Girls Life Mag: Newest Goal Getter Interview!!

Scientist-in-training Sydney Clark shows the boys how it’s done

 

Think science is only for nerdy boys? Think again! Meet Sydney Clark, the 12-year-old runner up in the National Middle School Science Competition, sponsored by 3M and Discovery Education.


Hailing from Austin, Texas, this home-schooled chick has always had an interest in science. After watching her favorite program, hit T.V. show Myth Busters, Sydney couldn’t wait to tackle the Young Scientist Challenge. The challenge was to create a video about everyday safety. She decided to focus on the public’s love for anti-bacterial products. “It’s important tostress that hospitals use anti-bacterial products,” she says, “but they make way for bigger germs.” The quirky and fun film took her about a month and a half to create with the help of her mother. With stop-and-go animated film clips and Barbie props, she made her point…and impressed the judges. Soon, she was making tracks through the competition. 


The judges chose a semi finalist from each state, and then the 10 semi-finalists were brought to New York City, where they are asked to conduct live experiments, compete in challenges and complete scientific analysis. 3M provided the finalists with the products that they must use. In one challenge called the Safety and Security Innovation, Sydney took on the task of ATM Security by creating a box made with the world’s most efficient translucent man-mad mirror. The thin reflective sheet not only provides the ATM customer with the ability to see through to the push pad to enter their pin, but it also reflects the image of anyone behind them, keeping their bank information completely safe. 


While Sydney did not snag the coveted first place prize, she says the laid-back atmosphere made the event an amazingly fun experience—“the best time I ever had in my life!” She re-calls the judges and coaching staff being “really helpful, really amazing being around and helping on other innovations.” 


Being a runner-up isn’t without its perks, however. “It’s almost as good as winning,” she says of her prize: Flying to San Francisco to be on the set of a live taping of Myth Busters at the end of June. While she’s not sure if she’ll actually get to be on the show, she’s got her fingers crossed! 


Sydney isn’t a 24/7 scientist-in-training—she’s part of the rock group Unsocialized and has dreams of a film or T.V.career. But she does admit that she’d love to incorporate science in the mix and create a show likeMyth Busters or Bill Nye the Science Guy. Why? She’s ready with an answer: “It’s important to get more girls into science,” she says. “I want to let girls know they can do more in the science world and it can be fun changing the world. We can learn more, do more and reach a lot more people.” 
 
 
BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE ON 6/24/2011 8:00:00 AM
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Girls Life Mag: Shannon McIntosh Racecar Driver

I wanna be…a racecar driver!


Shannon McIntosh, 21, never thought she would be making her living driving a racecar when her dad took her to her first race when she was four. A competitive kid, she began to practice and compete, and by the time she was 10, Shannon was racing against adult men. She’s been racing ever since. Today, she competes in INDYCAR’s Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 National Championship Series. 


We chatted up this ah-mazing automobileracer and got the dish on her dream job. 

What do you enjoy most about racing? 

The competitive nature of it. It drives me to work hard, train hard on and off the track and to be the best. 

What is the most challenging part about racecar driving? 

Believe it or not, people don’t realize that the toughest part about racing happens off the track. Racing is really expensive and you have to get themoney to do it, so during the week I’m always working towards getting sponsorships, partnerships and scholarships to keep competing. 

What’s the best moment you’ve had so far in racing? 

In February, I was signed on to my team, CAPE Motor Sport. It was so hard trying to get everything together and when I got everything on board, it was a great moment because we got people to support us. That was really a great moment for me. 

You’re following in Danica Patrick’s footsteps—er, skidmarks—as the only female driver to advance through the USF2000 National Championship Series. How does that make you feel? 

When I started racing I was completely oblivious to the fact that there weren’t many women in the sport. Just because you’re a girl, it doesn’t mean you can’t compete, especially in a male-dominated sport. Being the only female drive in the USF National Champ Series motivates me more to be much better and to keep competing.


You went to college at the University of North Carolina, but you left before graduating. Why? 

I graduated high school with honors and was working on racing at the same time. I wanted to continue my education, so I went away to college. I went to North Carolina because there’s a lot of racing there, and I did really well my first year at UNC, but my family didn’t really have the money so I had to work [my way through]. And at the same time, I was still trying to do racing. I finally decided that I wanted to put 110-percent towards my dreams, so I left school to pursue racing and I’m so happy about the outcome because I’m doing what I love! 

Did you learn anything in college that you’ve embraced or incorporated into your driving? 

Because of college, I learned how to work with the business side of the industry, but what I took with me the most was learning about myself. I learned how to be an independent woman, which was really important for me because there are so many women out there who don’t know how to be independent and strong. 

You dream of being the first female driver to win the Indy 500. What does that mean to you? 

It’s what I live for. I want to break a barrier for women and show that dedication and hard work is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, I’m a racecar driver, it’s what I do. The Indy is what motivates me to get up in the morning, to show how great I am. 

What is a piece of advice you would give to young girls who are pursuing their dream career? 

Confidence is the number one piece of advice I can give. It’s the number-one thing that can make you successful. My mom said to me, “If you’re notconfident but can fake it, people will believe and soon you will believe it and you’ll become it.” Don’t let being in a “male industry” keep you down. Be the best and give all you can. 

One of McIntosh’s sponsors, Glass Hammer Racing, has developed a program to encourage young girls to get into racing. Check it out here atwww.beatbyagirl.org.

Learn more about Shannon McIntosh at www.shannonmcintosh.com
 
 
Love this post? You’ll heart these, too!
BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE ON 6/10/2011 8:00:00 AM
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Girls Life Mag: New Article Co-Written by Moi!

How to be the life of the party

Some girls are just natural attention seekers—making their way through life in the teen scene by being the life of the party or the belle of the ball. Making friends, talking to others and snagging BFs come so naturally that they seem never have to worry about feeling shy or embarrassed or awkward.

On the other side of the room, though, there are the quiet girls who have their own social circles, but keep quiet at group gatherings. If this is your M.O., then these helpful hints will help you transform from a wallflower into a social butterfly!
Mingle 
It sounds hard but it really isn’t. Got any friends who may know a few people that you don’t? Stick to them, meet their buds and make ‘em your own. Fab it up! Volunteer to pass the tray of cupcakes at your BFFs next bash. It’ll give you a reason to go up to people, introduce yourself and offer up a sweet smile (and a treat they won’t refuse).
Get chatty 
Striking up a conversation doesn’t have to be scary. If you’re nervous, listen in on a convo your friend is having and chime in with your opinion or a witty joke when you feel comfortable. Fab it up! Conversation topics are everywhere, you just have to get past your “I don’t know what to say!” brain block. Talk about the last episode of Dancing with the Stars, your latest HW assignment, a funky bracelet you found at a thrift store, the new book you’re reading—anything!
Find common interests 
Still think you have nothing to say? Ask a good friend if they know anyone who plays soccer, cheerleads or rides horses. Tell her you’d love to meet this person, and when you’re introduced, a quick, “OMG, Sara told me you totally whipped the guys at tennis last weekend!” will get the convo rolling in no time flat. Fab it up! Don’t make your chat into an interrogation. Offer up info about you, too, and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Think: “You’re trying out for All State this year? I was picked for that last year. Wanna practice together?”

Be adventurous 
Do you always pick truth instead of dare or opt to ref the game of capture the flag instead of joining in? It’s time to get your game on, girl! Join in party games enthusiastically and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. People will love that you’re game, and they’ll wanna spend more time hangin’ with the cool girl that wore an I heart Barney shirt to school on Monday on a dare. Fab it up! Don’t just go along grudgingly—own your actions! When you get the “I heart Barney” dare, on the back of the tee, screen print a pic of Barney Rubble from The Flintstones and write, “Blonds are sooo my type.” Snap!
What are your social butterfly secrets, sweeties? 
BY BRITTANY TAYLOR AND AFIYA AUGUSTINE ON 5/21/2011 10:00:00 AM
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Girls Life Mag: One of my most touching interviews

An awe-inspiring prom for teen patients

This spring, 15-year-old Delaney Goodner is going to her second prom. While prom is everything to some teens, for this young woman, it’s a gift she treasures, a break from the medicines and treatment she endures thanks to her cancer diagnosis.

For the last six years, therapeutic child life specialist Tommi McHugh has been coordinating a prom in conjunction with the Teen and Young Adults (TaYA) group at the Children’s Hospital of Denver for the past six years. For the guests, guys ‘n’ girls ages 13 and up who battle cancer and blood disorders, it’s the opportunity to be normal for a night.
It’s not unusual for the hospital’s younger patients to miss out on typical teen activities because they don’t feel well enough. Half a dozen years ago, Tommi heard that one patient was going to miss his prom because of his illness. She wasn’t about to let that happen. With parents lending a helping hand, Tommi put together a small prom in only two weeks.
That year, only ten kids attended, wearing whatever made them feel comfortable, but they had a blast. The following year, Tommi was determined to make it bigger and better. When local businesses heard about what she was doing, they began sponsoring the decorations, food, transportation, venue, even the girls’ hair and nail appointments.
“You get to dress up and have a good time,” Delaney says. “It gives you a moment to take your mind off the fact that you’ve got cancer,” says Delaney.
Last year was Delaney’s first as a prom guest. She and a friend got their make-up, nails and hair done in a luxe hotel suite before donning gowns funded by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Though she didn’t dance much, she remembers the delish food and the totally fab door prizes.
This year, the kids are drafting letters to celebrities that they would love to attend. Among the list are Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber. Delaney would like to  boogie with Taylor Swift. “I really like her,” she says.
The annual prom has become a bonding experience for the hospital’s patients, Tommi explains. They aren’t wallflowers any more. They mingle in the halls. One year, a young girl whose treatment left her bald triumphantly removed her wig and danced the night away. “It’s so moving,” says Tommi.
 “You can’t help but want to make it better every year,” she adds. “[The Prom] inspires them to remember there is life after and during cancer (and other blood disorders) and they can get out there and do the stuff they love.”
Want to make a difference? Call up a local hospital and ask if they’re planning any events for which they need volunteers. Go for it, girls!
  
Pictured above: Top – Delaney at prom with her friend Rosie. Bottom – Delaney having her nails done before the dance.

Girls Life Mag: What’s beautiful? A peek at girls around the globe

What’s beautiful? A peek at girls around the globe

So, you’re 13 and in complete hysterics about how you have to go about “beautifying” yourself to get that cute guy in your Bio class to notice you. You’re dabbling with makeup, wondering if your outfits are cute and tottering around in heels. Have you ever stopped to wonder if your idea of beauty is the same as other girls’ across the globe? In some parts of the world stretching your neck, chiseling your teeth or even tattooing your lips is what makes you the apple of some guy’s eye.

In Mauritania, West Africa, having plump arms, thick ankles and a big booty is what gets the fellas going. In villages here, being plus size is what is considered beautiful. The bigger the girl, the more guys like her. Though it does have its health risks, girls continue to pack on the pounds to meet their soul-mates.
In China, women bound their feet for centuries. Can you imagine having all the bones in your feet broken when you’re 12, then wrapped and re-shaped? Centuries ago, having itty-bitty feet was considered the highest standard of female beauty. Girls would undergo this process to achieve the coveted three-inch foot length. This practice continued into the early 20th century, but has since died out.
Think lip piercings are cute? Near the Amazon River in South America, women have their lips pierced to insert a disc, often made of wood. This act stretches a young girl’s lips and she continues to wear them until she reaches her desired “beautiful” length. Afterwards, the discs are only worn on special occasions.
A long neck has long been a sign of woman’s gracefulness. In subcultures of African and Asian societies, brass neck rings are used to give girls and women the appearance of long necks. Most notably are the Kayan women who reside between Thailand and Burma. At a young age, girls have rings placed on their necks and as they grow older, more rings are added. Now that’s what you call having weight on your shoulders! The weight displaces the collarbone and rib cage, giving the appearance of a longer neck. If the rings were removed, the neck wouldn’t be able to sustain the weight of the woman’s head. Can you imagine?
While we still value an hourglass figure today, our appreciation of a teensy tiny waist doesn’t have anything on 16th-century Europe. Back then, girls had to go through something called “tight-lacing” to achieve the ultimate waist. Their corsets were tied tighter and tighter until they got really small waists, much like America’s Next Top Model winner Anne Ward. Some women still wear corsets and even remove ribs to achieve this extreme look.
But that’s not all. The Karo women of Southern Ethiopia cut themselves along their stomachs, leaving scars that attract men in their community. In some cultures in Indonesia, girls have their teeth sharpened to align their spirits and make them more beautiful. New Zealand’s indigenous Maori women tattoo their lips and chin in blue ink to attract their guys. They believe that a woman with full blue lips is the most desirable woman of them all.

What’s the lesson to be learned here, ladies? Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors of the rainbow. While more global communities enhance their idea of womanly beauty in superficial ways—with rings or ink or surgery or scarring—we like to think the world is coming to accept a girl’s natural beauty as being the best of all. Cast your vote for natural beauty by accepting yourselves, sweethearts, and embracing your gorgeous body (and totally brilliant brains).

THINK YOU’VE GOT A BODY BLUNDER? CLICK HERE to submit your own problem to be answered on Girl Talk!   

BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE ON 5/9/2011 12:00:00 PM              

Girls Life Mag: Breaking Up With Friends


Girl Talk

How to survive a best friend break up

It’s tough. You and your best friend had a huge fight and you think there’s no way to come back from it. This has happened to many of us, me included, but I’ve learned that although it may be a long winding road, you can come out of a situation like this feeling better than ever.

Step 1: Clear the negative energy
The number-one thing you need to do after a BBF break-up is to take some time to calm down. Only when you’ve gained some clarity can you truly begin to move on. Go for a walk or a jog, pick up a novel or belt out your fave tunes. Do whatever you need to get some breathing room.
Step 2: Assess the situation
Now that you’re calm and ready to focus, look back at the fight and how it all played out. Was this a spat that your friendship could bounce back from, or did somebody cross a line? If whatever happened now cause you to look at your friend in a different light, you really need to think hard before making any decisions.
Step 3: Making choices
Sometimes we want to keep bad friends in our lives because they’re been there forever and it’s all we really know. You need to decide if this is a person that you want to keep in your circle. Try making a pros and cons list of how your BFF has treated you for the entire time you’ve known her. Once you’ve considered every happy and horrid thing in your relationship closet, it’s time to ask yourself if you want to patch things up. Remember, this isn’t a choice between being besties or breaking up. You can downgrade her from numero uno confidant to just a friend.
Step 3: Cutting ties
If you’ve decided it’s time to say ta-ta, understand, first, that there’s no turning back. Ready? Okay, girlie, here’s what you need to do: Distance yourself. Don’t initiate convos, don’t invite her to hang out. If she wants to chat, be civil, but don’t go blabbing all yours secrets like everything is back to normal.
Step 4: Dealing with confrontation
Sometimes, friends mutually split up by simply going off in their separate ways. Other times, one friend fights to regain the relationship. If your ex-BFF wants to know why you’ve been distant, be calm and lay out the sitch. Explain that you think it’s best if the two of you hang out with other people, that your relationship has changed and you’re ready to move on. If she gets upset, choose to walk away. Don’t start hollering in the halls, okay hunnie?
What’s your next move?
Your next move is to clear the air between any of your mutual friends. Let them know the current state of things between you and the ex-BFF. Don’t be bitter about it or demand that your buddies pick sides. There’s no reason you have to find a whole new group just ‘cause you don’t along with one chica anymore.
One more thing…
Don’t think about it. Stick to your decision and focus on the elimination of unwanted drama when things get rough. Talk to other friends—those who aren’t besties with your ex—and your parents. Feeling lonely? Spend more time with other friends, and join new activities to meet fresh faces. Invite girls over for a sleepover or out shopping. And if you happen to cross paths with your former friend? Be cordial and act like a lady. She’ll take her cues from you.
Tell us, babes: How do you deal with BFF break-ups?
BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE ON 5/3/2011 5:31:00 PM
      
  • © 2008 Girls’ Life Acqusition Co. All Rights Reserved.

Girls Life Mag: Periods and Exercise —New article by MOI on GL!

Hello there darling friend!
I often thought that exercising can delay your period, and I’ve learned that there is some truth to this but only in extreme cases.
First, you must ask yourself how much you exercise. If you exercise moderately, then it will not harm your menstrual cycle. If you do light exercise during your period, it can actually help get rid of ouchy symptoms by keeping the blood pumping through your system, sending endorphins (‘happy’ hormones) shooting through your bod and kill some of the cramping and back pain too!
Now for the dark-side of exercising…
The only way that exercising can delay your period or make them irregular is if you are exercising excessively. If you’re working out every day for hours at a time and dropping significant weight, then you will exhibit amenorrhea, which is when your period says “bye bye!”
Because working out takes lots of energy, if you do it obsessively, your body has to turn off other functions that require energy, i.e. menstruation.  However, there is some good news: Amenorrhea is not a DISEASE but a symptom of a larger issue. If you are working out like crazy and have skipped a period or two, once you’ve cut down the workoutsand get your weight back up a bit, your periods should return.
But don’t always think that the crimson wave leaving is all about your weight. You should always check with your family doctor and/or gynecologist to make sure that there are no bigger problems involved.

BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE ON 4/5/2011 1:33:00 PM
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Girls Life Mag: My 2nd Interview for Girls Life Magazine Online!

Tweenager Brooke Bestul stars in a hit video blog

When Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet praised her blog, 12-year-old Brooke Bestul knew she had made it big.
The tween stars in a serialized video blog produced by her twin brother, Bailey. In just under two years, the pair’s YouTube videos have received over 60,000 views. What started out as a class project in the fifth grade spiraled into a video diary filled with skits, experiments and whimsy. Brooke says that doing the shows has given her a sense of freedom and allows her to be herself.

But that’s not the way things started. At first, Brooke didn’t want to be in front of the camera at all. When you meet her, you wouldn’t think she was shy at all, but despite being exposed to acting and theater by her mother, she was nervous about starring in the videos.
Nowadays, Brooke is at ease with her work. She enjoys incoporating her real-life experiences into the skits and personas she develops.  Her favorite character, for instance, is an old lady/grandma who she based on her time spent working in a retirement home.

“It’s lots of fun goofing off and doing skits,” admits the Minnesota native, who dreams of being a veterinarian when she grows up. Brooke and Bailey have been doing the shows for almost two years now with Bailey editing, directing and doing the majority of the behind-the-scenes work and Brooke taking on the role of breakthrough actress.

“It feels good to be seen online every day,” Brooke says. Supportive comments have been pouring in, including the one they received from Kate Winslet, whose children love the show. At first, Brooke didn’t understand how big a deal Kate was, but now she can’t believe her own notoriety. “It was awesome!” she says.

Brooke says that she feels some pressure to keep the show fresh and entertaining, especially with all the press that it’s been receiving, but she doesn’t sweat it. The duo tries to keep the show as updated as possible, with new skits, product reviews and kid-approved hi-jinks. Brooke loves that she and her bro are attracting so much attention. The two plan to continue the show, doing what comes naturally to them and what seems like “fun.”

Interested in seeing their show? Click here to catch their latest video.
Click here to see story on site!

Girls Life Mag: Black History Month Piece

Here’s my newest published piece on GirlsLifeMag.com. It’s on Black History Month and I’m quite happy that a lot of girls liked it! =)

GL celebrates the ah-mazing accomplishments of African-American women

February isn’t just about Pun Punxsutawney Phil predicting the change of season or sending your crush chocolates. Though we’re getting ready to bid February a fond farewell, we’re also taking one more chance to recognize the achievements and advances of African-Americans throughout history.

Since 1976, February (in the United States and Canada) has been deemed Black History Month. Though there have been great achievements made by men that are celebrated throughout this month, African-American women in particular have been powerful assets to the advancements of the world that we live in today.
I’m sure we all know about the pioneering efforts of Harriet Tubman, the renegade slave who freed others through her service conducting the Underground Railroad, but do you know of others like Lyda D. Newman, who at the turn of the century invented the soft synthetic brush that we use on our hair today; or Theora Stephens, who invented the pressing comb and curling iron? If it weren’t for these two ladies, along with the revolutionizing hair careproducts of Madam C. J. Walker, hair maintenance today would be a major drag!
But African-American women’s efforts weren’t only superficial. In times of war, they aided as much as they could. Take for instance famed spy Mary Elizabeth Bowser, who under the guise of an illiterate servant aided the Union in winningthe war against the Confederacy. Almost a decade later, famous actress and singer Josephine Baker aided in the French Resistance of World War II, and was the first American to receive the Croix de guerre honor by the French Military. Before Amelia Earhart was setting ground-breaking records for women of her time, Bessie Coleman took it one step further by being the first Black woman to obtain a pilot’s license and an international pilot’s license in 1921, after many schools in the United States rejected her based on her skin color and her gender.
On the intellectual front, there are women such as Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American poet to have poetry published as well as first African-American woman to be published in the 1700s. Wheatley opened doors for future writers like Maya Angelou, who is greatly revered as one of the greatest writers and poets of her time, as well as Toni Morrison (pictured above), who was the first black woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for writing in 1993.
Today—and every day—we honor the accomplishments of these women, and all women. After all, where would we be without them?

TALK BACK: What woman is most inspiring to you, girlies?

BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE ON 2/23/2011 12:00:00 PM
click here to read it on the website

Girls Life Mag: Blood Donations & Dream Jobs

Hello World!
I just want to let my readers out there know that I am thankful that you read my blog. You don’t have to, but you do. And I appreciate you for it. It’s really hard to get people to read your work and even harder to put it out there to begin with. I’d like to encourage you guys to pass the word along to others you think might be interested in reading my work so they’ll have something to keep them busy a few minutes at work. 
The following are two articles that are mine and have recently been published by GirlsLife.com. I also give advice to the girls on this website, so you can search my name and probably find more pieces. 
Any how, take a look and enjoy!

National Blood Donor Month is upon us!

The American Red Cross Association has deemed January National Blood Donor Month. Every minute of every day, there is someone out there who needs blood.

 
Unfortunately, currently three out of every 100 people donate, and of those donors, only half are regulars every year. With those statistics, it’s pertinent to raise awareness and encourage some brave souls out there to get up, get over the fear of the needle (ouch!) and donate some of that sweet life saving red stuff.
 
According to the American Red Cross, it’s a fact that if a person donates blood every 56 days from the age of 17 to the age of 76, that person would have donated 48 gallons of blood and can potentially save more than 1,000 lives.
 
In addition, only seven percent of people in the U.S. have type 0-negative. Those with O-negative are universal donors and can give blood to anyone, and that’s highly important seeing as O-negative is used in emergencies before a blood type for the patient is found.
 
In an attempt to engage potential donors during National Blood Donor Month, The American Red Cross joined forces with the new season of ABC’s The Bachelor to spread awareness. This season of The Bachelor will feature an episode with the cast filming a public service announcement on the issue.
 
In addition, this season’s Bachelor along with past Bachelorettes and Bachelors will be visiting select blood drives in certain cities across the country to encourage people to come out and will be thanking donors on site for their generosity.
 
Giving blood can save lives and blood can only come from a donor like you. Get out there, raise awareness if you’re too young to give blood or take a group of friends to help save someone’s life with the gift of blood.
 

In most states you must be 17 to give blood. To find out where you can go to join the select group and donate, please visit www.redcrossblood.org/ or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

see article here

Snag that dream job: Politician

 
 

As the only member of her family to graduate from college, Phylesia Steele worked her education to her advantage and started a career beyond her years. 

 
Looking up to influences like Speaker, Christine Quinn, and former Congress Woman, Dr. Una Clarke, this 23-year-old college grad is following in their footsteps. She works with the New York City Council as one of its legislative financial analysts.
 
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the New York City Council, it is the law-making body that presides over the city of New York, responsible for making decisions on land usage, monitoring the performance of agencies throughout the city AND has the job of approving the city’s budget.
 
What role does Steele play in all of this? She has her hands in a little bit of everything!
 
Doin’ it all
The list of responsibilities to the city that Steele has is astounding, ranging from monitoring and evaluating spending patterns to interacting with the mayor’s budget office and community-based organizations. And that’s just the short version.
 
To many of you, this may sound like a tough list of responsibilities for one person, but when you’ve got the passion and perseverance that Steele has, you find a way to get it all done.
 
Findin’ her way
Steele found that she wanted to work in politics after her sophomore year at Brooklyn College when she was unsure of what major to choose. She got the chance to work with the late Terence D. Tolbert, who not only was an aide to the city, but also to President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign.
 
“He was a passionate, innovative thinker,” says Steele. This experience stuck with Steele and she was fortunate enough to stumble into another position with a political official, and continued to work hard.
 

By the time Steele had finally enrolled in political science courses at Brooklyn College, she had been working throughout multiple offices of NYC Chancellor Joel Klein, at the intergovernmental Offices of Affairs.

She was able to not only get a feel for what it meant to work in politics, but was able to make connections. When she graduated in 2009, Steele worked for one city council member and now, she works with all of them!
 
Makin’ change
Through it all, Steele faced some adversities. Always conscious of her age and her Jamaican background, she felt different, but “was fortunate enough to have an adopted family of female mentors that always pushed me to go further and not let anything stop me,” she says.
 
And now she is going strong in her newfound position, particularly taking an interest in education policy. She enjoys “being able to sit with all the key players involved in issues that ultimately affect 1.1 million New York City school children.”
 

Steele hopes one day to positively impact the lives of many more through her own legislation. 

see article here