Hello and welcome to the 2015-16 school year! I am excited for this upcoming year, and I hope you all are too.
My name is Mikayla Sievers. I am a third-year student, double majoring in Spanish and Public Relations. I grew up in Richland, Washington, which is one of the Tri-Cities. I graduated from Richland High School and attended Columbia Basin College as part of the Running Start program before UI. After graduation, I want to work in a non-profit organization that helps people from other countries navigate the United States. I also am considering going to graduate school for Latin American Studies and/or law.
Two of my biggest passions are learning Spanish and studying Hispanic/Latino cultures. I wanted to learn Spanish at age six because my best friend was Mexican and could speak it. I was not able to start until middle school. I took Spanish through middle and high school and now am pursing a Spanish degree. I worked at a bilingual elementary school two summers ago, and many of the students were from Latin American countries. I joined a Mexican folklore dance group this summer and hope to perform again with them in the future. Recently, I studied in La Habana, Cuba. It was an amazing experience. Cuba and other Latin American countries have so much to offer, and the people are friendly. My goal is to visit every Latin American country: I have two so far.
But Latin America aside. I am involved in PR Club, Digital Media Club, Movimiento Activista Social (MAS) and Lutheran Campus Ministry. I also am a Peer Minister at the Campus Christian Center. Being involved on campus gives me the opportunity to meet new people and gain knowledge. In my youth, I participated in various types of dance like ballet, jazz, lyrical and modern. I also performed in plays and musicals. I love participating in and exploring different performing arts.
I am excited for the opportunity to write for the Women’s Center Blog this semester. I think women’s issues and equality are important to study in society. Many women in the United States are the primary income for their families, and they do not earn as much as their male counterparts. Several women receive no paid maternity leave. Body image continues to be a problem for numerous women and young girls. Many women live in fear due to gang violence, drug and sex trafficking and authority figures like police. In order to help women, I think we need to educate the public and provide women with the support they need.
I also feel that we can learn a lot by looking at other cultures. While I was in Cuba, I saw and learned how women are treated on the island. Cuban culture is different. Cuban women are able to attend the university and work in whatever career they want. The mother is the most important figure in the house, and this is true in other Latin American cultures. I appreciated being able to see the world from another perspective. I imagine those who have studied or lived abroad know how this feels. If we in the United States applied ideas from other cultures, many women and people in general would have better lives.
I am thrilled to be writing about issues that are important to me, and giving these topics a voice. I hope you will enjoy, and I wish you all the best this semester!