Girl Talk Institute

Students loitering around Catholic University’s Murphy’s Lounge on a Friday afternoon might see a group of Starbucks laden young women take over one of the booths, laughing and talking over their coffee. Students might not know it, but this little group forms the core of an organization that CUA students are quickly coming to know as “Girl Talk.” Flyers in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center and pictures on social media reveal cupcakes, quotes, coffee, and the confident, smiling faces of Girl Talk’s tightly knit campus ambassadors and interns.

This confidence and happiness are just what founder Julie Larkin created Girl Talk to promote: a “sisterhood” where every girl can recognize her self worth through vulnerable conversation and storytelling. As more students begin to learn about Girl Talk, the new organization proves likely to become one of the strongest positive influences on young women at The Catholic University of America.

Larkin created the group last year based on her previous experiences as a student minister at the university.  Through her position Larkin came in contact with many young women struggling with self-image and peer pressure. Empathy for their struggles prompted her to host a glittery, cupcake filled event, telling girls campus wide to come “talk about boys and eat chocolate.” Here she shared her own story of doubts and joys and encouraged them to recognize that they were not alone, that they were beautiful, loved, and “priceless.”   The massive success of the event and following events inspired Larkin to found Girl Talk for Catholic University students after her graduation.

“At its heart, Girl Talk is about friendship,” Larkin said. “It’s affirming and challenging each other to be the best women we can be.”

Her message proves very appealing to the young women of Catholic University, inspiring several of them to apply as interns and campus ambassadors for Girl Talk. One of these students is marketing and communications intern Teddy Bridgeman.

 “I love working for Girl Talk because it is an organization that I really believe in and care about,” Bridgeman said, “It has been amazing to watch Girl Talk grow so rapidly, and being a part of that rapid growth has been very rewarding and inspiring.”

Meg Seery, a junior nursing major and Girl Talk campus ambassador, says she joined Girl Talk because she believes every college needs a place where girls can come and be heard.

  “I think it’s hard to find a place that accepts every girl even if they believe different things and have different interests,” Seery said. “I love being a face for Girl Talk- I hope as Girl Talk grows girls realize that the Girl Talk Ambassadors on their campus want to see every girl feel loved and that Girl Talk is a safe place to come and be themselves. "

 A typical Girl Talk event will start with a conversation led by one of the leaders with personal stories, anecdotes, and discussion, and conclude with a craft and refreshments. Seery and the other campus ambassadors are currently training to be able to lead these events next year, meanwhile spreading the message around campus through social media, events, and by their own example.

Part of Girl Talk’s mission of empowering women includes a mentor program, pairing each ambassador up with a professional who acts as a mentor. Anna Quattrone, a junior media studies ambassador, found herself paired with a professional who works in the Pentagon. Quattrone looks forward to finding out why Larkin and the leaders of Girl Talk chose this mentor for her.

“Along this journey, we each figure out why we were paired up with our mentor,” Quattrone said. “I’m very excited to find out in what ways she’ll impact my life.”

Girl Talk is currently in the process of interviewing and hiring interns for the spring 2017 semester, looking for young women who are passionate and driven about Girl Talk’s mission of empowerment. The organization’s goal is to spread throughout college campuses in the District of Columbia. Long term, Quattrone and the other members believe that the organization could potentially spread to other colleges and even high schools around the nation. Quattrone looks forward to this with excitement, saying she truly loves Girl Talk’s mission and feels that it is very important to let her peers understand they are not alone.

 “Right now is a really important time,” Quattrone said.  “So many people think they are alone and that no one else knows what they are going through. Girl Talk gets the word out there that you are not alone; you are enough, and together we can do so much.”