Sophia is a student in the College of Arts and Science with hopes to major in Psychology and minor in Creative Writing. She is very interested in the wellness and dialogue aspects of the Program and the SNF Paideia designated courses Grit Lab and Positive Psychology, which focus on building resilience and self-confidence. Sophia applied to be an SNF Paideia Fellow in part because the Program will help her develop the dialogic skills, knowledge and practices needed to succeed in fostering dialogue among young people and bridging the gap between health care providers and patients. She is already pursuing this interest by participating in a summer research internship on improving youth mental health services with implementation science. She believes the Program will give her the space to pursue her academic interests while integrating experiential tools for engaging across differences and becoming a more well-rounded citizen.
Sophia’s interest in cultivating the practice of dialogue stems from her experience as the founder and president of a mental health initiative at her high school. The group focused on building resilience in teens with anxiety and depression. “It was a challenge in the beginning to figure out how to foster open conversation with all these people who had never really opened up to their peers or families. Over several sessions, I began to realize there wasn’t an exact blueprint for dialogue across difference, but that what mattered was being willing to meet people where they are and then move on from there.” Sophia understands the value of creating a space in which people can speak their mind in a way that is respectful and conscientious of themselves and others. She wishes to empower others to notice their own agency and ability to create change, both on the individual and community level. She looks forward to continuing practicing these skills as a SNF Paideia Fellow and not just through verbal conversation, but through other creative mediums as well. Her background in creative writing provides Sophia an artistic perspective of dialogue, one that can take many different formats such as poetry, art, and music.