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Student Spotlight: Mayura Iyer

Get to know Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Mayura Iyer!

Year: "5th year" (Batten 5-year BA/MPP Program)
Major: Foreign Affairs Class of 2015/Master of Public Policy Class of 2016
Hometown: Vienna/Reston, VA

What do you miss the most about your hometown when you’re at U.Va.?
I grew up next door to my cousins and my aunt and uncle, and so I miss having that big family presence when I'm not at home - but it also means coming home for the holidays like Thanksgiving is the best part of my year.

What drew you to the Women’s Center and your program?
Violence against women has always been an issue close to my heart, and the Women's Center commitment to social justice, particularly within the Charlottesville community, is something that resonates deeply with me. Having been here for 5 years, Charlottesville has become my second home, and being a GVSC intern felt like the best way to give back to a community that has done so much for me.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I've been told I pronounce "pizza" weirdly.

Tell us about the most influential woman in your life.
My mother is the strongest and hardest working woman I know. As an immigrant, she and my father worked incredibly hard to provide me with opportunities they did not have and to give me a life better than their own. I'm constantly in awe of her and strive every day to be a 10th of the woman she is. She speaks 3 languages fluently, has more degrees than I ever will, graduated in the top 3 of her class consistently and did it all with much less than I have. Even if we disagree she has always supported me in everything and is the source of my independence, my determination, and my ambition - I truly am my mother's daughter. She's my best friend and my role model and I could honestly not speak highly enough of her.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
I'd honestly love to have coffee with Deray McKesson - who isn't a historical figure but is a current activist in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. He's a Teach for America alumnus and has done a lot of work in education policy - which is the field I want to enter - prior to founding WeTheProtestors, and I think he's such a fantastic person within the modern day civil rights movement and I'd love to speak with him more and learn about his experiences.

What's a fun fact you'd like people to know about you?
I love to play piano, and I once played at the Kennedy Center!

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