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16 CountdownCommencement 0528 MKL 4

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FINAL: Ari Owens is a first-generation student who had her pick of 13 institutions and selected NIU. She credits the Women’s and Gender Studies Program for helping her to improve her self-image and to use her voice. Ari is a social justice oriented leader who has used her voice to uplift others and to develop inclusive environments for all students at NIU. Her involvement includes serving as a tutor for middle school students, a residence hall community advisor, a student conduct board member, student association public relations officer and developing a sexual assault awareness event called “Survivors Find Freedom,” for which she won an award. Ari is graduating in May with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in women’s and gender studies. She is going to graduate school to pursue her master’s degree in adult and higher education. Kristen Myers, director of the Center for Study of Women, Gender & Sexuality describes her as “a delightful young woman able to explain potentially divisive concepts in a meaningful and convincing way. She’s what the feminist movement needs right now!” Owens is a recipient of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women Outstanding Women Student award.

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