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Hello! I’m Kaelyn!

February 16, 2023
Hello! I’m Kaelyn!

I am the new Development Intern at ActionAid USA. In my role, I assist the Development team with managing donor care and stewardship, researching prospects, and any other tasks that need to be done!

I am incredibly excited to be starting this new journey. That is how I look at each job, internship, and class I have—a new journey. We learn so much about ourselves, the world, and others everywhere we g, and each journey takes us somewhere new…usually somewhere we never thought we would end up. I never thought I would have the opportunity to intern somewhere so amazing, but here I am!

I guess I should start with who I am. Of course, this question of “who am I?” is philosophical for anybody, but especially a twenty-one-year-old about to graduate college. When I was in high school, I attended a social justice camp in NYC for girls, and the founder called me outspoken. At the time, I took offense to this because I didn’t want to be seen as aggressive, controversial, or too frank. Since then, I have come to recognize the beauty in being outspoken. I know most people’s lives are not wrapped up in politics or social justice, but mine is and always has been. I am now aware of the importance of being outspoken, the importance of being critical of injustice, and the importance of speaking even when I am afraid of being controversial. It has gotten me to where I am today, and it will continue to bring me places where I can make a change in this world and fight oppression with my voice. So, one word to describe me: outspoken.

Anyways, I come from a small town in Upstate New York called Rotterdam (which I have always felt was the most fitting name for this town), and it sits about 30 minutes from Albany. Coming from a small, rural, conservative town, I have done what my family and almost everyone else I know did not: get out of Rotterdam. Of course, there is nothing wrong with staying there! It’s home, and I will always have love for the comfort that it brings me. But staying there would have never worked for me, and I am proud of myself for creating discomfort in my life for the greater good.

I have three sisters, a mother and father, a ninety-seven-year-old grandmother, and two of the best friends ever. I can’t forget my four nieces and nephews! Luna, Hunter, Soleil, and Riley. These are my people, my family, and I will always recognize them for supporting me and pushing me. If you ever ask me about my family, you will hear the most unconventional stories. My family is not normal, and not in a quirky way, but genuinely. I have never met a family quite like mine.

Someone I didn’t mention is my grandfather, who I have called Papa my whole life. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was sixteen, but I will always attribute my passion for social justice to him. He was a Union president in Upstate New York who planned strikes, got wage increases for many people, and had a furious passion for Unions and labor rights. Talking to him, coupled with my internet access at a young age, introduced me to social justice. At first, I was just an internet feminist at twelve years old, concerned with why girls couldn’t wear shorts or tank tops to school. And yes, this is something to discuss and think about, but there is a whole world of oppression outside of this. Then, when the Black Lives Matter movement really began in 2013/2014, I had my first argument with a teacher in my eighth-grade history class. From there, I began to educate myself on the U.S. history of white supremacy, the crushing effects of patriarchy, and the oppressive capitalist system we see today. I eventually ended up as an intern for the Capital Region’s Human Rights Symposium in high school, organized the second largest march in Albany’s history (March for Our Lives), co-organized the Women’s March in Albany, volunteered for some local politicians, and more!

That is how I ended up at American University, one of the most political schools in the country. I am studying Sociology with a focus on Social Justice and Inequalities. I went into school as an International Studies major, then a Political Science major, and eventually, I found Sociology and all the pieces fit together. I absolutely love sociology; I think it answers the question: “Why is our world the way it is?” I am also minoring in Queer and Sexuality studies. I love being a part of the queer community and learning more about the impact of gender, sexuality, and all its nuances.

Now, here I am! After an internship at the International Women’s Forum, a short internship for a political podcast, and many (many!) part-time jobs, I am at ActionAid USA! I am incredibly excited to learn more about the impact of development on the work that AAUSA does. Learning more about this nonprofit, I am ecstatic about the ethical nature of this organization and team. Thank you for not taking money from PayPal; I am very passionate about Palestinian justice.

I am excited to get to know everybody, and regardless of my wordy stream of consciousness, I hope you got to learn more about me!