Aimie Kawai: Alumni Spotlight

One of the great things about the work that we do here at Global Visionaries is being able to watch the students who’ve been a part our programs grow into young adults who go on to do some pretty interesting things – and knowing that in different ways, sometimes big and sometimes small, we had something to do with it.

Aimie Kawai went to Guatemala in the summer of 2009.  She joined the GV Youth Board the following year as a senior in high school, where she worked as part of the Pro-Justice (PJ) team and helped pass on her knowledge and experience to the incoming group of First Year Leadership Program students.  Through her interactions with Mario Flores, our Program Outreach Manager, and her experiences as a PJ facilitator, Aimie began to develop an interest in teaching others about injustice.

We’re proud to report that Aimie is currently attending Brown University and studying modern US history (find out why she settled upon this in her own words below).  This summer, she is undertaking an internship with The Mentoring Partnership of New York (MPNY), where she is helping the organization promote the growth of mentoring by providing training and technical assistance to over 180 programs across all five boroughs.  In particular, she will be working on fundraising and other events to promote the visibility of the work of the organization.  When asked if there were any connections between her decision to work for MPNY and her time with GV, she says it is possible.  Aimie thinks that her interest in the educational aspects of MPNY’s work may have come from the PJ work that she did as a GV youth board leader.

As for the future, Aimie isn’t quite sure yet, but she thinks that she may work with youth in some capacity.  For now though, she’s planning on taking some time off from school next year.  Aimie hasn’t taken any trips outside of the U.S. since her time with GV, but thinks that Ecuador may be in the cards.  Or maybe spend some time in South America doing research into justice issues surrounding incarceration.

Or, perhaps, she’ll find herself WWOOFing.  What’s THAT you ask?  It stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is an exchange program where in return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts will provide food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.  What a way to take your experience to the next level if you happened to be a part of the coffee work team during the GV trip!

1.  In what ways have your experiences with GV provided you with additional insight or understanding during the course of your studies?   For example, would you say that your perspective of modern US history is enhanced by your exposure to pro-justice issues?

I think my experiences with GV helped spark an interest in understanding history from multiple perspectives.  My work with pro-justice issues in particular exposed me to ideas of structural inequality and how that has shaped our country and our country’s history.  I have gone on to study these concepts in greater depths, really enjoying learning about the US through a variety of lenses in order to get a greater scope of understanding.  I like learning history beyond just the bare facts of what has happened, but rather as a history of social factors that have led to different events.

2.  How do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve gained as a result of GV will help you in your internship this summer?

I think the skills I learned as an intern and a facilitator will help me in my internship this summer.  I began to develop skills that help me find out where things need to be done and what needs to be accomplished in order for events (such as auctions or workshops) to be successful.  This confidence and assertiveness comes from experience, and continues to develop in my work in NY.

3.  Please tell us more about your ideas for what you might do with your time off from school.

I am not sure of my plans yet due to certain complications, but ideally I want to spend some time at home with my family and some time exploring a new place. I want to use this semester to relax and take a step back so that I will fully appreciate my spring semester of college.  However, at the same time I hope to challenge myself in one or more directions.  I think that one way that goal will be reached is through travel, and exploring a new country and culture.


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