With a passion for helping people tap into their hidden power, IGNITE Fellow Alicia Smith wants everyone to know that their civic engagement is crucial to the success of their community. Alicia came across IGNITE when she attended the annual Young Women Run New York conference last year. Upon hearing the call to action, she participated in a College Council hosted by the NY Fellow at the time, and was inspired to become a Fellow herself. With a bachelor’s degree in social work, Alicia wasn’t sure if the Fellowship was for her. She quickly discovered the Fellowship is for anyone who is passionate about creating change.
“You may think you need to be a political science major to be a Fellow, but it doesn’t matter what your major is. Everyone brings their own unique life experiences to the table,” shares Alicia.
Her shift towards social work on the macro level started when she became an intern for Assemblymember Jaime Williams who, like Alicia, also has a degree in social work. “Because of the internship and the Fellowship, everything has changed. I learned that there are many ways for me to help my community while using my degree on a macro level.” Currently, Alicia is working towards a master’s degree in social work at NYU.
As an IGNITE Fellow, Alicia creates College Chapters and hosts College Councils across the state, and shares that one of the best parts of being a Fellow is building relationships with the young women she meets. “One of my favorite aspects of the Fellowship is being able to check in on the young women. I want to engage and empower women of all backgrounds while providing a support system for them.”
Alicia is motivated by the idea of bringing out the best in people and helping them realize the resources they have around them can help them enact the change they want to see in the world. “I want young women to know they can engage civically, serve on boards and make an impact in their communities.” Alicia encourages young women across the country to apply for the Fellowship because it’s a way to grow professionally and personally while challenging yourself. “Because of the confidence IGNITE has given me, I’m going after everything. I don’t doubt myself any longer. I know I can do anything, especially with the support of my new IGNITE family.”
With just a month left until graduation, Alicia shares that the Fellowship has changed her trajectory and showed her that if she wants to run for office one day, she can. For anyone thinking of applying to the Fellowship, Alicia’s advice is to just go for it. “Be the person that’s breaking ground. You’re capable of a lot more than you think.”
Interested in becoming an IGNITE Fellow? Apply here.