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Major of the Month: Mica Standing Soldier

Using skills honed in English to change the world
October 31, 2016

Major Mica Standing Soldier

Major Mica Standing Soldier
Mica Standing Soldier attended the South By South Lawn Festival at the White House on October 3
Year: Senior 
Hometown: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
 
Why did you choose to major in English?
 
My mother and grandmother both majored in English, and it was always an interest to me. I actually started off as a Neuroscience major in CBS, but I didn't have the same passion for neurotransmitters as I do for the Bronte sisters. I grew up reading and analyzing books, so this transition came naturally. [Ed: Mica is also a poet and was published in Ivory Tower's 2015 issue.]
"As an English major, I've learned how to write
and articulate myself with confidence. It's also an
incredible feeling to read something and place it
within a historical context. It opens up a new idea
of the past that can't be achieved any other way."
 
What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?
 
I enjoy the range of studies within the department. You never realize how intertwined history and literature are until you look at the grand picture.
 
Are you pursuing any minors, internships, or fields of interest outside your English major?
 

I have been active with social justice organizing from a young age. I've been a part of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group as a task force leader and Chair, and now serve as the graphic design intern for the statewide organization. I mentored at the Minnesota Internship Center charter high school and am the founder of the Coalition Against Mass Incarceration. For the last three years, I served as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Take Back the Night Twin Cities.

Last spring, I attended the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative University Program with my colleague Carter Christensen (Political Science). The conference is a gathering place for students, professors, topic experts, and celebrities to come together and discuss the development of innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. Students create their own Commitments to Action that address issues on campus, in local communities, and around the world; nearly $2 million in funding has been awarded to these commitment-makers since 2008. Carter and I presented our initiative ARTCY (Arts Recognition of Twin Cities Youth), which focuses on improving arts engagement programs in schools with students from disadvantaged communities. Using social change as a touchstone for literary and arts education, ARTCY provides students the opportunity to collaborate, create, and implement a variety of projects within their communities—which are then showcased in a public event with community members and officials.

This fall, I was invited to attend the South By South Lawn Festival at the White House, an event promoting civic engagement with leaders and change makers from all over the world. My experience at SXSL was about engaging with people who are demanding justice and change through intersectional pathways. Although a lot of the attendees worked at local levels with their communities, some were either prominent Twitter personalities, CEOs/founders of organizations, or celebrities. It was difficult at times to maintain composure.

What English course would you recommend for majors? For non-majors who want to take an English class?

The kind of courses that discuss literature from diverse perspectives are always my favorite. Anything that challenges perspectives or explores new territory for a reader, which is of course subjective.
 
What is something about the English department that most people wouldn’t know?
 
There are so many valuable aspects of majoring in English. I've learned how to write and articulate myself with confidence. It's also an incredible feeling to read something and place it within a historical context. It opens up a new idea of the past that can't be achieved any other way. Aside from all of the great discussions, there has been a wasp problem in Lind since my freshman year.
 
Best book or movie you've read/seen recently?
 
My favorite recent movie is a tie between Henri-Georges Clouzot's 1955 film Les Diaboliques and Pitch Perfect 2. Both pass the Bechdel test.