Class of 2020: Seshi Konu
Seshi Konu graduated from the School of Architecture in 2020 after serving as a Women’s Center intern during her second year at UVA.
I remember sitting in Humphreys my first year talking to my mom about the opportunity to intern with the Women’s Center. At the time, the mission of the Women, Girls, and Global Justice team (now Engaged Scholarship team) described the advocacy and activism I wanted to align with. I especially remember identifying with the “global” piece because I have always perceived the networked web of challenges we face and that a global perspective had to encompass the demands of both the local and international scales.
When I began the internship, I learned that addressing that network would begin with our rigorous study and interrogation of these topics in the classroom. I had originally passed off the engaged scholarship component as just being an interesting part of the program. I had no idea it would be one of my most formative experiences at UVA. The two-part Front Lines of Social Change course was not only a great way for all of the interns to get to know one another and collaborate, but it taught me how to begin to channel all of my passion for social, political, and environmental justice into action. We openly discussed, questioned, and challenged paradigms and dove into an intersectional study of women’s rights, activism, and advocacy. With my team, we pulled from all that we learned in the classroom to create programming for the Women’s Center.
The most memorable program for me was the Black Womanhood in College Workshop. During the spring semester, my colleague Taylor Hicks came up with the idea to invite young Black girls from local high schools to learn about college. We invited a guest speaker, organized catering, and created marketing. We faced challenges and had little wins along the way and were able to successfully execute the event. With the help of Jaronda, local high school counselors, Dejah, and the other interns, we were able to make this conference a sustainable reality and this experience is truly something I will carry with me for a lifetime. Time and time again, it was the leadership, collaboration, and devotion of this team that began to help me articulate and refine my purpose. Most of all, I cherish this exposure and network of amazing individuals who have challenged and pushed me to never lose sight of my goals and passions. Now not only do I have a myriad of valuable skills and working knowledge but I also have the confidence to use them.