Eryn Wells ’19 mobilized her passion for social justice advocacy to create a safer campus for Poets.
Wells has spent the past four years dedicated to increasing Title IX awareness and education on the Whittier College campus.
Wells’ interest in the rights of marginalized populations was piqued during an internship at the King County Department of Equity and Justice in Seattle, Wash. The internship, which she had before she became a Whittier College student, ignited her passion for advocacy and social justice—and she continued her engagement at the College from the moment she stepped foot on-campus. The first group Wells joined at Whittier was the Social Justice Coalition. She was also inspired to volunteer with various student organizations, and soon, she decided to run for ASWC Senate.
In her early years at Whittier, Wells took a Philosophy of Love & Human Sexuality course, which got her interested in women’s health. This new interest motivated her to launch projects with Whittier faculty, staff, and student organizations to help bridge the gap between students and their health resources on campus. Ultimately, Wells’ advocacy projects led to an internship in the Dean of Students Office. During this internship, she assisted the Vice President and Dean of Students, along with the Lead Title IX Investigator, in achieving their goals of creating an inclusive community, conducting work related to Title IX, and spreading awareness and educational resources regarding Title IX policies on campus. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
Wells attributes many of her professional, practical, and social skills to her leadership and organizational experiences at Whittier. “I feel confident in my ability to effectively mobilize a community around a topic I am passionate about, while also showing respect for ideas that differ from my own,” she said.
Wells has left a major impact on the Whittier College community—and it left a major impact on her, as well. She values the countless connections she made at Whittier, not only with her peers but with her professors, such as Associate Professor of Business Administration Gary Gold, Associate Professor of Environmental Science Cinzia Fissore, Professor of Political Science Joyce Kaufman, and Senior Lecturer and Director of the Writing Program Charles Eastman.
“I am thankful for all the wisdom and knowledge my professors imparted, the trust they put in me, and learning opportunities they granted me. I know that, due to connections like these, I have lifelong mentors and friends,” said Wells.
Wells plans to stay closely connected to the Whittier College Community after graduation; she was recently elected to serve as the Violence, Intervention, and Prevention Club’s Alumni Advisor, where she will continue to plan events that educate students on Whittier College’s Title IX policy.
Professionally, Wells plans to continue using her voice to advocate for marginalized and underrepresented communities by pursuing a career in immigration or education law.
“Thanks to the independent research projects I have done and interdisciplinary classes I’ve taken, I am well equipped to continue to grow and prosper in the next steps of my professional journey with an open and focused mind,” she said.