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Is this the perfect response to anti-vaxers "There's A State Of Emergency In Washington Thanks To Anti-Vax Parents"?

Oh please who do you think is behind that fearmongering? For measles lol"Since people cannot be vaccinated against their will. the biggest job of a health department has always been, and always will be, to persuade the unprotected people to get vaccinated. This we attempted to do in three ways: first by education; second, by fright; and third, by pressure.We dislike very much to mention fright and pressure, yet they accomplish more than education, because they work faster than education, which is normally a slow process.During the months of March and April we tried education, and vaccinated only 62,000. During May we made use of fright and pressure, and vaccinated 223,000 people.Our educational program consisted of warnings in the daily papers, small-pox posters on the streets, in stores and factories, special small-pox bulletins for all large places of employment, and special letters to all large employers from the health department and the association of commerce, calling their attention to a threatening small-pox epidemic. The radio was also made use of in this work.As the conditions grew worse, we felt justified in using stronger measures. We had some good pictures taken of patients suffering from the confluent type of small-pox, and had posters, showing these pictures, distributed all over the city. The moving picture theatres cooperated at this time by issuing warnings on the screen.The newspapers published daily the names and addresses of people dying from small-pox. A second letter was sent to all factories, stores, and other places of business, informing them of a rapidly approaching small-pox epidemic, and advising them to have their employees vaccinated immediately, and thereby prevent a serious financial loss to the city, which might occur if a real epidemic developed.At this time the department was vaccinating thousands of people daily, but there were still too many who could neither be educated nor frightened into vaccination. Cases and deaths each amounted to a considerable number, and we now felt justified in using all of the power a health officer has, and if that was not enough, to get more.We sent out a third letter to all employers requesting them to have all of their employees vaccinated and at the same time informing them that if a small-pox case developed in their place of employment in the future we would consider their place of business a menace to the health of the community and very likely place the entire establishment under quarantine until it could be cleaned up and made safe for the public. Putting this responsibility on the employer drove in thousands of anti-vaccinationists who could better afford to get vaccinated than lose their jobs. All employees co-operated very bravely with this last request, although in a few instances it was necessary to lay off old, reliable and valuable employees."-----Declaration by Dr. John P. Koehler, Commissioner of Health of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in an article in The Wisconsin Medical Journal, November, 1925."Dr. med Martin Hirte writes on page 20 of his book 'Vaccination--Pro and Contra': "To create fear among parents to strengthen their motivation to vaccinate is an important part of the publicity used to promote vaccinations. A whole branch of research is examining the question: 'What level of fear needs to be created to appear as convincing as possible?'"---Buchwald md (The Decline of Tuberculosis despite "Protective" Vaccination by Dr. Gerhard Buchwald M.D. p104)"There is no doubt, however, that the risk has been, for some years, vastly exaggerated, seemingly to prepare the public mind to accept the new (diptheria) vaccine."---In the Medical Officer, January 25th, 1936, DR. E. A. UNDERWOOD, M.O.H. for Shoreditch, declared: "Fear is the greatest of all propagandists. During the early part of the present year (1935) diphtheria was extremely prevalent in many parts of the country, and reports in the press diffused knowledge of the dangers of the disease" (not, be it noted, of the dangers of inoculation). "The result of this knowledge, which was stimulated by the personal efforts of members of the health department staff, was a very marked increase in the number of children who attended for immunisation." (p. 38; my italics.)“A top spokesman from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last April told doctors that emphasizing "alarm" and "dire outcomes" from the flu increased demand for flu shots, according to an outline of his presentation reviewed by United Press International.That official -- outlining for doctors what he called a "recipe" for increasing demand -- said that "heightened concern, anxiety and worry" drove demand for flu shots......The recipe includes "framing of the flu season in terms that motivate behavior (e.g., as 'very severe,' 'more severe than last or past years,' 'deadly')."..............A vaccine safety advocate said the CDC's rhetoric does not match the risk from flu. "We have known for several years that the CDC is employing behaviorists and communications specialists to instill fear and anxiety in the public about infectious diseases in order to promote mass vaccination.”“I always know when it's flu season. First, the media begins its usual role as hyterical government press secretary, uncritically trumpeting the same cooked numbers about the coming flu epidemic. ... NBC's Today Show (10/6/04), warn that the flu kills about 36,000 people every year in the United States. .....It's a crock, a lie, and a sham; a conspiracy to generate fear and stampede people to use a vaccine of questionable effectiveness to the benefit of pro-immunization bureaucrats, and big pharma. Sounds harsh, but follow the math and the money. When the major manufacturers of flu vaccine get together with the CDC in a closed door summit with the sole purpose of figuring out how to stick 185 million doses of a questionable vaccine into a population in which less than 1,000 people a year die, what should we call it? Yes, Virginia, it is a conspiracy. Luckily the conspirators are foolish enough to believe that their website is safely hidden amidst all the chaff of the Internet, or else, are so brazen in their contempt for the general population that they think we can't do a little math and conclude "The vaccine doesn't work, and the flu is a flim-flam!" The CDC should concentrate on finding ways to lower the spread, working alternatives to vaccines, and ways to minimizing the severity of the flu, rather than pumping out fake numbers, creating an aura of fear and hysteria, and shilling for profits to huge pharma companies. “"What Jenner discovered, though hardly original in its general principle, was that it pays far better to scare 100 per cent of the fools in the world—the vast majority—into buying vaccine than it does to treat the small minority who really get smallpox and who cannot afford to pay anything. It was indeed a very great discovery—worth thousands of millions. That is why this kind of blackmail is still kept going."--Dr Hadwin"Finally, Dr Nicholson described the campaign as "a gift horse" for the two drug companies, which still had vaccines in stock intended for use with the combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)......The stocks of the MR vaccine were still current, but had to be used by autumn 1994, just when the campaign took place. "The campaign provided a very lucky break for the two vaccine suppliers “Mmr is SatanicWe only see measles as a problem due to Allopath fearmongering to sell vaccination"It is well known that measles is an important development milestone in the life and maturing processes in children. Why would anybody want to stop or delay the maturation processes of children and of their immune systems?"--Viera Scheibner"Chronic tendencies, such as recurring respiratory infections, often heal after measles. Chronic health problems disappear, such as psoriasis or chronic kidney problems. The children’s hospital in Basle (Switzerland) used to get children with chronic kidney infections to contract measles intentionally in order to heal them, up until the 1960s . Children susceptible to infections are healthier and stronger after contracting measles; the need for medical treatment clearly decreases . Children in the Third World countries are less likely to contract malaria and parasites after measles . The risk to suffer breast cancer decreases to less than half. MS is also much lower in people who had measles. Hay fever is more rare in children who have older siblings and had measles than in those who were vaccinated against measles . A large African study showed that children who have had measles are 50% less at risk from allergies than those vaccinated,. Furthermore it is shown that experiencing measles protects from diseases of the immune system, skin diseases as well as degenerative cartilage, bone and tumourous diseases."---"In Eastern medical philosophy, poisons are believed to accumulate in the baby's body during life in the womb. After birth, the body at some time attempts to rid itself of the poisons. This leads to the many childhood diseases with eruptive rashes, and in particular, measles. Since the 16th century, it has been realized in Eastern medicine that measles is connected with infection. However the basic function of the disease is the same: the infection is regarded as the necessary agent for poisons to "come out". So, although the dangers of measles are clear, the illness is seen as a step towards overall health.Measles as a transition. The impact of measles can be best understood by observing changes in your child's behaviour, attention and attitude before and after the illness. Often, he or she is restless and irritable for some weeks or months before developing measles as though a storm is brewing. The family and other people around the child often greet the appearance of measles with relief, because at last the cause of the problem is evident. As the rash develops, and the disease goes into its second stage, the child becomes more confused and irrational. This is the most dangerous phase, and it represents the transition point.At this time, the body turns the corner as the poison leaves and the immune system gains the upper hand against the invaders. Then, as the crisis passes and the fever subsides, the child's awareness returns -- but with a different outlook. The negative and irritable behaviour has gone, and he or she is emotionally delicate and open to new influences. The child sees ordinary and familiar things in life for the first time, but through new eyes, as though he or she has had a form of ritual experience.On the physical level, the poisons accumulated during life the womb have been expelled. At the higher emotional and mental levels, negative forces such as greed and selfishness have also been expelled. So a child who has measles is afterwards less self-centered and more openhearted, and often more able to express his or her individuality. The personality becomes rounder and fuller, and more joyful and contented, as a step towards maturity and adulthood.""Children who are fed too frequently or fed improperly, and who are troubled with constipation and the passing of undigested food with the bowel movements, are made susceptible not only to diphtheria, but also to scarlet fever, measles, whooping-cough, etc. Indeed, it can be proved that normal, healthy children--children who have bowels that are regular, and who are not troubled with intestinal indigestion--cannot be made to take any of these diseases."--Tilden 1921"Measles is the manner in which a child's body throws off toxemia. When children are cared for improperly, they become toxemic, and their skin eliminates toxin to a greater degree than does the skin of grown people."--"It is my belief that measles heads the list of the diseases of childhood which are the result of starch and sugar toxemia."-(Food is Your Best Medicine)."I have myself, through Natural Hygiene, over 16 years, treated all forms and hundreds of cases of typhus and typhoid fevers, pneumonia's, measles and dysentery's, and have not lost a single patient. The same is true of scarlet and other fevers. No medicine whatever was given".--Dr Trall 1860.Febrile infectious childhood diseases (FICDs) are associated with a lower cancer risk in adulthood.A Swiss study found that adults are significantly protected against non-breast cancers — genital, prostate, gastrointestinal, skin, lung, ear-nose-throat, and others — if they contracted measles (odds ratio, OR = 0.45), rubella (OR = 0.38) or chickenpox (OR = 0.62) earlier in life:Febrile infectious childhood diseases in the history of cancer patients and matched controls.Chicken pox and reduced rates of brain cancer in adulthood:History of chicken pox may reduce risk of brain cancer later in lifeMumps and reduced rates of ovarian cancer:Mumps and ovarian cancer: modern interpretation of an historic associationMeasles and reduced risk of lymphomasMeasles - Disease Information Statement (DIS) - Physicians for Informed ConsentAnd on the contrary....both the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and chicken pox vaccine contain human DNA which has been linked to childhood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, autoimmune diseases and gender identify confusion....Marcella Piper-TerryFebrile infectious childhood diseases in the history of cancer patients and matched controls.#vaccines #measles #cancer #wedid #crazymothers #hearthiswell - Fermented FarmacyAs to treatment it was always safe in healthy children eg my whole school of 110 kids got measles I was first and spent nice few days in sickbay just for isolationAnd safe with all kids under proper medical care even 100 years agoNo one before the vax fearmongering started ever feared measlesThat’s homeopathy and naturopathyWhile nutritional medicine proved vit c made it safe 70 years ago eg Klenner in 1950s"But the ordinary child who gets measles, even the child with a moderate degree of malnutrition and so forth, if you give intravenous vitamin C supplementary to other forms of treatment, the response very often, not always, is absolutely dramatic If you get them early enough. You must get them early. If you delay, and they have been unconscious let us say for days, or a day or two, you cannot reverse it. The damage is permanent. If you get them early, give them this treatment and there is no problem. And that makes me very, very angry, because they talk about "Oh, we must stop these kids getting measles" and so forth. Well, all right, I can fix them if they get measles."---dr k(International Vaccine Newsletter June 1995)Vitamin a"Knowing that measles often leads to vitamin A loss, we had begun to wonder if Africa's high death rates from measles might also be connected with vitamin A deficiency. To test this, children hospitalized with measles in Tanzania were given vitamin A capsules. The **measles death rate fell by half**. It was at this point that we discovered, to our astonishment, that a similar experiment had been conducted 50 years earlier in a London hospital - with the same results: medicine too has doors it did not enter, paths it did not take."--Sommer“If a source of vitamin A, such as butter, cod-liver oil or egg yolk formed a part of the diet, infective lesions were never seen in the rats and the addition of these substances to the deficient diets, unless the animals were too severely infected, generally resulted in rapid improvement and ultimate cure.”---Mellanby"There is a "cure" for measles. It is called vitamin A... cod-liver oil. As early as 1932 doctors used cod-liver oil to reduce hospital mortality by 58%, but then antibiotics became the treatment of fashion, *(Clin. Infect. Dis., Sept. 1994, pg 493) *and vitamin A was ignored until 1980. A 1993 study showed that **72% of hospitalised measles cases in America are vitamin A deficient**, and the worse the deficiency the worse the complications and higher the death rate. *(Pediatric Nursing, Sept./Oct. 96.) *Yet doctors and hospitals in New Zealand do not use vitamin A."As to the Allopaths solution to measles it can only be described as satanic"AT LEAST 26 families claim their children died as a result of the controversial measles, mumps and rubella jab, the Sunday Express can reveal. In some cases the Government has awarded parents up to £100,000 under its 1979 Vaccine Damage Payment Act. In others, post mortem reports concluded the jab was the most likely cause of death. Despite this, the Department of Health insists no child has ever died from MMR."MMR diseases (Lawyer list many years ago, UK). Legal aid was withdrawn, see MMR legal fundingAutism (287), Crohn’s disease and other serious chronic stomach problems (136), Epilepsy (132), Other forms of brain damage (induding meningitis, cerebral palsy, encephalopathy, encephalitis etc.) (77), Hearing and vision problems (81), Arthritis (50), Behavioural and learning problems (in older children) (110), Chronic fatigue syndrome (41), Diabetes (15), Guillain-Barre syndrome (9), Idiopathic thrombocytopaenic purpura (and other purpuras) (6), Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE) (3), Wegener’s Granulamatosis (2), Leukaemia (1), Multiple sclerosis (1), Death (18).how they make the Measles vaccine, start at 5:00. "I found a CDC paper called '*Isolation of the Measles virus*.' If we think a patient might have Measles get some fluid from that patient...and put in fridge. Next, get a marmoset monkey, kill it, take it's cells and put cells in cell culture because they are 10,000 times more responsive to measles than our human cells. The cell culture isn't ready yet to grow measles virus. Next thing is to make the monkey cells cancerous by exposing to radiation. Next give those monkey cells Epstein Barr virus, which is a horrific disease. Next, add a toxin to the cell culture that is so dangerous the advice is to wear rubber gloves, don't let human skin touch it. The CDC says at this point the cells are starting to fall off the sides of the vessel, in other words they are poisoned, they have cancer and EBV and they are falling over, they are ill. Give them 2 days to recover and add nutrients. Now get sample out of fridge and add to these diseased and cancerous cells. Watch with microscope for 2 days. If after this time 50% of the cells are distorted then you have an isolate of measles virus and you are instucted to put in fridge and keep to be used as vaccine. At no point is measles virus seen, at no point is the measles virus proved to cause the illness in the cells. We know they are poisoned, we know they have been given cancer & Epstein Barr syndrome. That is now ready to be made into a vaccine to be put into our kids. This noxious mixture is the basis that can be used in vaccines." Janine Roberts on Vaccines (Janine Roberts on Vaccines)The five stages of vaccine awareness1. Vaccines are safe and effective2. Vaccines are unsafe but effective3. Vaccines do more harm than good4. Vaccines are ineffective and dangerous5. Vaccines are silent weapons for human farming: killing, sterilising, mind control, and disease creation for fear and income. Vaccine advocates are psychopaths or useful idiots“Vaccination is child abuse and a crime against humanity.” - Dr Buchwald MD''Vaccination is not disease prevention - it's a particularly nasty form of organised crime in that it manipulates parents' protective instincts to get them to submit their child into getting poisoned for profit under the guise of disease prevention.'' ~ Erwin Alber."The greatest threat of childhood diseases lies in the dangerous and ineffectual efforts made to prevent them through mass immunization.....There is no convincing scientific evidence that mass inoculations can be credited with eliminating any childhood disease."-Dr Robert Mendelsohn (received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Chicago in 1951. For 12 years he was an instructor at Northwest University Medical College, and an additional 12 years served as Associtae Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He was also President of the National Health Federation, former National Director of Project Head Starts Medical Consultation Service, and Chairman of the Medical Licensing Comittee of the State of Illinois.)"Parents who allow their children to be vaccinated should be charged with child abuse and sent to prison for a very long time."---Dr Vernon Coleman MB (Coleman's Laws.)"The 'victory over epidemics' was not won by medical science or by doctors--and certainly not by vaccines.....the decline...has been the result of technical, social and hygienic improvements and especially of improved nutrition. Here the role of the potato...deserves special mention.....Consider carefully whether you want to let yourself or your children undergo the dangerous, controversial, ineffective and no longer necessary procedure called vaccination, because the claim that vaccinations are the cause for the decline of infectious diseases is **utter nonsense.**"--The Vaccination Nonsense (2004 Lectures)---**Dr. med. G. Buchwald **“I the first to announce the "autism epidemic", in 1995, and I pointed out in that article that excessive vaccines were a plausible cause of the epidemic. As you know, an enormous amount of clinical laboratory research (as opposed to epidemiological research), has been accumulated since that time, supporting my position. (I did not know then that the vaccines contained mercury, although I had been collecting data since 1967 from the mothers of autistic children, on any dental work they may have had during their pregnancy.) The evidence is now overwhelming, despite the misinformation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine.” ~ Bernard Rimland (November 15, 1928 – November 21, 2006) was an American research psychologist, writer, lecturer, and advocate for children with developmental disorders. Rimland's first book, Infantile Autism, sparked by the birth of a son who had autism, was instrumental in changing attitudes toward the disorder. Rimland founded and directed two advocacy groups: the Autism Society of America (ASA) and the Autism Research Institute."We have about 30,000 or 35,000 children that we've taken care of over the years, and I don't think we have a single case of autism in children delivered by us who never received vaccines.......Every doctor now essentially in this country has done something as heinous as the Nazis did, unknowingly." ~ Dr Eisenstein MD“I think that the biological case against Thimerosal is so dramatically overwhelming anymore that only a very foolish or a very dishonest person with the credentials to understand this research would say that Thimerosal wasn’t most likely the cause of autism……you couldn't even construct a study that shows thimerosal is safe. It's just too darn toxic. If you inject thimerosal into an animal, its brain will sicken. If you apply it to living tissue, the cells die. If you put it in a petri dish, the culture dies. Knowing these things, it would be shocking if one could inject it into an infant without causing damage." ----Dr. Boyd Haley, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Kentucky and one of the world's leading authorities on mercury toxicity.

How well does attending a magnet high school prepare students for college and beyond?

The following is an interview with someone who attended one of the top magnet schools in the US and is perceived by many to be one of the top secondary schools in the world.I dare you. I double dare you. If you read Yekaterina (Katya) Davydova's interview I dare you to say you have not received some of the best words you have ever read about getting an education, about preparing for jobs, and about how to contribute to others’ lives all along the way. You think I am exaggerating? I dare you to prove me wrong.*****************************************************************Can you give ups some information about your background. Are you the oldest, only middle, youngest? What is your family like and where did you grow up?Stemming from a Russian heritage, I was born in and spent the first seven years of my life in Uzbekistan, where economic, political, and life conditions were not ideal, to say the least. Food and goods were scarce, yet I still had a pretty good childhood--I remember playing in the yard with friends, which was enough for me. My parents were go-getters and sought better opportunity in America, so we emigrated after winning a Greencard lottery, and had to literally start over to learn the traditions and customs of the great United States. As an only kid, all the pressure was on me to succeed, and it was expected that I get perfect grades (anything below an ‘A’ had consequences). I loved growing up in the northern Virginia area, though, because I did well in school, enjoyed and pursued activities like gymnastics, ice skating, and reading, and made good friends. (Our closest family friends also won a similar lottery and moved just 30 minutes down the street.)"Portrait of a Young Child with Parents (Haha)" --Katya's titleYou attended what many (including me) think of as one the best high schools in the world. Do you agree and if so why and if not why not? There have been articles that have come out recently about all the stress that occurs at schools like TJ. Did you find that to be true? What did you like most about TJ?Attending TJ, to my parents and me, was just considered the next logical step, and I was expected to get in and do well. The reason we moved to Fairfax County in third grade, I later found out, was so that I could have access to the best education in the country, as the media confirmed (and, of course, I thank my parents for opening the doors for me to seek my own success).It is difficult for me to objectively judge whether TJ was indeed one of the best schools in the world, because I was so entrenched in that environment, and I didn’t know anything else. Sure, I’d heard of base school friends hanging out after school on weeknights and getting out at 2:20 every day to chill and play videogames, for example, but it seemed that at TJ, everyone around me was competing to see who got the fewest hours of sleep the night before, or complaining that they’d gotten a 93 on a test instead of a 94, and badgering their teachers to give points back. (Granted, that mentality sometimes prevailed within me, too, since I was [and am] a perfectionist who strived for the best).Stress-wise, I do not think 14-18 year olds should be put under such tremendous pressure to excel in academics, sports, extracurriculars, and maintaining sanity (many students didn’t; mental health was a taboo issue, and I know kids who truly suffered). My routine was getting up early to catch the base-school bus to Fairfax High School, then bus 45-60 minutes to TJ, learn until 4 PM, do homework and go to gymnastics practice, get home at 10:30 PM to eat and continue homework into the morning hours, and then sleep before the cycle started again. I underscore that that was the norm for me, and I was lucky to have the support of similarly-busy peers and friends. Despite the crazy hours, breakdowns at one in the morning, and the pursuit of perfection (partially exacerbated by my own and my parents’ high standards), I’m glad I went to TJ (though think I could’ve done just as well and been less stressed at a base school).The curriculum taught me to be prepared for the arduousness of college and allowed me to pursue unique passions that were less available elsewhere. For example, I studied astronomy for a year, and subsequently devoted my senior project to the subject, and loved it! I also was asked to be a football manager (and learned how to balance the demands of junior year), was captain of the gymnastics team for two years and absolutely loved the sport and my teammates/coaches, and enjoyed learning Spanish through the highest level and competing in speaking and writing contests. The thing I choose to remember most fondly was the friendships that I developed that still continue to this day, and the teachers who challenged me and fueled my curiosity and voracity for learning. I was hungry to learn, and that need was certainly satisfied.Lunch at TJ :Katya, 2nd from left, back row, with friendsHow did you manage to balance the high level of academics with all of your extracurricular activities? Which of your activities meant the most to you and helped to shape the person you are now?Do you know how people say, “I don’t have time for X!”? (I say that all the time too, oops.) During school, I made time for what was important; unfortunately, there’s no magic answer or Hermione’s time turner, as much as I wish there were more hours in the day!Since staying busy and trying to achieve the best in school was all that I’d ever known or done, I continued to prioritize that. In college, would there be times when I’d be outlining a paper on a Friday night in, or sitting on my roof writing my thesis, watching the party house next door thrown down on a random Tuesday afternoon? You bet. But I also recognized the value in committing myself to extracurriculars, and blocking off chunks of time to devote to them, since that’s how we garner relationships, mind-growing experiences, mentorship, and fun. One thing that helped me keep organized was my agenda, where I meticulously wrote everything down (assignments, excursions, concerts, etc.), and had to be consistent with my workouts, since that helped to structure my day. I also relied heavily on lists (of things to get done within a few hours, that day, that week, and longer-term). Actively writing my plans down made it possible to keep everything in scope and on track!As for activities, I was one of the first members of the CAV XFIT Club, which reenergized my workouts, taught me proper lifting form, enabled me to compete on ESPN’s Battlefrog Obstacle Course Race--and, most importantly, was a breeding ground for close friendships I maintain to this day. Slavic Student Association gave me a home among my fellow Russians, and it was great to be on the exec board as a sort of mentorship coordinator (hmm, realizing that the mentorship theme runs rampant throughout my life…!). The coed honor fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, exposed me to just the most incredible individuals and taught me the value of making time for fun and letting loose--the experiences I’d had with my brothers I wouldn’t trade for the world. Of course, being a Career Peer Educator was pivotal both times--since I was able to grow as a leader and presenter, and discovered and fostered my love for helping others in career-related fields--not to mention the sheer number of wonderful connections. Finally, being a Resident Advisor was extremely gratifying and difficult, since, despite lonely times and putting 25 other girls first, I look back on memories with my residents so fondly. (One night, they decided to put makeup on me, and it looked AWFUL, just terrible. None of us could stop laughing; and I’m still laughing out loud as I write this. They were the best.)The key point here is that throughout these activities, it was the people involved that helped to shape my experiences and the person I am today. In times of stress, it was sometimes hard to remember to disengage from work and spend time with others, something that I still struggle with, but ultimately, friends and basic human connection make the world go round.Katya and friends in "high stress" stats class at TJI know this may be a bit of an embarrassing question but here goes: have you always known you were smart? Or maybe a better way of saying it when did you become aware that you were intellectually gifted?I am flattered; thank you! And slightly surprised actually, since, sure, on paper I suppose I could be considered “smart” according to the numbers and accomplishments, but that’s not how I necessarily define myself. Again, it was expected (externally and internally) that I excel in everything, so I tried very hard and I guess it paid off. The trajectory was getting into the GT program in third grade, attending TJ, and then an excellent university, and in my mind, it didn’t happenbecause I was smart, it happened because I had a drive to succeed and I worked my tail off. I wasn’t really aware that I was “intellectually gifted” as you say, because I didn’t really know anything besides being in an intellectually-stimulating environment. It was probably only in college, where I got exposed to students and townspeople with such varied backgrounds, that I realized that I was lucky to have and pursue such fervent academic opportunities. Two things I’ve always known, though, were that I was curious and hardworking. I believe that got me where I am today.TJ senior year promHow did you go about deciding which universities to apply to and then how did you end up choosing the one you did? How important was your acceptance into the honors program to your decision? How did the Echols program help you during your 4 years?I only (“only,” by today’s standards) applied to five schools: three in-state and two out-of-state. The non-Virginian schools were fits-to-reaches (one was a highly-ranked private university; the other, a difficult-to-get-into school as an out-of-stater), while the Virginia schools besides UVA were pretty much guarantees based on academics and extracurriculars. The results played out as such--I got into the three in-state schools and neither of the-out-of state schools. I knew I was going to apply to UVA due to several reasons: it was the best option financially, it was one of the best schools in the country, and if you went to TJ you pretty much applied to UVA. (Rightfully so, since a quarter of our graduating class went to UVA. [They capped the number down severely after I graduated.]) Plus, everything that I’d heard about UVA and when I visited (and met you, Parke!) pointed to a great fit, and I was overjoyed when I got the acceptance letter.I remember feeling slightly surprised that I didn’t get into the Echols program when some of my friends did (and we all knew each other’s stellar GPAs--told you TJ was a highly-competitive environment!), but didn’t give it much thought afterwards.However, at the end of my first year, I applied and was accepted into the Echols Scholars program, since I’d randomly found out about that possibility, and, again, was very pleased. By the end of first year, though, I had completed most of my general education requirements so I wasn’t using the program in order to get out of taking those classes; instead, I liked the potential to sign up for classes earlier, be a part of a smaller community, and just feel more in charge of my education. All three aspects played well in my favor, since I was able to advocate for myself when negotiating hard-to-access classes through the double major and minor, was part of a motivated group of students who’d had fantastic opportunities like dinners with professors, and got invested in the program by becoming an Echols Scholar Peer Advisor (and Echols activities at Days on the Lawn) since I loved mentoring other students! To be completely honest, it didn’t really feel like I was in an honors program at all (and was surprised at the question!); I didn’t think of myself as “Katya the Echols Scholar”--I was just a student who was lucky to (and, admittedly, had worked hard for) have gotten exposed to such terrific opportunities.Third Year Slavic Student Association Exec TeamCould you talk about your NSF research project? How did you get it?The Virginia Tech Undergraduate Research Experience (REU) was one of the best summers of my life--period. The academic and intellectual takeaways were gargantuan, but simply can’t compare to the people that made it possible and are some of my closest friends today.I first heard about these NSF-funded programs from my psychology major advisor, and remember working hard on the lengthy, essay-laden application. I was choosing between conducting original research for the summer before my 4th year of college, and Wediko, an intensive summer camp for children with emotional and mental disabilities. The REU would have augmented my research skills (I’d already had two years under my belt as a psychology research assistant), while Wediko would have played to my people-connecting strengths and garnered me exposure to behavior therapies in an immersive environment. Ultimately, I was accepted into both, but decided to go to the fully-funded (housing, meals, transportation) REU program because research “looked good” (and, yikes, I look back on this now and cringe, since I was aiming for a PhD in clinical psychology at the time), I wanted preparation for my thesis (to be decided 3 months after I sent in my application), and it seemed like a more rigorous option (since I’d already been a camp counselor for two summers past).Best. Decision. Ever.The nine of us came from varied backgrounds, half from community colleges, and the other half from ALL over the country (Utah, Indiana, New York, etc), and were assigned professor mentors who would guide us on independent research projects. I was in a lab that championed Actively Caring for People, and since I was interested in social behaviors, decided to investigate likeability versus popularity (think the movie Mean Girls) among the college population. I had summer school students come in and take surveys, and then analyzed the data, created and presented a poster, and also crafted an audio-visual PowerPoint presentation.It was a terrific learning experience because we got an overview of the research process: literature reviews, data analysis through SPSS (I remember my mentor stayed up with me and a fellow student until midnight running results), poster creation, and confidence-building through presenting. I grew as a researcher, truly, and that helped me with my thesis just a few months down the line.The biggest impact of this program, though, were the people. My roommate, Hadley, is one of my best friends to this day; my mentor, Shane (at that time a grad student under the rather inactive professor), has remained a mentor and dear friend (and I recently worked with him on the foundation which he started!); and I keep in touch with the other program participants and VT students (visiting them as far as North Carolina and Arizona). That summer, immersed in research but also in the mountains and nature of Blacksburg, the experience allowed me the freedom to pursue knowledge where I was constantly supported and challenged, and also to explore a brand new world (literally) replete with long runs, sunshine, and endless happiness. (Does this sound like a plug for NSF REUs and Blacksburg? Because they totally deserve it!)NSF REU hiking in BlacksburgYou have worked with both intellectually gifted children and with people with schizophrenia or other problems. In addition, you majored in psychology and cognitive science. All of this adds up to a passion for understanding the human condition. Can you describe a bit when this passion began? Was it a teacher or something you read or something else?I’ve always said that I like knowing what makes people tick. Actually, I just asked my parents to help walk me down memory lane to try to pinpoint a catalyst, and here’s what we came up with: Since we moved here when I was seven, everything was brand new, exciting, and rife with possibility. I had to know what was what! I think an inherent curiosity and optimism about the world (passed down from my mom; she was always amazed by the little things in life) helped kickstart my desire to understand what and why, especially in humans. Perhaps it was a feedback cycle, too--Americans are always interested in new cultures and “foreign people” since this is such a huge melting pot, and seeing a kid with a weird name perhaps may have piqued their curiosity, which in turn spurred my openness to seeking new experiences and human connection. I remember having a thriving babysitting business--from kids two years my junior, to 6-month-old babies, and everywhere in between--I just loved taking care of others! In elementary school, my mom says, I came home one day exclaiming that I would be a safety patrol, and then a year later, that I’d be a Peer Mediator. Thus began the journey of being in a mentorship role throughout my life. Wow, this reflection is making me realize that that is what I am passionate about (Thanks, Parke!).I suppose the desire to know and be entrenched in a totally new culture--especially coming from a place where the culture was not as open and friendly--fueled my motivation to connect with individuals and small groups. You might agree that one of the best feelings in the world is having a heart-to-heart with someone, or seeing another learn and understand something you’ve just taught (smile plastered on their face), and knowing how to connect with someone like that is truly, truly gratifying.Who were your mentors in college?When I worked at UVA’s Career Center, Dreama Johnson was running the Career Peer Educator program, and was therefore my supervisor. However, she always seemed to have this quality of being wholly present and real with her students, whether directing them on new work initiatives, or counseling them through the sinuous path that is the college student’s future vocational musings. Dreama was one of the best mentors I’ve had in my life, since I felt like I could trust her completely, and she shared with me the best leads for future jobs, people, and opportunities. For example, check out this serendipitous chain of events: Because I was a CPE, I conducted a workshop on some career-related topic (truly can’t remember now--it may have been related to LinkedIn or career fairs) to the Cognitive Science Society at UVA, replete with undergrads, graduate students, and alumni who’d come back to speak at the event. It was my largest crowd yet, and was invigorating!! Anyway, there, I met Laura Coutts, who’d known one of the other career counselors who worked with Dreama and me, and who’d known Dreama in college, I believe. Later on, I connected with Laura one-on-one, and she actually was instrumental to one of the other best summers of my life--she mollified my qualms about not knowing what to do after graduation, and talked about her time in Richmond, which definitely piqued my interest. Upon hearing my own career aspirations, she suggested several Richmond companies. I called up the founder/CEO of one of those small firms, and negotiated an internship the summer after graduation, before I was due to start my “big-girl” consulting job later that September. It was all a flurry of connecting events, and could not have been possible without the encouragement of Laura and Dreama. Both women and professionals are truly people connectors, and I do strive to also embody that quality.Gymnastics Team PartyWhen I was writing my thesis, Jamie, the graduate student under my professor, was a terrific mentor, since she not only provided timely and and fantastic insight/feedback on my writing and the research process, but also was open about and understanding of other life stressors. We’d meet biweekly to discuss progress and suggestions for the thesis, but also to chew over unrelated issues. I admired her incredible strength to not only power through her own immense workload, but to devote so much time to helping me with my research.Although Shane was not in any way affiliated with UVA, he is one of my most impactful mentors. At the Virginia Tech NSF REU program, he took over my professor’s research mentoring responsibilities, and has remained an incredible mentor and friend throughout the years. It absolutely floors me how he is so present and thoughtful whenever we catch up, and how he, too, is able to share so many vibrant points of view and connections (both thought-wise and people-wise). He is able to see strengths in individuals that they themselves sometimes might forget about, and offers such radiant positivity and “feel-good vibes” to any of his friends, acquaintances, and just about anybody else!A special shout out goes to two professors in the psychology department at school: Professor Dodson, who was my official advisor, and Professor Coan, with whom I took Abnormal Psychology and the grad class on the neuroscience of social relationships. Prof. Dodson’s mentorship was more formalized, in that he offered great advice about the psych field (and I’ll be forever grateful about his telling me about the NSF REU program), and pushed me to consider and stay on the psychology PhD track. I admired his deep knowledge (took a high-level course with him, too) and his easy-going attitude among the hustle-bustle of school (during our advising sessions, I fondly recall him kicking back in his chair, feet up on his desk, talking psychology); it reminded me there are options and to slow down. Prof. Coan was just such a charismatic person, eager to answer questions and excited by the prospect of curious students. Besides being a fantastic professor, I remember speaking to him on several occasions about feeling lost about what to do, and coming out of our conversations feeling both comforted and invigorated about the idea of possibility. I distinctly remember running into him at a coffee shop, and sitting down to an impromptu 20-minute conversation about his own story and leaving with the thought of “follow your dreams.” Still working on that one!More philosophically, it seems as though you believe we can change the way we think through mindfulness, and learning and listening to others. Am I right about this and if so could you expand a bit on how you arrived at these approaches to living in the world?This certainly is a big question, and one with which I continue to wrangle with every day! There are two parts to this: being aware of one’s surroundings, and being cognizant of other people's thoughts, emotions, and existence.First--yes, I do believe that life is about the little things, and noticing the miniscule beauty to break routine really gives one a boost! For example, on my daily walk from the car to the office building, I try to seek out a new detail I may not have previously seen, like the shape and cluster of footprints in the mud, or the divergent cracks in the sidewalk, or the array of leaves in the purposefully-installed plants adorning the walkway. That helps me to slow down when life is rushing by. However, I am notoriously bad at this, and do let the stresses sometimes overtake me. Regardless, it’s something I must continually remind myself of, to be fully aware and present in the moment (doesn’t this sound so mantra-y? Yikes! While perhaps trite-seeming words, this mechanism of focusing on the positive details actually does work!). Sometimes I wish I could be a literal fly on the wall of a busy street or place of congregation, and just observe, observe, observe.The second part has more to do with the human beings around us. When asked about my dream job, I refer to the person behind Humans of New York (those photographs of individuals with narratives of their story that we see on Facebook). To me, nothing (and I mean that) would be more exhilarating or rewarding, than stopping strangers on the street to get their story, to capture some sort of snapshot or ephemerality about them, and share it (through visuals or writing) with the world. Just imagine the sheer myriad of ideas you’d be exposed to! Incredible.I’ve been told I am good at connecting with folks (especially one-on-one), and I do think that is a strength, coupled with self-awareness (well, doesn’t that sound showy! Oh the irony. Haha!). One of the best gifts we can give to others is our time and attention, and I believe my mother instilled this into me, as did the author Kurt Vonnegut* (I made a point to read all of his works, and that goal is tantalizingly close to being accomplished). It never ceases to amaze me how much a simple glance or smile or nod can revolutionize and otherwise pick up my day. For example, when out running, I feel an immediate kinship with a fellow runner who waves in response to my wave--such a simple gesture, but it makes me run faster! Or, one of my friends wrote a heartfelt and handwritten thank you card for attending her surprise birthday party; I still remember that kind act, and the card made me smile and is currently sitting on my shelf.Sometimes, it feels like the world’s most simple yet untapped secret--to really ask how someone is, or remember a detail they’d told you last week and bring it up, or just make eye contact!! Seriously, how incredible does it feel to go from strangers to friends if one of you just sheds any preconceived societal notions or norms, and smiles and says hi? I’ve scored friendships this way--asked the fellow next to me in a coffeeshop what he was reading, and we ended up having a 2-hour discussion right then and there, followed by hanging out several times later. I can’t help but reiterate this simplicity, and am fueled to keep up these interactions the more I do them. Just don’t be afraid to initially try.*Here’s one of the most resonant quotes by Vonnegut, from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: “Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies--"God damn it, you've got to be kind.””Katya, RA, with her residents and friends going to Anatomy of Frank concertYou obtained some great internships in the course of your education. Once again, how did you pursue them and could you talk about the ones that affected you the most?First, to list the internships, many of which are towards my latter college years: National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) (summer before 4th year); Center for Open Science’s Human Resource Internship (2nd semester 4th year); Dual Recovery Center’s Psychosocial Rehabilitation Volunteer/Internship (2nd semester 4th year); UVA’s Career Peer Educator (2nd and 4th years); Floricane’s Organizational Development Internship (summer after 4th year).Now, some of these may not be considered “true” internships (the volunteering with men with comorbid schizophrenia and drug abuse at the Dual Recovery Center, for example—I didn’t get paid), but all were incredibly tremendous learning opportunities! I feel truly lucky.To obtain these internships, I can boil it down to having two things:knowledgeable connections, and the drive to keep asking questions and pursuing experiences. For example, my psychology mentor clued me in about the NSF REU, and I found out that Floricane existed through a chance meeting with Laura Coutts, who I’d mentioned was at a University Career Services event while I was a Career Peer Educator. (See how all the dots seem to connect? Amazing! [Side note: I found out about Center for Open Science (COS) after a random conversation with a professor in the REU program, who said he’d known the director/co-founder of COS. Four months later, COS came on my radar again and I found myself clicking the “Apply” button for the internship. The subject matter of the internship itself and the REU were not connected, but I wouldn’t have even fathomed the existence of COS if it weren’t for the REU.] The point here is that it is people who can open doors for you, and plant that seed of knowledge—and I was so lucky to make those initial connections.The second part of obtaining internships is to never stop asking questions and seeking those opportunities. I never would’ve worked at Floricane had I not called up the founder and demonstrated my interest through lots and lots of questions. The way I got into the Dual Recovery Center was asking whether I could do an internship outside of UVA’s Undergraduate Internship Program, and Googled the Dual Recovery Center, and called to schedule a meeting (which then turned into an interview). I think the intrinsic desire to know more and constantly seek out the opportunities simply by asking helped me to get where I am today. (And I’d so happy to chat with any of you readers about this!!! Please feel free to reach out!!!)Katya with other RAs in her dormThe ones that affected me the most would be the NSF REU (as I described above for the sheer amount of learning, for my mentor, and for the best friends that I made), but I also want to emphasize the Floricane opportunity. After fourth year, I had a free summer before my full-time job in September, and wanted to explore a new city. Destination: Richmond (since I visited once for a show and LOVED it). Well, I loved it even more that I got to spend almost an entire summer there—meeting a special person, falling in love with a band, reveling in the the running trails and river, and in the beer and city scene in general. At the actual internship, I learned about and participated in organization development, leadership training and work styles, facilitation and coaching, and working with a small team to impact diverse clients. I sat in on client meetings, helped to run and organize workshops (one was on mindfulness—how cool!), organized a LOT of company collateral (both print and online), and wrote blog posts on not only my experience but on subject matter itself. I learned two key things: one, that I love industrial/organizational psychology and connecting with clients to try to solve their problems (main tenets of Floricane); and two, that environment and life outside of work really matter. Being in Richmond and experiencing the city and friendliness of its people pushed me narrow down and articulate what I do and don’t want from future career pursuits.I want to underscore that these connections and the perceived fluidity of the story may not have seemed obvious at the time, but in reflection, it appear that every single step that I made (and that current students make!) coalesce into the bigger picture somehow.I am not sure I have known of anyone your age who has served as a mentor or advisor in as many capacities as you have. First of all what do you think makes a good advisor? Is it true for you that as a mentor/advisor you learned as much as you imparted wisdom?Why thank you! I truly wish I could do that for a living (and am seeking ways to do so—I get so much joy out of advising).A good advisor—contrary to the name—does not immediately advise, off the bat. In my view, it is not the goal of an advisor to tell his/her mentee “here’s what you should do,” but instead to offer nuggets of information or to “open the knowledge doors.” A crucial thing must happen before that, though: listening. Do you know that old story where, in a married couple, a woman is seemingly “complaining” and the husband gives her directions on how to “solve” her woes? That story where, in the first place, the woman just wants to be heard and acknowledged for her difficulties, and is not looking for discrete solutions? Sometimes, it takes a good advisor just to listen and have the advisee simply be heard and use the advisor as a sounding board. When the advisor repeats back what the advisee said (“So, what I’m hearing is…”), the latter can try to take a distanced look at whatever issue. (I’ve never actually dissected this process before in writing, so this is neat!) Of course, there are instances where the advisor may impart some wisdom, like an alumnus to a current undergrad, and that can be in the form of “Oh, so you’re interested in X--I know someone in that field, why don’t you give them a call, or consider Y activity to supplement X!”My favorite part about advising is being able to hear the perspectives of my mentees and the challenges they face. For example, I was leading a coaching session to a group of high school leaders, and learned not only about about the realities of new technology in their school (all students get laptops!) but also about the timeless issues of bullying and cliques. Fascinating! Or, I mentored several second years who weren’t sure about their majors of what to do in college, and they blew me away with the activities and clubs they were involved in. It’s so gratifying to hear younger students contribute in incredibly unique ways to the college community--and those vignettes especially mean so much because we have a shared bond over our university.Katya and other counselors for Summer Enrichment ProgramYou have served as a career peer educator. Can you describe what this role was? Could you give people who are in college or even in secondary school some advice about the things they should do to prepare themselves for searching for jobs and finding one that fits?From the website, “Career Peer Educators are full-time undergraduates who serve as a bridge between the Career Center and students by marketing programs, staffing events and leading workshops. CPEs are trained by career counselors on various aspects of the career planning and job search processes. In addition, they are "experts" on Career Center programs and resources and can offer one-of-a-kind advice as student leaders.”In my own words, as a CPE I got to connect with individuals and small groups to talk one-on-one about their resumes, career paths or majors, or any issue that was plaguing their minds (career/school or not), and give presentations on how to effectively stand out on LinkedIn or how to navigate a career fair. Let me share a vignette that I still hold dear in my heart to this day: A brazen first year came to my workshop about career fairs, and, after the presentation, I noticed him hanging around. So, I struck up a conversation with him, and despite the presentation materials, he still felt extremely nervous about attending his first fair (understandably so, since he was just a first year, and I admired his tenacity!). We talked it over, and I gave him some tips to just breathe and relax; these were more people-centric suggestions, as opposed to career-related. As a CPE, I worked a shift at the career fair the next day, and guess who I see? My baby-faced firstie, looking sharp in a suit. He came to my table and confessed that he was so scared and was breathing fast because he was nervous. I took him aside to a corner and essentially emboldened him, did some breathing exercises together, and told him he was going to crush it.An hour or two later, guess, again, who I see walk past my table? This time around, the young man, carrying himself with pride and a certain confident posture, comes over and says “Thank you. I couldn’t have done this without you.” Now thatmoment remains with me forever.Oh right, now for some advice! Got carried away walking down memory lane, there! Regarding the search for a well-fitting job, I’d recommend first sitting down with oneself and completing a self-assessment guide (one can Google a number of these). The goal would be to identify patterns in what activities the person enjoys, and what s/he naturally leans toward. Next, do some research! A lot of research! This may include subscribing to career-oriented websites (like Vault), reading books (career centers are GREAT for sprouting ideas for possible jobs), and CONDUCTING INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS. I cannot stress this enough. Talk to people both in and out of your field, since they are one of the greatest sources of information. People make the world go round in terms of connections for jobs and disciplines, truly.Up until my fourth year of college, I was certain I would go straight into a PhD program for clinical psychology. Then, with my thesis underway, I realized I didn’t want to spend the next 7 years conducting research! Talk about a change in the tide! So, I spent both semesters calling connections of connections and asking them about their jobs. That’s it! I learned about health coaching, financial advising, what it’s like to work for particular companies I had an interest in, and so much more. All the notes I took down from these conversations were stored in a notebook so that I could have a record of who I spoke with and when, and the relevant, subsequent action items. This leads me to my final nugget of advice (I hesitate to call it wisdom, as I’m still in the process of accruing it :P). Be open to the path that may seem either quite defined or, conversely, murky with indecision. For example, a lot of pre-meds switch majors and career paths altogether as they near the halfway point, and there is just SO MUCH OUT THERE to be discovered. Learn, learn, learn, and never stop questioning. Do I know specifically what I want to do with my life currently? I have a better inkling than I did upon graduation (by being open, researching, and conducting informational interviews, and trying my hand at various endeavors), but I’ve still got a lot of figuring out to do. Don’t stress out--I wish I knew that back then, too.It seems as you discovered yourself that the way to what we find ourselves doing is anything but linear. You wrote about this in a LinkedIn piece that I think would be useful for anyone of any age to read. Can I quote it here or at least some snippets of it?Absolutely! Here’s the link for easy access: (What follows is the opening of Katya's LinkedIn post)*****************************************************************Reach Out, Speak Out, and Listen UpIf you were to tell me your most powerful and vital professional resource, what might you say? A learning and development course? The latest training or directive? An industry information session for the current student or recent college graduate?Sure, those are all key aspects of progressing in your current role or seeking a new one.But what if the most truly invigorating, catalyzing, and helpful action you can take is as simple as a conversation?Breaking the StigmaWe’ve all heard the term “informational interview.” Usually, like its cousin “networking,” hearing the phrase is met with groans, discomfort, or panic about having to speak to a stranger. After all, you are reaching out to an unknown person and asking about their job, industry, and possibly advice. It can certainly be daunting!But it doesn’t have to be.Let’s break down this informational interview. First, we’ll nix the name—truly a mouthful—and instead call it a conversation. Google defines “conversation” as “the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words.” Tell me, how often do you engage in that? Your own familiarity with this type of idea- and word-exchange, and the utter realization that there’s not much more to it, is the first step of tearing down the barriers.The reason I am so passionate about proliferating the power of engaging in such conversations is because it’s one of the most natural things humans are wired to do.****************************************************************************Katya celebrating Halloween with some of her honor fraternity members: Phi Sigma PiYou are now with the Lewin group as International Business Project Coordinator & Senior Research Analyst. Can you tell us why you wanted this position, how you went about getting it and what it is you do?During October of my senior year at UVA, I attended my (first-ever) career fair and connected with the folks at Lewin and dropped off my resume, not really expecting much to come out of it. Later on in the year, while I was trying to pin down next steps after graduation, I received a call from Lewin in April, asking to interview. It was a success, and since I didn’t have anything else rather concrete at the time besides the summer internship in Richmond, I agreed to charge ahead in my first, real, corporate job in September, a few days after I got back from Richmond. Truthfully, I was a little reticent about taking the position, but knew that it would provide for tremendous learning experiences and exposure to disparate principles under the massive umbrella of health care.At first I started as a SAS programmer, coding statistical software to determine error rates for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (I promise this sounds fancier than it actually is)--and, boy was that a time for cerebral and emotional growth. Not only did I learn to code, but was shocked into adjusting to the 9-5 (or more…) consulting world, making new friends as an “adult” (what is adulthood?!), and trying to find a balance (still working on that). I realized I wanted to try more qualitative analysis, so moved on to work on projects related to Veterans Affairs, interviewing and synthesizing subject matter experts’ views, amassing literature and writing a huge literature review, and conducting focus group interviews with medical support assistants to write and deliver findings and recommendations. Now that was cool, since I got to interact with actual people first-hand, and be more entrenched in the work. Roughly 8 months after I started at Lewin, I got recruited by our parent company to be a project coordinator for an international reporting project, which entails meticulous organization of meetings, notes, fostering communication, and following up on global project tasks and tasks assigned to individuals from 3-4 different times zones. This is a great opportunity because it allows me to work with senior executives from DC, all up and down the eastern seaboard, and executives and professionals from our UK and India teams. The amount I’m learning about how to run a business is staggering, and, despite some really tough moments, I’m grateful.In addition to project work, I am also engaged in the Newsletter, Wellness, and Birthday Committees. The first entails writing monthly pieces about exciting Lewin ventures and topics (I got to interview our CEO over lunch twice!); the second entails helping run/promote events like 5Ks, and writing for the Wellness Blog; and the third is a self-started committee with a fellow coworker to organize and host quarterly birthday potlucks for our practice group in order to promote social cohesion and work breaks. That’s the kind of stuff I love--congregating folks together to see them happy and relaxed!You have one of the best mission statements I have read (I have not read all that many from individuals and your taking time to craft one already says a lot about you.):“Passionate and driven, I am committed to making a difference in how individuals, teams, and systems work more productively, effectively, and happily in an array of settings. Possessing both a strong research/data analysis background, and a wide range of leadership experiences in mentoring/coaching/facilitation and speaking engagements, project coordination and organization, conflict resolution, program development, outreach, and promotion, my aims are set high to help organizations and individuals reach their full potential via research and application of industrial/organizational psychology principles.”Thanks so much! While it can be difficult to summarize a person in one paragraph, and while I am constantly trying to be more in tune with my path, I think it’s necessary to operate under a set of defined principles that help to guide a person. My (shortened) mission statement of “I strive to help others thrive” helps to center my next steps around a singular, yet encompassing, idea."Revelling in Joy"Can passion be taught? What about being driven? Where do you think these qualities and your mission will take you in life?Excellent question! Short answer is, no, passion can’t be taught; it is a fire ignited from within. The longer answer is more optimistic and accessible, since I believe that exposure to various experiences--whether they are work- or life-related--enables a person to dip his/her toes into many potential passions. For example, I didn’t know that I was interested in industrial/organizational psychology until after my internship after college! Imagine that--despite being told we need to “find ourselves” in college and know what we want to do with our lives early on, there’s so much more exploration that’s going to happen afterwards!That being said, once a person has identified a passion, I think the drive to pursue it may follow. It doesn’t always, but perhaps the “true passion” hasn’t been fully uncovered yet.Another factor in passion and drive is the environment. If go-gettedness is modeled early on by parents, teachers, peers, etc., then, presumably the individual may follow suit. (Hmm, wouldn’t this be interesting to study empirically?!) Personally, I grew up in a pretty competitive environment, and my parents had crazy drive when they uprooted their lives and emigrated our family from Uzbekistan and began anew here. Subsequently, being in high-achieving academic programs, where everyone around you is either curing cancer or starting their own record label (yes, I know those people; they are incredible!), probably fostered my own drive and desire to do great things.However, if I could boil down passion and drive to one thing, it would be chasing curiosity. It boggles my mind at how much we don’t know, and is invigorating (to me) to try to find out as much as I can about the world. Whether that’s through travel, chatting up folks on the street, reading fiction and non-fiction alike, staying curious will drive one’s passions. Never stop asking questions. To answer your last question of where passion, drive, curiosity, and striving to help others thrive will take me--I only have a general, nebulous idea, but I am pursuing one or two discrete avenues voraciously, and will keep you posted :). Three things are certain: I vow to keep asking questions (of the world and of individuals’ stories), to be better and help others in doing so, and to never stagnate.Anything else you want to add?Thank you for giving me this chance to be a part of your blog; it is truly an honor! I’m still smiling at the serendipity of the situation, which underscores the power of human connection and reaching out to say hello. The world’s a beautiful, bright place with vibrant people, and we must remember that.*****************************************************************Katya the budding scholarAfter Katya generously agreed to let me interview her I started out my comments with the following sentence-- It is hard to know where to begin since there is so much I want to ask you about. While I did try to ask the most important questions, I could come up with, I think it’s clear that Katya invaluable information could be extended and turned into a book that should be shared with students, educators, career services professionals, and anyone who wants to learn about learning and about helping the community too.While TED talks are ok, they tend just to scratch the surface. Katya’s words go far deeper. It’s easy to quote memes and to skate across the surface of big issues (I do this all too often), but it’s hard to tell a story that is compelling, substantive, immediately useful in the real world. Read self-help books and they all pretty much say the same thing; Katya’s specific examples are not a template, nor should they be interpreted as such. For me, the biggest takeaway is what I would call the philosophical frame she has about the world. It doesn’t take a genius to notice Katya is smart and driven, but the foundation of her being is in the Vonnegut quote: There's only one rule that I know of, babies--"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”Vonnegut’s words may seem contradictory. The taking of God’s name in vain seems at odds with the injunction to be kind. But some of spiritual leaders have done or said similar things. Socrates blasted the citizens of Athens for their worship of power while also writing beautifully and movingly about the importance of love and ideals. I mention this as I think another writer got it wrong, at least when it comes to Katya and some others I know:“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.”W.B. Yeats The Second ComingKatya has strong convictions AND she is the “best” in many ways our society defines it—academic performance, jobs and recognition for her research, service and leadership. But all this does not come easily. She’s had parents pushing her and she’s pushed herself; she’s been in competitive environments throughout most of her life. For those who think these are things that can take a physical and emotional toll, they can and do. But at the same time they can build strength, grip and with the help of mentors and a mindful approach, a certain amount of serenity within the “widening gyre” (to quote Yeats’ poem again) of living in an increasingly competitive global community.Human beings often, to quote one more poet—Whitman—“contain multitudes.” Katya’s internal crowd consists of her own voices and those who have guided her along forking paths to where she is today. She will, not doubt, have more twists and turns ahead, but she will also reach back and help guide others through the labyrinth. I am invoking poets and myth here because Katya’s earned the word that describes her efforts and success—epic. But epic in a good way, not in the Homeric sieging of cities, but in the forging of lifelong friendships. As the photos show, and as Katya underscores, friendships outlast classes and majors.And if I did not know how to know where to begin this post, I really don’t know where to end. I could go on for a lot longer paraphrasing Katya’s wisdom, but instead I will just use the imperative: reread her words-again and again.Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank Katya for putting in such an epic effort at answering all these questions with substance, depth and care for others. She is one who really will make the world better. She already has.Katya guiding the world toward a better orbit

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