Top 5 Clubs to Join at U.Va.

Story by: Olivia Knott*

Ah, the school year has begun! While you may be tempted to split your time between hours of reading (ahem, procrastinating) on the bottom floor of Clemons and dancing the night away on the top floor of Trinity, why not use this year to make a difference for others?

U.Va. is home to around 350 clubs. While this may sound intimidating, fear not! With the help of my peers, I have chosen the top 5 clubs at U.Va. that strive for social justice, raise awareness, and foster the growth of relationships and ideas between peers.

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A Lasting Commitment:

Student reflects on experience with YWLP in Nicaragua

YWLP Nicaragua Group

My team poses with this year’s Bigs and Littles after their first meeting together.

Story and photos by: Emily Anthony

This article is dedicated to the supporters of Rompiendo Fronteras in Managua, Nicaragua including the faculty of Lincoln International Academy, Facilitators, and former and current Big Sisters, as well as the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 JPC teams, whose hard work has brought the mission of Rompiendo Fronteras to life.


Before leaving for Managua, Nicaragua, my Jefferson Public Citizens (JPC) Team and I spent an entire semester and summer preparing for the two-week long trip. Since its founding a year ago, the mission of Hermanas Unidas Rompiendo Fronteras has been to adapt U.Va.’s Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP) into a Nicaraguan program that connects upper class teens exhibiting leadership skills with disadvantaged, elementary-level girls. With the guidance of a teenaged mentor, or “Big Sister,” Rompiendo Fronteras strives to encourage each mentee, or “Little Sister,” to overcome life’s setbacks, so that she can then prevail as a leader in her developing community.

Though Rompiendo Fronteras ran successfully during its first year with funding from JPC and the Alcoa Foundation, as well as support from YWLP and Lincoln International Academy, the private bilingual college-preparatory school the Bigs attend, its continued sustainability became the primary issue my team eagerly worked to improve, so that Little Sisters in years to come have the opportunity to gain the same confidence in self as our first group of girls.

Nicaragua Classroom

One of the seven classrooms at la Sagrada Familia, where the mentees of Rompiendo Fronteras attend school.

To achieve this goal, we decided to establish better infrastructure so that Rompiendo Fronteras would be able to run successfully on its own. My team and I achieved this by creating a comprehensive handbook that teaches the program’s Facilitators how to successfully manage group meetings, curriculum and membership. Additionally, we brought new 2D printing technology and mentoring curriculum, with the purpose of increasing each mentee’s ability to think and act autonomously in order to achieve personal goals. We created networks to better foster Rompiendo Fronteras’ relationship with its YWLP Sister Site in Charlottesville. Toward the end of our stay, my team and LIA held the first of many annual induction ceremonies for each of Rompiendo Fronteras’ dedicated mentors. Furthermore, four former Bigs created a fundraising club at LIA to help cover the yearly supply costs of the program. Although all of these goals seemed daunting at first, by the time we left Nicaragua, my team and I had successfully completed a lengthy list of tasks aiding Rompiendo Fronteras’ internal sustainability.

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Story and photos by: Sophia Socarras

My childhood dream was to become an interior designer. While most kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons, I spent my weekend mornings watching HGTV design shows and helping my parents pick paint colors for our house. When I finally moved into an apartment this semester, I was excited to decorate my own place!
Whether you’re moving into a new place or are looking to change it up a bit in your apartment, dorm or house, here are my top 5 tips to make the most of your space.

  1. Explore your local thrift stores. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your space unique. For example, I found a beautiful, large wooden mirror at Goodwill in Annandale, VA for only $30! Saving money on pieces like this will leave you more money to spend on investing in other parts of your space. Habitat for Humanity is also a great place to look for discounted furniture pieces. You can even view their inventory online so you know what they have even before stepping into their store.

    decor 1

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Story and photos by: Sophia Socarras

The summer has finally ended, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already started making plans for next summer. This past summer I spent my time picnicking on the Lawn with friends, getting ahead on the classes I need for my major and exploring Charlottesville. Here are my top 5 r easons you should stay in Charlottesville next summer.

cville 4

1) Make next summer more productive! I personally spent my time taking a classI needed for my major and getting accustomed to living off Grounds. I know I’ll be happy later this fall when I have fewer credits to take and more time to focus on what I love to do.


2) Even while under construction, the Grounds are absolutely beautiful in the summertime. Not only is the weather gorgeous, but the smaller student body and the slower paced lifestyle allow students to appreciate the beauty.
Angelica Botlo, a second year and prospective Government and
Media Studies major, “loved relaxing on the Lawn [… and] also enjoyedwatching the new first years at orientation because watching themexplore U.Va. and get excited about attending reminded [her of] how amazing Grounds is and how it should never be taken for granted.”

cville 2

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Story by: Olivia Knott

One month left of summer means only one more month of uninhibited reading for fun.

No, this is not another Cosmo magazine-esque list of  “sexy summer beach reads.” Here are three compelling non-fiction books for the girls who want to flex their learning muscles while laying out on the beach.

Whether you are a fashion lover, entrepreneur, social activist- or all of the above- there is a perfect read for you!

Grace: A Memoir

As past articles might indicate, I am a documentary addict, and so of course, I discovered this memoir thanks to a documentary called The September Issue, which follows the staff of Vogue in creating the magazine’s most important issue of the year.

In it, we meet Grace Coddington, Vogue’s creative director. With bright orange hair and no eyebrows, she’s a fascinating character from the start. Naturally, I left the film needing to know the story of the intriguing visionary behind Vogue’s pages.

Photo from

Photo from
Grace Coddington holding her eponymous memoir.

Her memoir is a combination of written story, self-illustrated sketches and samples of personal modeling pictures as well as fashion spreads, creating a book rich in visual content.

Coddington recounts her professional journey from model to Vogue’s creative director, as well as her personal life and includes many revealing anecdotes about her experiences with fashion’s biggest designers and photographers. Most interesting is watching her navigate her, at times, contentious relationship with Anna Wintour- including penning a chapter focused on the editor-in-chief.

Visit this link to view the creative director’s work in an excerpt of the documentary, The September Issue.

The Path Redefined: Getting to the Top on your Own Terms

Lauren Maillian Bias, who penned this memoir at the age of 28 as an already successful entrepreneur of three different business ventures (including creator and former C.O.O. of Sugarleaf Vineyards, rebranded in 2013 as Wisdom Oak Winery, right here in Charlottesville!), gives her advice on finding success in the business world using three driving principles:

  1. To attract opportunities and be prepared for when they arrive
  2. To invest in relationships that will bring opportunity
  3. To seize opportunities

I admit, I am not a fan of confrontation- when it comes to fight or flight, I pick flight about 95 percent of the time.  Not exactly a great career skill.

Therefore, my favorite advice comes from the third section of the book on seizing opportunity- a chapter on learning to negotiate. Negotiating is integral to advancing in the business world, but something many people (aka me) are fearful to do. Bias gives her insight on the importance of knowing your audience, as well as how to prepare for, construct and control the direction of your negotiation to best benefit your goal.

Finally, us confrontation-fearful can breathe a little easier (and get that promotion).

Each chapter also includes tips from successful business veterans such as Kathleen Warner (former C.O.O. Startup America Partnership) and Kelly Hoey (co-founder and managing director of Women Innovative Mobile).

Watch an interview with Maillian Bias about the key to her success here:

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban

The Let Girls Learn campaign recently highlighted the fact that 62 million girls around the world are not in school. Malala Yousafzi would have been one of these girls, had it not been for her father, who believed in educating his daughter. Now, at only 17, Yousafzai is an international leader in the fight for education.

Her memoir, I am Malala, recounts her experience growing up in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, an area deeply affected by Taliban violence. Despite erupting violence, her father continued to ensure her schooling. As a young pre-teen (wow), Yousafzai began to publically speak out in favor of the education for women, with such wide reaching activism that it came to the attention of the Taliban, and led to a member shooting her in the head at age 15.

Yet, her miraculous survival is proof that her message will not be silenced.

Last fall, this John Stewart interview with Yousafzai captured the attention of millions. If you have not seen it, let her powerful message inspire you to pick up the book immediately.

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