Meet Kayla Lesch — Physicist, Feminist, and Avid Hiker

Meet Kayla Lesch, a member of the BU Class of 2022 and someone I’m lucky to be able to call a close friend. I chose to interview Kayla because, while I have the privilege of knowing how interesting she is in person, I think other people should know her, and about how good of a testament to she is to being able to pursue diverse interests in college. Learn more about Kayla and what exactly she likes to do in my interview below.

 

What are you currently studying at BU?

I am currently a freshman physics major in CAS.

 

Which organizations are you in on campus and why did you choose to be in those specifically?

I'm very involved in Hillel and occasionally participate in the Outing Club, CHAARG, and Global Medical Brigades. I chose these groups because they all cover different parts of my identity and interests: Hillel gives me a strong Jewish community, the Outing Club and CHAARG involve lots of active physical activity which I enjoy, and Global Medical Brigades focuses on social justice issues. I also helped start a new club this year with two of my friends, Emily Sorkin and Cassie Berta, through Hillel named the Jewish Empowered Women’s Club. 

Not BU-related, but this is a picture of Kayla at the Tel-Aviv Slutwalk (which is a walk against sexual assault), adding to the list of cool things she’s done.

 

How did you come up with the idea for the Jewish Empowered Women’s Club?

At the summer camp I work at, we do "alternative prayer" activities in the morning (such as yoga or nature walks) to start the day. Last summer, I was asked to lead a “Feminism in Judaism” track and knew nothing about the topic beforehand but throughout the summer I learned so much and realized how large of a topic it truly is. I was talking about this with my friend, Emily Sorkin, early in the year and we decided, "why not do something like that here?!" We were introduced to our other co-founder, Cassie Berta, and we just went for it. 

Left to right: Kayla Lesch, Emily Sorkin, Emily Perelman. Center: Cassie Berta

 

What type of activities do you guys do?

Our purpose is to create a space for Jewish women to build relationships and to talk about issues and conflicts, along with all the positive things too, with our overlapping identities of Judaism and feminism. Our club is open to all people, no matter their religion or if they identify as female, the topics we discuss are just typically focused on being a Jewish woman. In the past, we've run discussions about the Women's March, the stereotype "JAP" (Jewish American Princess) and had a fun Galentine's Day event. Upcoming this semester we're excited to be planning a feminist Shabbat service and a Feminist Chocolate Seder for the holiday Passover. 

 

What goals do you have for this club going forward?

Mostly we're just hoping to keep growing and having successful events. More specifically, we're hoping to collaborate with Campus Curlz and a few other feminist clubs on campus. If we can get big enough, we'd love to bring in some speakers, but that's a very long-term goal. 

What are your plans for this summer?

This summer I’ll be working at my summer camp again!

 

What are three of your favorite non-academic things to do?

My three favorite things to do are probably hiking, thrift shopping, and binge-watching The Office.

 

Now for a sillier but very essential question: Which is the most important meal of the day?

Breakfast! I literally can't get through the day if I don't eat a big breakfast. 

 

I met Kayla through our physics class last semester, and to be quite honest I don’t think either one of us would have survived the semester without each other. With all the studying though, I was able to get to know her and learn more about who she is past physics (which, as you can see, is quite a lot of things). To anyone who worries about having to focus on just one or a couple of things throughout college, Kayla provides a great example that that doesn’t have to be the case at all.

 

To anyone interested in joining or learning more about the Jewish Empowered Women’s Club, click here to check out the Facebook page.

 

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