Waka Kobayashi transparent

Waka Kobayashi

Age: 21
Plainview, NY
Star Fellowship 2013

Back to #RUNwithRS Voting Page

Leadership Experience

I am currently in my senior year at Smith College, and I have run for my student government every year and have been a Treasurer, Senator, and Vice President of the Student Government Association. This year, I have also been appointed to the Judicial Board of Smith College where I am part of a committee of judges that review cases brought before the board regarding any infractions of the student code of ethics and conduct. The board focuses on educating individuals rather than punishing them.

I have interned in the intelligence community in the U.S Department of Defense as a language analyst. In addition, during my Running Start experience I interned with Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC) where I was able to personally learn about the experience women have in politics and using my experiences to make the change in the world. Following my Running Start experience I lived, worked, and studied in Geneva, Switzerland. I interned at the International Publishers Association (IPA), where I conducted research on education structures around the world, especially on the use of technology in South Korea’s education system. In addition, I attended meetings on behalf of my organization at the United Nations Office in Geneva during the General Assembly and Human Rights Council meetings. IPA is also very involved at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and I was able to witness the signing of the Marrakesh Treaty. It was amazing to watch women leaders and national representatives from all over the world make history. Though I was interning, taking a full course load of Graduate level classes, and writing a research paper, I also took the opportunity to travel. I was able to make time to travel to 14 countries during my time abroad. I learned so much about the culture and history of the countries and their peoples as well as about different world issues.

My experience from Running Start taught me that with hard work, I could achieve whatever I want. I remembered to never underestimate my capabilities because I can achieve anything I want to. This helped me to continue pushing myself further and further to the next step. I also met with many women in various countries and talked about many of the common issues they face in society and about the role of women in politics. After I graduate in May of 2015, I will be moving back to Washington D.C. where I will be working as a public sector consultant at IBM. I will be working with clients all across the government in various departments and agencies and I hope to further my passion for women in politics. I want to be able to reach women in all different agencies and departments in the government and work with them, so I am looking forward to the next step in my life.

Since my Running Start experience, I learned that every individual is different and what I bring to the table matters. Being a woman just adds another perspective to leadership and I know that anything is possible with hard work. Women need to support one another in the world. Throughout my life, from my Running Start Fellowship to my time abroad and even at Smith College, many women have mentored and guided me in allowing me to achieve my goals, and I want to be that person for another rising woman out there and show that it is possible.

Running Start’s Impact

I think one of the greatest ways that the Running Start program has impacted my life was to not be afraid to reach out to people and ask for advice, and share my goals with others. Networking has always been my weakest trait but through the weekly mentor coffees and attending various events, I encouraged myself to network and be as genuine as possible and it gave me a lot of practice networking with various people. I have carried this skill with me to this day. In addition, Running Start helped me realize that everyone will have a different path and different goal and it is about the decisions you make in your life that will get you to where you want to be. It is important to thank the various people along the way who have helped you out and to constantly believe that your goals are achievable.

Another important thing that I learned at Running Start was the importance of women helping other women. This was especially important to me because I attend a women’s college where sometimes it gets competitive. But at the end of the day, if women want to succeed, women with experience and those in power need to help other women succeed. Since Running Start, I have made myself more available to my friends and those who are in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd year at Smith College to ask me questions about politics, my experience at Running Start in DC, and just advice on my Smith College and work/internship experience.

Connect with Waka!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waka.kobayashi.16 I Twitter: @waka_kobayashi I LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/waka-kobayashi/46/9b2/9a4 I Instagram: @wakakobayashi

Back to #RUNwithRS Voting Page