Student Leadership: Sewon L. ’18 is featured as a “Decoder Spotlight”

Miss Porter’s School is always innovating, and we love it when our students are the ones leading the charge! Read on to learn about one senior’s experience bringing an innovative news platform to life. Post by Katherine Brink, Senior Assistant Director of Admission.

Sewon L., a senior at Miss Porter’s School, recently led an internationally-broadcast webinar through the website News-Decoder in which she put the “Me Too” movement in the context of global women’s issues. Here is my conversation with her.

Me: Tell me about how you got started with News-Decoder.

Sewon: [Director, Institute for Global Education] Sophie Paris said she was launching a new club, connected with News-Decoder, with a role called the ambassador, so I applied for it. I wanted to do something that no one else has ever tried and was interested in using a different type of platform to talk about global issues outside of the Farmington bubble to pave a new path for other students.

Me: For the webinar, you partnered up with students from Westover School and decided to cover the topic of gender-based violence. How did that topic come to fruition?

Sewon: When discussing the topic that we wanted to do, we wanted to make sure, because this is such a big project and we were going to be working on it for almost six months, that we were all passionate about the topic. We realized that since we’re all women, and it was during this time that on social media we saw the “Me Too” movement coming up everywhere, that it would be a good topic. We wanted to talk about gender-based violence on the global scale, so we all selected different regions around the world and highlighted that this is a problem affecting everyone. We didn’t want it to be such a narrow audience and we wanted to broader people’s perspectives. 

Me: What was the biggest challenge that you faced in the run-up to the webinar?

Sewon: I just didn’t want it to be biased or one-sided. A lot of the research that I found tends to be either one side or the other, because Me Too is something that is happening currently — it is a trend that you see in the news a lot and the news articles are written by people who are often politically biased. I was there to educate others and I didn’t think  that educating others from a biased stance was the right way to do it, so that was one of the biggest challenges.

Me: What was a time that you felt the proudest — a moment of success?

Sewon: After the cameras went off and we saw that the live off button was off, we were just like, “Wow.” That was a moment of a lot of tension, nerves, and anxiety, because a lot of us had never done a webinar before. I think we were all so proud of how it turned out because we received so many questions from around the world. Just listening to the feedback and how this sparked the interest of a lot of girls — not just at Porter’s, but also at Westover and around the world — to kind of dive into the topic and feel the discomfort of learning that reality is reality and gender-based violence is prevalent everywhere.

Me: Have you thought about whether or not you will continue with News-Decoder or a similar initiative in college?

Sewon: For college, I’m going back home to Korea. I know that in Korea, talking about diversity isn’t a really big deal just because Korea isn’t considered a diverse country. What I would love to do is twork to continue fighting stereotypes because I know that there’s still a lot of racial bias and racial injustice in Korea that is a part of the Korean culture, or the pop culture, or traditional culture… whatever type of culture that it may be! I want to continue the work that I am passionate about, which is fixing any type of injustice and speaking up. The education that I have received here is very different from the education of my friends at home and that of the other people that I’ll be attending college with. I’ll still be passionate about this work, whether or not it’s specifically through News-Decoder or not.

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