Pioneer Public: Kasey Newman

Written By Tia Bailey, Co-Features/A&E Editor

March is International Women’s History Month, and one strong leader helping make history on campus is Kasey Newman. 

Newman, a senior elementary education major, is the Co-Chapter Director of Point Park’s chapter of Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG). SWSG is a mentor organization where people are connected with mentors at critical points in their life. 

“We’re all about women empowerment,” Newman said. “We have this model where college students mentor 3rd to 5th grade, and we have women who have graduated and have professional jobs that mentor the college women.”

Newman first got involved with the program after hearing about it freshman year, the mentoring aspect having sparked her interest. She joined sophomore year and fell in love with the organization and community within the first few weeks. 

“There’s something magical about being with kids,” Newman said. “A mentorship setting is different from a teaching setting because there are boundaries in place, but it doesn’t have to be as strict. So we have those boundaries, but they talk to us about silly stuff, and they come to us about serious stuff.” 

Newman has served both as a mentor and as a Co-Chapter Director. Her favorite part as a mentor was watching the girls grow and being able to give them helpful advice. 

“I’ve had really beautiful one-on-one moments with the kids where they’re like, ‘that’s exactly what I needed to hear from you,’” she said. “That was really sweet.”

As for being a Co-Chapter Director, Newman loves seeing her peers grow. 

“Seeing how they blossom, either through different leadership positions or seeing how mentoring has impacted them, that has also been so nice to see,” she said. “It has been so nice seeing my kids and my peers grow.”

Like all campus organizations, SWSG was affected by COVID-19, and they had to make changes to the way things worked. 

“Probably the way the semester ended last year was the most traumatic way you could have something end,” Newman said. 

SWSG had their annual field trip where the girls toured the school, and the week after, everything shut down, giving the girls and mentors no closure with the event. 

“It was really sad because there was such a good momentum,” she said. “In the chapter, with mentoring, it all just faded away.” 

This year, they are doing virtual programming, and despite bumps in the road, they are still doing what they can to offer the same experience while being safe. They have made activity kits to distribute to the kids and made events virtual.

“We are going to have a virtual field trip, which was my brainchild,” Newman said. “In a couple of weeks, we’ll be doing kind of our annual thing but on Zoom.” 

Something Newman would like people to know about SWSG is that the organization is not only for girls. 

“Anyone who identifies as a woman or identifies as nonbinary or genderfluid can be a mentor,” she said. “That’s something we want to promote  because it’s about a community working together to empower girls, and it doesn’t really matter what your background or gender identity is. If you have a passion for empowering the youth, you can join us and we’ll find you a home.”