Alyssa Wadlin '17 Empowers Women and Girls

January 13, 2017

Alyssa Wadlin

Alyssa volunteers with Strong Women, Strong Girls!

What's your major at Simmons?

I’m a double major in sociology and political science.

What made you make the move to attend Simmons?

I chose Simmons because of its mission to link students’ passion with purpose. My high school principal is a Simmons alumna and she was a highly influential figure in my life. I knew that I wanted to be part of a community of people like her, who empowered one another and encouraged success.

Tell us about your work with Strong Women, Strong Girls. 

I’ve been a mentor with Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) for four years and a chapter director for three years. During my time as chapter director I’ve had the opportunity to grow as a leader. I've supported planning for four field trips for over 100 girls to come to Simmons, multiple bake sales and campus fundraisers, social media outreach, chapter bonding and more elements of SWSG that have all served as invaluable learning experiences for me.

What are some lessons you've learned from community service?

It's not a one way street. I don’t describe my work with SWSG as me helping the girls I mentor or giving something to them. The girls that I mentor don’t have any deficiency that I'm looking to fill. 

Community service is about standing in strength and solidarity with one another and growing together. The girls that I mentor have taught me important lessons that will stick with me — and the relationships that we've built have been mutually beneficial.

What's your favorite part of your work with Strong Women, Strong Girls?

The bonds built over time. I've spent the past three years mentoring at the same elementary school in Jamaica Plain and there are many girls that I've mentored for all three of those years. The bonds I've created with those girls, and all of the new girls each year, are something I'm truly grateful for. I’ve gotten to know their educational and career aspirations, their strengths and their personalities. Each girl is unique and I appreciate the opportunity to get to know and learn from them each year.

Why are organizations like Strong Women, Strong Girls so important?

Organizations like SWSG that work with girls are influential in combatting gender inequality from an early age. Research shows that girls' self-esteem peaks for life at age 9. SWSG works to empower girls to imagine a broader future through a curriculum grounded on female role models. By providing girls with role models that they can relate to and using a strengths-based approach, girls are encouraged to believe in themselves and their goals.

What's your Simmons moment?

My Simmons moment is always the Fall Connections Carnival. Each year, we receive nearly 75 applications to join Strong Women, Strong Girls and our table at the Connections Carnival is always buzzing with excited students. It represents the dedication that Simmons students have to empowering future generations of girls and working to create a more equitable society. In reviewing applications and interviewing new mentors, I get to know the stories of so many Simmons students in a way that focuses on the reasons why they are strong. It reflects the strength of Simmons students and the mission of Simmons to use our passion and purpose to do good.