Take the Reins and Jump In!: Video Transcript

Kate Black (BA Individualized Studies, Miami, 2006) [Research Director for Emily's List]: My job right now is kind of the embodiment of my major. I am working to elect women to public office. That is my main goal every two years for the elections, and so it really does kind of represent my four years of study here at Miami, I think.

A lot of my friends were taking the LSAT, a lot of my friends were looking at law school. I also took the LSAT; I also applied to law school. But I ultimately on a whim decided it wasn't really the right fit for me. It didn't scratch that activism itch that I had, so I Googled, literally, 'women, Washington DC, and jobs'. And Emily's List popped up, and for me that was really kind of the spark I needed to ignite my own change.

The types of classes I took to build my major were a variety of public administration, political science, women studies, and sociology courses, some of which were titled 'Women in Sport', which I think was interesting in that it dealt into certain ideas about feminism, about femininity, and women in nontraditional roles. Others were about the family and the structure of family and society. And then, of course, the political science classes. I took everything from international affairs to electoral systems, learning about how maybe we can elect more women if our electoral systems were structured differently.

Some of the resources that I found to be really helpful when I was a student here were my professors. I had excellent mentors and advisors that helped me figure out where I wanted to go. I think the Individualized Studies Program helped me to build my roadmap, but they were certainly there along the way to make sure that I was staying on track. The other resource that I found to be really helpful were the student groups. I was a part of the Association for Women Students, which for me built a sort of cohort of women, who were like-minded, who were interested in the issues I was. And with that group we put on events like 'Take Back the Night', worked with sexual assault awareness, and other really important issues for women on campus and I think for me it really sparked that kind of activism for me moving forward.

Given all the excitement around women's leadership right now, I am incredibly motivated and inspired by not only the women who are looking to run for president at the top of our ticket, but the women who are stepping out and running for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, or even just their local state representative seat. I am constantly overwhelmed by the courage that it takes to put your name on the ballot. And for young women coming out of school, I think if you're interested in serving in public life, you should do that, and you should make it a priority. Women's voices are so often not at the table, and the more that we can get young women's voices at those decision-making tables, I think the better our policies will be for women and families.

Don't wait to be asked. If you think you have a good idea or if you think you want to take initiative or do something, do it, move forward. In my work, I find that women need to be asked more to run for public office. One of the things that I would say to young women coming out of school is, don't wait. If you want to do something, take the reins with both hands and jump in.

[April 2015]