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Building Skills for Advocacy & Activism series connects alumni and students

“Building Skills for Advocacy & Activism” is a year-long series supported by a St. Lawrence University Innovation Grant for the 2016-17 academic year. The overarching goal of the series is to make a positive, lasting impact on the St. Lawrence community by assisting students in their personal development, co-curricular pursuits, and post-graduate planning; organizing events that promote dialogue about current local and global issues; and helping to build a multi-generational network of Laurentians who share a commitment to advocacy and activism.

To this end, the series will feature visits by four dynamic alumni who have a passion for social change, a wealth of real-world experience, and the desire to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation. Each visitor will offer an issue-driven Flash Seminar as well as a Skills Workshop while also doing class visits and informal meetings with students.

“Building Skills for Advocacy & Activism” is a joint initiative of the Global Dialogue Center, Weave News, the Office of Career Services, and the Career Connections Program.

Past events featuring Jen Grygiel '01

Flash Seminar: Digital Citizenship: Social Disruption for Social Good (Feb. 12)

Skills Workshop on Social Media Activism (Feb. 12)

Jen Grygiel is an Assistant Professor of Communication (Social Media) at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a social media professional who most recently served as social business and emerging media manager and assistant vice president at State Street Corporation in Boston. There, she developed a social listening and marketing data and analytics program and was the lead project manager for the Social Intranet Project, which received an IABC Gold Quill Merit Award. Her social listening work has also been recognized and received a Gold Wommy for Social Media Monitoring Implementation from Womma (Word of Mouth Marketing Association).

Over the course of her career she has served as the executive director for public affairs and communications and chief of staff at the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving the regulation of financial markets. She has also worked at the Program on International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School and is the founder of No Gay Left Behind, which advocates for the development of virtual gay-straight alliances (VGSAs) via social media.

She earned a bachelor’s in art and education from St. Lawrence University and completed the graduate program in management with a concentration in finance and control from Harvard Extension School.

Grygiel took first place in the 2016 Best Practices in Ethics in an Emerging Media Environment teaching competition, sponsored by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Elected Committee on Teaching.

Her areas of interest include social media; emerging media; decentralized applications; community policing; financial technology (“Fintech”); LGBTQ youth advocacy; and race, gender and society.

Grygiel is also the founder and CEO of Makers Media Group and is a designer, photographer, multimedia consultant and writer. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including: BUST Magazine, Time Out Boston, and the Weekly Dig. She is also the founder of Karousel Magazine, a musician and a social activist.

Past events featuring David Smith '15

Flash Seminar: Stay and Defend: Shedding Light on the Unseen American Climate Refugees (Oct. 24)

Skills Workshop: GIS: Examining Spatial Issues and Solutions for the Protectors of the Dakota Access Pipeline (Oct. 24)

David Smith graduated from St. Lawrence in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Studies & Geology.  During the summer prior to his senior year, he was a research assistant to Dr. Jon Rosales in Shaktoolik, Alaska.  They spent a week capturing footage and indigenous knowledge of the effects of climate change.  He spent his senior year producing the documentary and utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to quantify coastal erosion in Shaktoolik from the past sixty years.  He currently works for the Development Authority of the North Country in Watertown, NY as a GIS Technician, where he helps manage the largest Internet Mapping Application in New York.  Working for DANC has provided him with invaluable work experience and furthered his skillset with GIS.  He is in the process of applying to graduate studies in GIS to aid Shaktoolik and other future climate refugees with climate resiliency.

Past events featuring Jana L. Morgan '07

Flash Seminar: Sunlight is the best disinfectant: How civil society took on big oil to create a more transparent world (Nov. 13)

Skills Workshop: Effective Advocacy: Tailoring Your Message to an Audience (Nov. 13)

Jana Morgan is the Director of Publish What You Pay - United States and leads the coalition’s efforts to bring transparency and accountability to the oil, gas, and mining sector. Her work includes guiding the coalition’s advocacy and research strategies to ensure the strong implementation of Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act. She also collaborates with PWYP coalitions around the world to push for a global oil, gas, and mining payment transparency standard. She is an alternate civil society representative on the United States Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative multi-stakeholder group, as well as a Global Council member of PWYP International, representing North American and Europe. Previously, Jana worked at Global Witness, doing advocacy and in country field research on Afghanistan’s extractive sector, conflict minerals exploitation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, and the development of governance systems for Uganda’s emerging oil sector. Jana holds a MA in International Relations from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict Resolution. She received her BA in Government from St. Lawrence University in 2007 and is also currently serving as Director of Outreach for Weave News.