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NAMRATHA SOMAYAJULA

Year: Senior

Major: International Studies major and French, Geography minors

Dream Job: International human rights lawyer working with women incarcerated for political crimes in conflict zones.

How/why do you want to change the world? Wherever I am, I want to always make sure I listen, talk to, and learn from people who come from different backgrounds, experiences, and worldviews than my own. If I can use my awareness of these different narratives to lend voice to marginalized groups and to help myself look at my own views with a critical perspective, I hope it will make a small change in whatever community I’m in.

What has been the best part of your college experience? I’ve found my own community here that I think would have been hard to come by anywhere else — leaving this incredible community of professors, peers, former students, and friends is going to be the hardest part about leaving. These people have played a large role in shaping who I am and itís thanks to them that I can call Oregon a home.

What are you proud to have been involved with at UO?  I’m lucky to have been offered the chance to pursue a variety of experiences here, each of which has uniquely influenced me and my way of looking at the world. Naming a few — Carnegie Global Oregon (CGO) and the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program immediately come to mind. I was introduced to Inside-Out through my involvement in CGO, and both have helped me begin learning how to view issues through a critical lens and how to make change in complex environments. Classes through the CRES program and the Oxford Consortium of Human Rights in England and Northern Ireland allowed for unique learning experiences regarding particular international conflicts, and have influenced both my way of understanding territorial conflict and my future career goals.

What are some of your goals after college?  I’m eager to continue learning and challenging my preconceived notions. While I’ll miss school and plan to pursue further education soon, Iím excited to begin working outside of a university setting next year, and to begin understanding how to apply what I’ve learned theoretically so far to the real world.

Who’s your biggest role model/influencer? My parents – I’ve thought several times over the past four years about how much growing up with them has influenced my most fundamental values. In particular, my mom has since the beginning been the person from whom I derive my passion for social justice – she’s my first teacher. I’ve also been extremely fortunate to have found other very positive and influential role models over the years in my teachers, some of the most influential of who I wouldnít know if I didnít come to the U of O.