Chhavi Mehra

Age: 22

Education: South Seattle College, Associate of Arts in Communication and Media Studies, June 2017

SU Major: Communication and Media with a specialization in Journalism, 2020

Service:

  • Editorial Intern, Paradigm Communications Group (Publisher for Alaska Beyond/Horizon Edition Magazine), Seattle WA, 2017–2018

  • Brand Associate/Cash Handler, Old Navy, Seattle WA, 2017–2018

  • Publications Intern, Student Life, South Seattle College, 2017–2018

  • Copy-Editor, Aseem Asha Foundation, New Delhi, India, 2017

  • Outreach Coordinator, Services and Activities Fee Board, South Seattle College, 2016–2017

  • Communications Director, Services and Activities Fee Board, South Seattle College, 2016

  • Treasurer, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, South Seattle College, 2015–2016

Awards/Honors:

  • Messina Scholarship, Seattle University, 2018

  • Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship Semifinalist, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, 2017, 2018

  • All-Washington Academic Team, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, 2017–2018

  • Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, 2016–Present

  • Anderson-Jones Adopt-A-Student Scholarship, South Seattle College Foundation, 2016–2017

  • Beardsley Foundation Adopt-A-Student Scholarship, South Seattle College Foundation, 2015–2016

  • Florence Galbraith Endowed Scholarship, South Seattle College Foundation, 2016–2017

  • President’s List, South Seattle College, quarterly 2015–2017

  • Faculty Tenure Committee, South Seattle College, 2016–2017

  • Employee Appreciation Certificate (Phi Theta Kappa; Services and Activities

  • Fee Board), South Seattle College, 2015–2017

  • International Student Scholarship, South Seattle College Center for International Education, 2015–2017

  • Conflict Management Certificate, King County, 2015

Goals:

My goal is to give voice to the voiceless. I want to use my writing abilities to shine light on the stories of the underrepresented communities in America and provide them with a safe space where they can comfortably speak up. I would also like to create my own news outlet that is run by folks that are usually “silenced” or “unheard.”

Civility Statement:

I define civility as the means to value our differences and exercise kindness, mutual respect and understanding with each other. Civility asks us to be mindful of our interactions with people because words can be powerful. We need to realize that the world is not black and white. There are many sides to a story. Therefore, civility begins within us through our responsibility and compassion to our community.

Autobiography:

I am an international student from India. I grew up in a small, middle-class family of three, my mom, my brother, and me. On the outside, one could say I lived like a princess because I had the option of living with parents until I would marry, I didn’t need a job, and I had servants so I didn’t do household chores. However, on the inside, living there as a woman was not always easy. I had to dress conservatively, I couldn’t be out and about past 6 in the evening because it was dangerous, and I couldn’t talk about women troubles in front of family because that would bring them shame. Something felt off.

To the people in India, America is the place to become something. Leaving India was hard. My mom has been my inspiration throughout my life. She gave everything for her family. She once told me that I was her strongest pillar and she was sending me away. I could feel the pain and fear she felt, and yet she remained strong as I left for an unknown place.

When I came to the United States, I had a newfound freedom. Although I went through a rough period of adjustment, I was no longer afraid to walk down the streets by myself, I could freely choose my career in journalism without the pressure of being judged, I wasn’t scared to speak up for myself, and I wasn’t nervous to stand out because my cultural values are different. I also like how women are able to voice their opinions and feel heard, how schools have women-led clubs, and more importantly how conversations are driven by everybody’s voice.

And although I am very happy to be here, I still carry my beautiful and culturally rich India with me, inside and out. I make a point to wear Indian jewelry with my Western style of clothing. I take pride in helping Indian people by speaking two of the hundreds of languages in India. I love to share the many different aspects of Indian culture, such as the importance of family, with the people I meet. I adore sharing unbelievable stories about thousands of Indian gods and goddesses and how they each have a traveling companion. For example, an Indian god named Ganesha, commonly known as the god with an elephant head, is believed to travel on a mouse! In my case, I like to think that I travel with the best parts of Mother India.

I keep India as part of my identity, and that keeps me driven. Currently, I’m working towards achieving a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and hope to use my writing abilities and work for a local newspaper focusing on underrepresented people and empowering them to tell their stories. I hope to build a safe platform to open a dialogue between the advantaged and disadvantaged folks.

Advice:

I have had a foot in both places and on this journey, I’ve learned to find people who are ambitious and have a positive outlook on life similar to mine. I find people who hold me accountable for wavering from my goals. I accept my body’s image as unique and beautiful in its own way because not accepting myself held me back from certain opportunities. It’s important to not shy away from voicing injustices and one’s opinions due to language insecurities.

What it means to be an Alfie:

For me, being an Alfie means to continue to be my authentic self, to educate folks on the principles of civility and leadership using strong and effective tools of communication, such that they can be practiced in the real world, and to create allies that support my vision.