The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

The Future is Bright: Class of 2021 Farewell

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At the beginning of the 2020-2021 STAND year, we had no idea if the Managing Committee could be as close, supportive, and impactful as usual with all of the challenges of the pandemic. We’ve been blown away at how the team has become a true community that has run some of our most effective campaigns ever – while never meeting in person!

Under the leadership of these four graduates (soon to be alumni!), STAND has grown its grassroots reach, attracted discussion with high-level experts, and become a more inclusive and accessible movement. All of these women are continuing their studies related to international issues and atrocity prevention. They remind us every day that the future is bright, and we are so hopeful for their next steps. Thank you, and congratulations!

Abby Edwards (co-Student Director), Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris

Copy of 9I7A3692You have really taken on the co-Student Director role as your own. Thank you for sharing your ideas and making them come to life, from the Book Club to your conversation with Ambassador Power. You built up the East Turkistan Action Committee from scratch, forging partnerships and delving into complex policies. You are also STAND’s top merch model! You have a unique blend of skills in creative, managerial, and forward-thinking areas that will serve you well in grad school and beyond. I will miss the many, many Slack messages and jokes throughout the day, but I’m so excited that you’ll be in DC. You’re welcome to come see Travis anytime. –  Laura Strawmyer, Program Director

Abigail, I will never forget the time I first met you during the August 2019 retreat when you were so jetlagged but refused to take a nap during the day. You have always been so goal-oriented and persistent. I will never forget how much fun we had making the GFA Campaign with other fellow STAND members. I’m glad to have met another friend at Columbia and happy that we have been able to share our love for the school and President Bollinger. It has been great to see you go up from MC member to SD and it has been rewarding to see your growth as a leader. You are so incredibly talented and nice and it’s hard to find a friend like you. It’s not easy to do 2 bachelors in 4 years but look at you! You have excelled in many ways (through extracurriculars, academically and more) and I know I’ll be reading your autobiography in the future. I’m going to miss you a lot but I know you’re doing great things in the future. I’m so excited to see the amazing things you’ll do in the future as a great lobbyist and even better skier. Glad to have been your conference and lobbying buddy. – Aisha Saleem, co-Outreach (University) and co-Yemen AC Lead

Abby, thank you for putting forth effort and talent during your time here in STAND. You never cease to amaze us all and the best part? This is only the beginning. Your leadership and passion shines through in everything that you do. You are truly a powerful voice and force. You are going big places and I cannot wait to see all of the amazing things that you will accomplish. Working with you has been an absolute honor. I think I can speak for us all when I say thank you for teaching us and guiding us in any and all ways. From the GFA to tea chats and painting calls, getting to know you has been a blast. I’m going to miss seeing your smile on zoom calls!! Thank you for your dedication and I wish you the best in all of your life endeavors. You have been such a great friend and leader, and we are all so proud of you. – Jordyn Galvan, co-Policy and Communications Lead

Abby!!! My East Turkistan Action Committee buddy (and the person who always reminds me to do the things I forget to do)!! You have been a WONDERFUL co-Student Director this year and9ED95028-947D-422F-8A33-9F3E5BC09750 have really made my first year on the MC so fun and meaningful! Your work leading both our Action Committee and STAND itself has been really incredible, and I have really had the best time working with you. You just do so much and are always involved, and I am in awe of your incredible activist organizing skills. Also you’re just so kind and helpful, always ready to give me college advice, tour me around the campus, or help me develop my own skills as an advocate. We have really become close this year and I have absolutely loved my time with you! You’re always ready to have a funny icebreaker or host our next iconic bonding activity, and I love that! This year has been amazing thanks to you! I know you will be amazing in grad school and I really can’t wait to see where your life takes you! I know we’ll stay friends, and I know you will do amazing things in the future!!! One last woooo for you!!!! -Grace Harris, co-Xinjiang AC and co-Outreach (High School) Lead

Megan Rodgers (co-Student Director), University of Arkansas

IRF 3It’s a rare thing to find someone as compassionate, driven, and knowledgeable as you! I have so much respect for how you’ve forged your own path from unlikely circumstances and never let a challenge keep you down. I was so amazed by your knowledge and conviction from the first time I saw you lobby your representative and handle difficult questions with grace. You have left a mark on how STAND works on displacement and refugee issues. We needed your caring leadership during this tumultuous year. Thank you for shepherding the State Advo Lead program this year in addition to the MC. I can’t wait to see you in DC soon and follow what you do next! –  Laura Strawmyer, Program Director

Copy of Imagen de iOS (3)Megan, I’m so glad to have met you in the August 2019 and January 2020 retreat before COVID hit! I remember how we bonded over having 4 siblings as we ate pizza and how you talked about your sister in law who had the same name as you! I’m so glad to have seen you grow from the position of DRC AC lead to the SD. You excelled in both roles and always had a smile on your face. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been to manage school (and your insane 3 majors) and all those extracurriculars, but congratulations on graduating! Everyone knows this but you are incredibly hardworking and driven, and it’s so amazing to see how much effort you put into the stuff you care about. You are genuinely a kind person and I am so excited to see you go. You’re going to do great things and the drive you have will take you far! Good luck with everything and start happy :) – Aisha Saleem, co-Outreach (University) and co-Yemen AC Lead

Megan, no matter if it’s in a Zoom call or at an MC Retreat, I know that I will always see you with a genuine, warm smile on your face. Your amazing personality, optimistic spirit, and loving heart shine through in every conversation I have with you. I remember the first time I met you at the August 2019 retreat, where our first conversation was about it being both of our first times to Washington DC. You’re truly one of a kind– you constantly work to better your understanding of the world around you, you’re the first one there to offer words of encouragement, and you bring out the best in everyone who works with you. I’m continuously inspired by your kindness, humbleness, and love of life. I feel blessed to have worked with you these past two years, and I know that you will do incredible things in your life. I’ll miss us hanging out at in-person retreats, but I know I have a forever friend in you! -Claire Sarnowski, co-Outreach (Fundraising) and State-Level Education Lead

Jan Jan Maran, George Mason University

JM 2JAN JAN! Seeing your advocacy blossom within the last year has been a beautiful sight. In every post, speech, conversation, video, and poem, you can hear and feel all of the love and care that you carry for your community. The personal connection that you carry with your advocacy shines through and shows just how strong you are. Your sleepless nights and consistent efforts do not go unnoticed and I truly believe that YOU specifically will bring forth so much change for your community. Your bubbly personality, creative perspective, and dedication brings forth such a strong voice and I cannot wait to see the places you will go. You are one of the most hardworking people I have ever met. Thank you for being such a great colleague, advocate and friend. I hope I can meet you one day, just know that no matter where you are, we are sending our support. I’m so honored to have met such a strong individual. You are changing the world for young women everywhere and seeing you do it from your most authentic self is the best part. Sending you love, luck and support in everything you do. Keep shining bright Jan Jan, I believe in you. – Jordyn Galvan, co-Policy and Communications Lead

Jan Jan, you were kind to me before you even really knew me, and that’s just the kind of person you are.  You are dedicated and caring, and you are always making sure that people are included and represented, whether it’s members of our team or people around the world. It has been so incredible to see you advocate for your community and all people in Burma with such love and genuine care.  Everything you do is so personal, and that’s what makes it meaningful. I know that it’s been a lot of sacrifice, but I hope you know that your work is really making an impact, and everything you have done has been worth it. You have inspired so many of us already, and I’m always learning from your advocacy. Your positive and optimistic personality always makes it a treat to work with you, even when things are getting to be heavy or tiring. STAND won’t be the same without you, but I can’t wait to see what you do next! -Mira Mehta, co-Yemen AC Lead

Image from iOS (44)Jan Jan you are literally the sweetest person and I know you will continue to do the amazing things you’ve already been doing! I love your passion and enthusiasm and you really are such a good writer! I love seeing your heartfelt poems on social media. You have done an AMAZING job in your Burma advocacy both with leading an amazing committee and with bringing in community members to join our work. Everything you do is just so meaningful and I know you really put all of yourself into your work. It really has been amazing working with you. this year, from late night bonding calls to being lobbying partners to making really bad art! While we’ve never actually met in person, we’ve become friends this year virtually and I really can’t wait to see what you do next! Whatever you decide, make sure to take time for self-care because you totally deserve it!! Good luck for the next big stage of your life, I know you got this! Woooo!! –Grace Harris, co-Xinjiang AC and co-Outreach (High School) Lead

Jenna Walmer, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

In shirts (1)Jenna, working with you this year has been such an amazing experience. You’re so incredibly intelligent and kind, and you’re always willing to take the time to explain things. You are so passionate and ready to dive into things, and you bring such a fun energy to everything you work on. I loved getting to know you — from watching you be amazing in GFA videos over the summer to seeing your amazingly detailed full year CCC plan (I wish I could do that) and getting to work on that with you. You are so much all wrapped into one — an athlete, an advocate, a professor, and an influencer — and that showed in the way you approached everything with such creativity. It was so cool to see you come up with news, different ways to pull in different types of people and groups and make our work accessible and interesting to everyone. I’m going to miss working with you, but I know you’re going to be doing amazing things. Wishing you lots of love and luck; we’ll all be watching in awe! -Mira Mehta, co-Yemen AC Lead

Jenna, thank you so much for all the work you have done for STAND. I remember the first day I joined the MC about five months ago, and you were so welcoming, accepting, and helpful. At the retreat, when I was new, you were there right away to give me the help I needed. Also, Congratulations on committing to Syracuse! Both of my parents graduated from Syracuse, and I am certain that you are going to do amazing things and thrive there, as you always do (P.S. my parents said that you should shop at Wegmans because it’s awesome). From all the amazing work you have done for STAND to your newfound career as an influencer, I just know that you are going to be successful with whatever you end up doing. I’m so sad that I won’t be working with you in STAND anymore, but I am so proud of you for everything you have done and everything you are going to accomplish in the rest of your life. – Allison Weiner, Sudan & South Sudan AC Lead

Image from iOS (56)Jenna my CUQ (conflict update queen) and all around goddess- I’ve beyond loved working with you this past year and appreciate your dedication and witty humor that makes everything that much better. You’re so so knowledgeable and one of the smartest people I know- it’s very intimidating and I remember being kinda scared of you LOL. I always enjoy your hilarious snaps and am hoping that your influencer career will take you far. Thanks for always being literally the best partner I could ask for and for serving as an amazing role model both for me and everyone else on the team. I’d wish you luck in all your future endeavours but I know you don’t need it :)  You’re awesome and so deserving of all the great things you’re going to do!! – Caroline Mendoza, co-Education and co-Burma AC Lead

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