Dear HS Insider students, advisers and partners,
My name is Molly Heber and I am delighted to join the HS Insider family as the Project Leader this June!
I come aboard with years of youth empowerment and civic engagement experience, although I will admit, most of that came to me later in life. When I was a high school student myself, I was academically strong but wholly disengaged from my surrounding community.
It was not until my high school graduation day that I began to change the way I saw and interacted with the world. That day, I walked across the stage to grab my diploma and instead of looking out into the crowd to see my friends and family cheering me on, I looked out and realized that many of my friends were not walking with me. I suddenly became aware that not everyone had equal access to education and, therefore, opportunities for growth.
I spent my college years trying to figure out how to change this by studying International Relations at UC Davis. It took me those four years to realize that I could have the greatest impact not on the world’s stage, but rather by working with and for grassroots, community-based organizations. I moved to Los Angeles, then, to work in college access and career readiness for Los Angeles Education Partnership.
For four years, I worked with schools across Los Angeles to ensure that students had access to the resources they needed to graduate ready for their next life step. I sought out new ways to combine my personal passions with this work. I joined Exploring the Arts, Inc. to support young people through opportunities to work in prominent arts and cultural organizations around Los Angeles. I took on a fellowship with the Front Line Leaders Academy of the People for the American Way Foundation to explore new modes of civic engagement. Together, these experiences sent me to Harvard Graduate School of Education to obtain a Master’s in Education. My goal was to expand my capacity to support young people in better leveraging their experiences to change the world for the better — something I wish I would have learned to do when I was in high school.
As I return to Los Angeles, I am overjoyed to accept a place within the HS Insider Pham that I have admired from afar since its inception. I am thrilled to be able to work with thousands of passionate, engaged and thoughtful young people who are eager to share their voices with the world. Furthermore, I am so humbled by the warm welcome I’ve received from students, advisors, partners and colleagues alike. For this, I extend special thanks to our Co-lead Producers, Kevin Camargo and Isabella Balandran, and the Student Advisory Board.
Finally, I wish to thank Kyle Finck who has built this program into the thriving youth hub that it is today. I cannot hope to “fill your big shoes,” but I will certainly take every opportunity to honor your vision of an empowered next generation. We wish you the best of luck in all of your endeavors!
And with that, let’s get to work!