Interview with Amanda Draper, National Content and Social Media Director at NextGenVest
By Amanda Draper, National Content and Social Media Director at NextGenVest
How I am involved:
I am the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Testimony Project, Washington D.C. an independent bilingual (English and Spanish) multimedia initiative based here in D.C. that aims to provide victim-survivors of sexual and gender-based violence a platform where they can tell their stories and give testimony, in a manner that feels safe, supportive and empowering for them. As part of the project, I am directing and producing a feature length documentary film, “The Testimony Project” where I am interviewing victim-survivors, about their experiences with sexual and gender-based violence and providing them the opportunity to give testimony. Before co-founding The Testimony Project, I did human rights research in Chile dealing with historic memory and human rights during the Pinochet regime (11 September 1973-10 March 1990).
My hobbies and interests
In my spare time, when I am not doing work for The Testimony Project or finding dope GIFs and memes to post on NextGenVest’s website and social media pages, I enjoy reading, cooking, baking, playing with animals, doing human rights advocacy, writing and watching Netflix. I am interested in U.S. and Latin American politics, human rights advocacy, feminism, helping shelter animals find homes, and trying to do and write all of the things.
What I want high school students to know
I was lucky when I was applying for college in that my Mom does college counseling for high schoolers, so I knew a lot, probably way too much about college admissions and application processes going into it. My parents had me do my applications and essays the summer before senior year and that was one of the best decisions that I made, because I was able to have everything almost done before the school year even started, so I could enjoy my classes and my last year of high school without having the added stress of doing college applications. I also applied to schools which offered Early Action and rolling admission so in mid November of my senior year, I had already been accepted to two colleges and that was a huge stress relief.
I would recommend whenever possible do your stuff as early as possible, try to do the early application deadlines. If possible try to apply to at least one college with rolling admissions that you like, is a good fit for you and where you will likely be admitted so you will have an option for school.
One thing I wish I had done was apply for scholarships and negotiate for Rhodes to give me scholarships that other colleges I had applied to and been accepted at had offered me. Not applying for scholarships and not asking for Rhodes to give me scholarships was one of my biggest regrets of my college process, if NextGenVest had been around when I was applying for college, I would have applied for scholarships.
How my alma mater is special
Rhodes is in the city of Memphis, in Memphis, TN and I LOVE Memphis. Memphis is a special city, that will always hold a special place in my heart. Rhodes looks like Hogwarts and it has a beautiful campus, but it’s in the middle of Memphis. I went to Rhodes because it’s college known for it’s commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, which is important because when I was applying to college I wanted to study Chemistry but I ended up switching to Anthropology/Sociology mid way through my freshman year. Since Rhodes is such a great school if you want to go into medicine or have a career in the sciences, a number of my classmates did research as undergraduates for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, because Rhodes has a partnership with St. Jude that allows undergraduate students to do research at St. Jude during the summer and school year. which I am telling y’all is a huge deal. For the most part, I had really small classes, which was great, so I really got to know and build strong and close relationships with my professors, which has been great for me academically and personally, because I loved the Anthropology and Sociology (ANSO) and Spanish departments.
Working at NextGenVest
My experiences doing the social media for NextGenVest has been really positive. I have only been working here a short time but I really enjoy the work I have been doing and I really like how the work I do helps ensure that students have support navigating the college application, financial aid and scholarship application process. I really appreciate how NextGenVest’s Money Mentor are able to touch so many lives and make such a big difference in so many students’ and families’ lives. Hearing about how Money Mentors and NextGenVest are supporting students by helping students find ways to achieve their goals, is one of the best parts of my job, since I am not working directly with students.