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Rachel Newell, a sophomore at University of California-Berkeley, is California’s state advisor for TSA. What an accomplishment!
Rachel’s involvement with TSA began in Pennsylvania when she joined Bala Cynwyd Middle School’s TSA chapter in the 8th grade. She continued her TSA involvement at Lower Merion High School, where she served in a number of TSA leadership roles for her chapter, including Sergeant-at-Arms, Vice-President, and President. She was also active on the state level, serving as Pennsylvania TSA state historian her junior year and state parliamentarian her senior year.
In middle and high school, Rachel was an active participant in TSA’s competitive events. Her favorite competitions were Prepared Presentation, Chapter Team, and Biotechnology Design. Through these competitions, Rachel developed many crucial skills, including public speaking, researching, analytical thinking, writing, teamwork, and leadership. Rachel credits the people she met through these events, both her teammates and her competitors, and particularly her advisors, as inspirations. “They came to define these events for me, far more than a trophy or finalist pin.” She also worked with the same Biotechnology Design team for four years, “growing up with them through TSA.”
Rachel is majoring in Political Science at UC-Berkley, with an emphasis on International Relations; she intends to declare a second major in Legal Studies. Although she loves science, she never planned to be a biologist or an engineer. Even though she has chosen a liberal arts education, Rachel believes that it is crucial for everyone to be technologically literate. She credits TSA with helping her develop her professional and interpersonal skills. “I am far more confident navigating a variety of professional environments because of my experiences at [TSA] conferences and leadership meetings.”
Rachel arrived in California a year ago to begin her college education. She was looking forward to working with local TSA when she got there and discovered that TSA did not have a presence in California. She began her CA TSA journey by mentoring one local school, and now she is the California TSA state advisor! Rachel is excited and motivated to serve as state advisor-and she is enthusiastic about the prospect of growing TSA in the state. She feels it is crucial to “get TSA written into the technology education curriculum in California” in order to receive state funding and support from the state board of education. She has partnered with TSA alum, Jae-Young Son, to develop the California TSA website, and she is actively recruiting schools to affiliate. Rachel anticipates a possible 15 new chapters for this year! Ultimately, she hopes to add California as a chartered state, elect state TSA officers, and hold a state conference. A big goal for this year is CA TSA representation at the 2013 national TSA conference.
Clearly, TSA has been a positive force in Rachel’s life. The organization provides students with a way “to expand their horizons and learn new skills. There are few organizations or groups that give students the opportunity to lead on the grand scale of TSA.”