's issues?

I'm passionate about women's issues overall. Having a stable job and ability to support ourselves is a fundamental issue for women.

What is a fun fact about you?

I've watched every episode of Law & Order: SVU on Netflix. (Is that fun?)


Maya

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Why?

For a couple years, I worked at Forever 21. It was the most strenuous and horrible job I’ve ever had. The hours were unstable, the pay was low, and I was on my feet the entire day. We were treated as though we were disposable and expectations were impossible for us to meet. Seeing the way we were treated in that space showed me the value of workers’ rights in the workplace.

How does this internship fit into your plans for the future?

My dream is to fight social justice for the rest of my life, so Women Employed fits perfectly into that plan! Advocating for women, migrants, LGBTQ folks, and youth is my passion and lifelong journey.

What’s your secret talent?

I play the ukulele! :)


Shajaya

How does this internship fit into your plans for the future?

After I finish my undergrad degree at DePauw University, I want to pursue a J.D. combined with a master's degree in gender studies. Different universities combine the J.D. and master's with experimental learning in clinics, schools, and shelters.

Who is a woman that inspires you and why?

I've had a former teacher who is like my mom in many ways. She is assertive, smart, passionate, kind, and supportive. Because of her encouragement, I applied to universities outside of Chicago, and I'm studying abroad.

What is a fun fact about you?

I'll be studying abroad in Buenos Aires in the spring with a program on social movements and human rights.


Sruthi

What makes you passionate about working women's issues?

My parents are both immigrants, and when my mother came to the U.S., she found herself having to balance a job, getting an education, and having a family. She worked extremely hard, and I am lucky to have the benefits of that hard work. It was difficult for her, and I want to work toward easing the lives of women just like my mom.

What's the worst job you've ever had? Why?

Dog-sitting, as a part of a political internship, for my boss.

What’s your secret talent?

I can cross my eyes for extended periods of time.


Susan

Who is a woman that inspires you?

If I had to choose only one, it would be my mother, who at 80 still works at Walmart and tries to help her family.

What makes you passionate about working women's issues?

As a single mother of four who stayed home with my children for 10 years, reentering the workforce has had many challenges. Not having the funds to make ends meet has been very stressful. I would like to make a difference for other women.

What’s your secret talent?

I am a henna artist and face painter.


Tina

How does the Summer Leadership Program fit into your plans for the future?

My desire is to work in higher education as an advocate for students.

Who is a woman that inspires you?

My mother, Rosia M. Watson. She was a victim of domestic violence for many years; however, she got the courage to leave and made our lives better. Before the age of 50, she went back to school and earned her associate's degree and has been a successful small business owner for over fifteen years.

What is a fun fact about you?

I really love scrapbooking, making cards and vision boards, anything creative.