In 2013, Kristen Gallagher graduated from Meredith College with a B.A. in Museum Studies. After graduation, she moved to Portland and is now an AmeriCorps member at Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon. She is also a staff member at Squishymedia. Kristen’s strong interest in social activism is apparent in all of the great work she is doing in her city. Check out my interview with her, and find out just how passionate for life she is!
Her Agenda: What inspired you to major in Museum Studies?
Kristen: When I was a freshman in college, I was very interested in cultural anthropology. However, I felt torn, because I also felt like I needed something to do within the public realm, serving people, and education. I interned at a museum in high school, and I hated it! I kept thinking about it, and I realized I hated it because I was just in the background cataloguing and stuff, which was really boring. Then I learned more about what museum education was and what different things you can do in museums. I decided that creating an independent study major in museum education and museum studies would be really exciting for me, because I would be able to learn all about how to educate different ages and different types of people.
Her Agenda: Her Agenda’s motto is, “no one ever slows her agenda”- What is your personal motto/mantra?
Kristen: I have a couple of things that I live by. One is, “all will be well.” Life can sometimes be hard, but at the end of the day, everything will work out if you choose to make it work out. The other one is a Samuel Beckett quote that says, “Ever tried. Ever failed. Fail again. Fail better.” That’s really important to me, because I think we [as a culture] don’t deal with failure very well, and a lot of people are afraid to admit that they’ve failed at something. I think it’s really good to acknowledge when you didn’t do so awesome at something, and you can grow from it.
Her Agenda: What do you think makes Portland, Oregon a unique city?
Kristen: I moved to Portland about eight months ago, and it is fascinating city. There is a lot of interesting history here. There’s also a lot of social inequality that still exists, but people are trying really different and unique things to avoid gentrification or people getting pushed out of their homes, so there’s this really cool undercurrent of social activism that’s happening in Portland that I love. They show a huge support for small micro-businesses, and that’s actually what I do in my daily job. Lastly, Portland is very creative. I’ve met so many people here who are trying to think outside the box and who want to make the world better.
Her Agenda: How do you relate to Her Agenda’s motto of “no one ever slows her agenda?”
Kristen: When I met Nesha a year and a half ago and I heard that, I was like, “That is so smart!” I’ve always thought of myself as somebody who goes for whatever I want. When I come across a problem, I’m just like, “Well ok, we’re just going to have to solve that, or move on.” That’s not to say that I don’t have tough days, but I don’t do very well without a project. I like to stay busy and working on things, and I think Nesha is like that too. I just love that motto as something for women in the 21st century.
Her Agenda: You’ve contributed to Her Agenda as a writer in the past, what motivated you to apply to be an event curator?
Kristen: When Nesha put out the call for curators, I knew that she was on the east coast, and I thought it would be really great to have something on the west coast as well. As I said before about Portland, I’ve been so impressed with all the stuff that’s going on. However, there could be a lot more support for young women in Portland, so I felt like I could lend a hand by doing this. Plus, Nesha has great coverage, and so many people read her blog.
Her Agenda: Have you ever experienced an “aha” moment after leaving an event/panel or conference? What was that feeling like?
Kristen: I can’t even name all of the “aha” moments that have come from different events. When I was in college, I was really a conference junkie. I went to all kinds of conferences- I’ve submitted papers, articles, and workshops and have facilitated different events. I’ve also served as an attendee a lot of the times. When you go to an event, you hear so many different perspectives; it makes you question what you’re doing and helps add to your ideas. The feeling you get out of it is just this really awesome excitement; it leaves your mind buzzing.
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