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Kamryn Romano: Changing for the better

Kamryn Romano is a junior in the Honors College studying journalism in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and global and international studies in the College of Social Science. She is a media and marketing intern at University Communications.

I’ve always been a fan of change. When I was seven, I asked my parents if I could change my name because too many girls named Kaitlyn already went to my school. They said if I could save up my money and figure out how to legally do it myself, I could. So I did.

A new name, but the same, independent attitude has followed me since a year after that conversation.

I wanted to make changes that would positively affect others. In high school, I noticed that the students with special needs sat alone during lunch and didn’t seem comfortable socializing in the bustling cafeteria. My friends and I helped my school implement a program, where once a week, students from mainstream education classes and special education classes had lunch together in the gym and played games that encouraged an inclusive environment for all students.

By the end of my senior year, the same kids that didn’t speak during lunch were putting on their own talent show and loving the spotlight.

Without realizing it, I came to Michigan State already passionate about including underrepresented communities, and giving voices to those who weren’t always encouraged to have one.

I was excited by change and passionate about inclusion, but was uncertain how to make that into a career.

I started off as an education major, but after learning about institutionalized racism and non-inclusive curriculum, and how it contributes to the achievement gap for minority students, I knew I wanted to do more to give these students a voice and a fair chance.

Long, stressful story short, I changed my major to journalism so that I can help people make their voices heard, and declared an additional major in global and international studies to learn how to give this voice to underrepresented people.

Since I’ve chosen this path, I’ve been presented with amazing opportunities. I became the editor-in-chief for the Odyssey online, got a research position with my professor about international crises and began an internship at University Communications where I write and edit stories just like these to share all of the amazing things MSU students and faculty do.

Recently, I edited a story for a new exhibit at the Broad Art Lab about underrepresentation in the American media. This exhibit showcased fun parodies and skits by U.S.-born, immigrant and refugee youth paired with powerful messages on the subject by Malcom X. I was inspired to take a look and browsing the gallery ignited an excitement in me that made me even more sure of the changes I made.

Being exposed to the way this prejudice affects immigrants, refugees and other marginalized people has made me acknowledge that I am lucky to be able to choose my own path, and not everyone has the resources or opportunities to pursue their dreams.

I always look for ways to challenge myself, and the people I’ve met and the lessons I’ve learned have afforded me opportunities that make me a better person. I’ve gotten to study abroad in Rome, attend meetings at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation about the world economy, work with students from almost every continent and my next adventure is taking me to Israel with MSU Fact Finders.

Change is not always easy, but I am finding that it can be rewarding. Embracing change has helped me to be the go-getter I am today.