How These Recent Grads See The Current World As An Opportunity To Make Positive Change

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The Neutrogena Faces of The Future winners are changemakers. They are leaders. They are ahead of their time. They see the problems our world is facing as an opportunity to make it better. Below, we asked four of the winners that recently graduated what their vision for the future is, and all we can say is prepare to be inspired. 

Jeanne Paulino

Jeanne is a 2020 graduate of Northwestern University. Born in Los Angeles to Philipino immigrants, she is a proud first-generation college student. She credits her tenth grade AP Environmental Science teacher in providing resources and advice that have helped her arrive at where she is today. Without him, she says she may never have applied to Northwestern and ended up writing her honors thesis in the Sociology department, where she hopes to use her education and degree to kickstart real change in the world and advocate for others who had limited opportunities like she did.

What is your vision for your future? 

“I strive to use my education —  the lessons I have learned in the classroom, the privilege that I hold having graduated from a top university, and the experiences that have shaped and informed my views — as an opportunity to advocate for marginalized communities, similar to the one I come from. I have recently accepted a job with Teach for America, wherein leaders commit to teaching in under-served communities for two years. I will serve as a special education teacher at a public school in Chicago. Educational inequality is one of the most pervasive forms of inequality in this country, and from firsthand experience, I know the impact a teacher who believes in their students can have. I want to be that person for someone else to close the opportunity gap and usher future generations for people of color, women, and low-income communities into positions of power and leadership to resolve systematic inequality.”

Akos Owusu-korkor

A 2020 graduate of Kent State University, Akos has already achieved so much. While studying abroad in Korea during her junior year, she completed 60 hours of an English tutoring program where she taught her students language and culture. She found that her students were understanding and open to learn, and that inspired her. Akos very quickly realized this was her passion and saw the power teaching can have around the world.

What is your vision for your future? 

"My vision for the future is to strengthen my skills, make use of my degree, and go to grad school! For my long term goals, I want to break into new technology fields such as VR or holograms. As a first-generation American, I really know how it is to feel different all your life and not see many people like you in your community, shows, and games and how that can affect you in the long run. I learned I can make the place not just for me but for other people as well. I really hope to combine my education and creativity with technology, and see what that can become in the technological revolution our country is having.”

Maggie Zheng

Class of 2020 graduate Maggie Zheng has traveled the world to study the effectiveness of various social change programs. She has also worked at a health clinic that provides free healthcare for the homeless and has volunteered as a tutor to middle school students. Through these experiences, she came to believe that most people are truly good. But in our age of misinformation, fear-mongering, and ego-centrism, it's often easy to reduce individuals down to their interpretation of one situation and therefore brand them as immoral. She believes that people can change for the better through education and community guidance. 

What is your vision for your future? 

"As we speak, cities all over the world are participating in the Black Lives Matter Movement. COVID-19 has caused over 100,000 deaths just in America alone. Hong Kong is still protesting. Not to mention the millions of people in poverty, oppressed by unjust governments, or silenced by sexist traditions. There is still so much to be done and 2020 has been a year full of so many tragedies it feels like five years have already passed at this point. Of course, I want to solve all of these problems, but I also recognize that my time and ability are limited. I choose to spend most of my energy on issues that I can make the most impact while doing what I can to support others. My biggest priority right now is improving the quality of education while also increasing students’ access to information. Education can't solve all problems, but it can create opportunities, foster empathy, create space for new ideas and possibilities. We not only as individuals need to do better, but we also need to empower others to be better as well."

Cady Casellas

University of Florida graduate Cady Casellas is the radio personality of Chisme Con Cady, Gainesville, Florida’s only Latin music show. In Gainesville and at UF, she shared that it was hard to find where she belonged as a Latinx. In her third year of college, she founded the radio station and created a voice for the Latinx community locally and at her university. She successfully brought her Latinx community together through music from their childhood and their culture. 

What is your vision for your future?

“My vision for the future is to continue being a voice for my community throughout my radio journey. I want my future listeners to tune in to my show and not only enjoy the music, but receive valuable information they can take with them in their daily lives. I want to inspire future generations of radio personalities to use their voice for good. As people in the media, we have a responsibility and a privilege to provide information to people who consume our content. In radio, unlike other platforms, we have the advantage of speaking to our listeners one-on-one, which reaches them on a more personal level. We have the power to control what information we broadcast to listeners. When analyzing the current state of our country as it pertains to Black Lives Matter and taking action against police brutality, I believe it’s vital that we speak out against injustices, and speak up in support of our community. I want to continue to use my platform as an educational tool, and encourage others to fight for justice. We must go beyond music and use our presence in the local community to make positive changes. It isn’t political to advocate for human rights. I hope to be not only a radio personality that entertains but one that my listeners can trust and learn something from.”