One of the most meaningful experiences for me in APO has been participating in Prisoner’s Express. When I first began volunteering for this event, I worked to create book packages to send to inmates across the country. However, I truly began to connect to the event when I decided to enroll as a penpal in the Prisoner’s Express project. As a penpal, I was matched with an inmate and was able to read and respond to an incredibly moving letter. The process has been so significant for me because it has really allowed me to connect with an individual through a process I have never experienced before. It has truly opened my eyes and I am so grateful to the program for providing me that experience.
Joining APO, I learned the power of outreach by connecting with other students outside my social circles in order to come together to organize meaningful events. For example, in the process of creating my pledge project, I was able to work with MILRSO, an organization within the ILR School. Together, we worked to create positive and meaningful posters highlighting diversity and self-love. This project also pushed me to expand my APO circle; later in the year, I became the Family Head of Guardians. As my time in APO grew longer, my connections became deeper and I am really thankful for that.
I am incredibly passionate about advocacy work towards uplifting and representing those who are underrepresented or silenced in various communities. As a daughter of political refugees, this means that I am particularly passionate about immigration advocacy around undocumented immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. I have worked to explore this topic through both a legal and policy lens, from working on research within the ILR School that analyzes the consequences of policy failures to drafting potential legislative solutions as an intern on the Hill. Overall, my desire to serve others during my time at Cornell, and eventually throughout my career, is a large reason why I enjoy being a part of APO.