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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
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Ryan Insley

Liberal Arts Major(s): English, Political Science, Philosophy
Minor: Communication Arts & Sciences (Rhetoric)
Hometown: Doylestown, Pennsylvania

What was the best part of your experience?

Through my experiences, I was exposed to a broad overview of our present civil rights struggle, including the multitude of hardships afflicting marginalized communities and the thousands of local, state, and nationwide efforts combating inequality and injustice across our country. I was able to engage with the continued movement for civil rights in the heart of our nation's capital, an experience I have always aspired to undertake. As a fair courts intern, many of my responsibilities circled around supporting the Coalition in their judicial advocacy efforts and directly participating in public activism. Furthermore, I was blessed with access to an incredible range of connections across the civil and human rights community. I hope to keep expanding my social network of amazing and dedicated activists and civic leaders through continued relationship building as a result of my experiences.

My passion for public service through civil rights advocacy was further kindled as I worked in the midst of the movement, and I have now been fully inspired to continue this line of work into the professional sphere when I graduate

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience allowed me to directly apply the knowledge gained in my coursework here at Penn State. Working successfully in civil rights requires a broad knowledge of the legislative, judicial, and executive powers that run the United States, an understanding of how the history of our nation impacts current sociological trends, and a grasp of how communications operates to project messages and influence audiences. Through my education in politics and rhetoric, I felt prepared to face the challenges surroundings those areas of knowledge in real-world scenarios.

How will this experience impact your career goals?

My passion for public service through civil rights advocacy was further kindled as I worked in the midst of the movement, and I have now been fully inspired to continue this line of work into the professional sphere when I graduate. Come Spring 2019, I will be using the resources of the Career Enrichment Network and Career Services on campus, and the connections I gained in Washington D.C., to apply to jobs in civil rights advocacy.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

I must offer my utmost gratitude to the College of the Liberal Arts for providing me much needed funding through multiple scholarship programs so I could remain financially stable as a student in our nation’s Capitol. Washington D.C. is an expensive city even to live outside of (between food, housing, and metro, the bills can add-up), and the scholarships I received were incredibly helpful in managing those costs. The fact that members of the Penn State family believed that my future and success was worth investing in means the world, and I aspire to make our University proud as I build off of the insights and tools I gained in Washington D.C.

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