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KELSEY NAVA-COSTALES

Year: Senior

Major: Ethnic Studies and Nonprofit Administration

Dream Job: To be a Jedi? This is such a hard question! If I am really dreaming I would love to be a professional soccer player or swimmer, or maybe even a singer. Iíd love to be Adele for a week! Realistically, I want my work to mean something; I would love to be a Sex Educator, work with at-risk youth, or be a politician and use my power for good. I currently work with Oregon Community Programs, a program that helps to foster youth in Oregon. I specifically work with formerly incarcerated youth and I am continuously blown away. They bring me to tears with their stories and their triumphs.


How/why do you want to change the world?
I grew up abroad — mostly Southeast Asia. I have seen the extreme poverty that so many communities live in and it really opened my eyes at a young age. Furthermore, it made me aware of the extreme privileges we have here in the US and at the same time the things we take for granted and have yet to figure out. Being back in the US, especially now during this tumultuous political climate, I am reminded of the ways that the US needs to grow. Some of the communities that voted for our current administration are the ones who will be most affected by it and that breaks my heart. I am continuously kvetching to my partner about the insane salaries of celebrities and professional athletes because I can’t help but think about the fact that there are people who donít have access to clean water, food or safe housing. We have it so backward and that is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. It would be amazing to be a part of an NGO or Political Action team that can make real change. I want to be on the front lines, grassroots organizing and interacting with those in need.


What are some of your goals after college?
Well, I am currently working on a project with Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. I am collecting data on the Latino population in Lane County and am trying to answer questions regarding their sexual health, overall wellness and access to health care. I am hoping to create culturally competent curriculum. I plan to finish that and present to the board in October. Eventually, I hope to attend the distance Masters program from PSU in Social Work and maybe pursue a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology. If I am going to teach Iíd love to do it at the college level and teach Ethnic Studies through a musical lens.


Who’s your biggest role model/influencer?
  My mama, Amy Costales. She is the Lorelai to my Rory and my Grandma Jeanne Costales who is definitely Emily Gilmore. They are both such incredible, strong, smart women and I am lucky to have had them as my biggest cheerleaders! Outside of my family, I would say Elizabeth Warren; she is one awesome lady!


Which fictional character is most like yourself?
I grew up looking up to Princess Leia from Star Wars, and Eowyn from Lord of The Rings. My mom always taught me to not be afraid to get dirty, speak my mind and that I was just as good and worthy as any male counterpart. These women were not afraid to stand up to sexism and fight for the things they loved.