Kate Mathews is a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire studying Human Development & Family Studies and minoring in Social Justice Leadership. Giving back to the community is at the core of Kate's engagement on and off campus. Kate came to campus a week prior to the start of her first year to do volunteer work with the PrOVES program, and now is one of the program facilitators. She participated in the Changemaker Fellowship, is a member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, is a teaching assistant at our on-campus Child Study & Development Center, and is a College Ambassador for the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement. Kate is also employed in our Civic & Community Engagement office as the Day of Service Coordinator. Kate is committed to promoting social and emotional learning in communities, and to engaging her peers in meaningful service to others.
The strengths-based perspective that is central to the classes I've taken as a Human Development and Family Studies undergraduate has greatly influenced my approach to social justice work. Appreciating strengths has encouraged me to ask questions such as “What qualities do I possess that can have the greatest impact in the organizations I participate in?”, or to explore more broadly what features have consistently made activism movements successful. Belonging is a word that is of great importance to me, again influenced by my coursework in creating environments conducive to personal growth. When people feel that their voices are valued in the organizations they are part of, both the individual and group have greater capacity to make sustained change. This is why I became a leader for PrOVES, a service program for incoming freshmen - to connect students to resources and peers who genuinely want them to feel confident in themselves and welcome in a new environment. I'm enthusiastic to learn more about creating community spaces through this fellowship, as it's an asset to remaining hopeful- a mindset that is necessary in sustained fights for change.