Get to know Iris intern, Allyson Cartwright!
Year: Fourth
Major: English, minor Middle Eastern Studies
Hometown: Woodbridge, VA

What do you miss the most about your hometown when you’re at UVA?
The diversity of Woodbridge is something I’ve missed since coming to UVA where most people are of the same race and have similar backgrounds. I miss how back home you could be anywhere in town and everyone surrounding you is speaking a different language, has a different shade of skin, and belongs to a different economic background. Everyone is living in the same neighborhoods, going to the same schools, or eating in the same restaurants, so there is a community among people who are very different to each other, which instills beautiful tolerance and understanding among the people in Woodbrige. Being in that kind of diversity really makes me appreciate the uniqueness of individuals unlike myself and I wish I could experience it everywhere I go.

What drew you to the Women’s Center and your program?
I wanted to join Iris because I love to write and writing articles is my favorite way to learn more about things I’m interested in. It’s perfect that Iris promotes female empowerment because that is something I am passionate about learning about. I think women are the cornerstone of progress and writing about these women who are activating change in our community is really exciting!

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Something I think that’s different about me is that I love animals and really believe in animal rights. I won’t even kill a bug because I think that’s wrong. Too many people invalidate the lives of animals, but I think every life shares equal worth.

Tell us about the most influential woman in your life. 
Objectively, my mom is by far the most amazing woman ever. My mom is beautiful, strong, doting, sacrificing, resilient, and so much more. I credit all of my self-worth and self-love to my mom. I feel safe in this world to be myself because of how my mother supports and loves me unconditionally. Not only has she led me to love myself, but to be more loving to other people and animals alike. I think this world would be a more compassionate place if more people had a mom like mine.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
I would have coffee with Queen Elizabeth I of England. I was randomly obsessed with learning about Queen Elizabeth as a child. I would read books about her, had two obscure British TV show boxsets about her life, and would attend Renaissance festivals dressed like her. I was a weird kid. But, I think I admire her so much because she was such a fiercely powerful and dominating woman. She was the original glass-ceiling breaker.

What’s a fun fact you’d like people to know about you?
My life is controlled by cookies. I don’t think I could survive a day without eating at least one.