My name is Aly Koning and I would like to share a bit about myself and why I chose to intern with Living Proof Advocacy.
Over the course of my undergraduate studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota (SCSU), I found myself struggling between what I wanted to become and who I believed others wanted me to be. I started out working on a biology degree with the goal of a career in dentistry.
But thanks to some wonderful mentors, my introduction to Communication Studies, Performance Studies and later, to the university’s Social Responsibility Master’s Program, I decided a dentist’s life was not for me!
IN THE PEDAGOGY WE TRUST
When I discovered Communication Studies and its emphasis on Performance Studies, I decided to drop biology and switch gears completely. The second semester of my sophomore year, Communications Professor Dr. Tami Spry pushed me to further explore my lived experience and its relationship to self, Other and context.
Writing, researching and speaking through lived experience was a way of learning I was unaware of, one that allowed me to consider the implications of speaking and performing personal stories to create change. This way of learning ignited a newfound curiosity in me, especially what it can mean for effective advocacy.
One of the most profound ideas I encountered in the Performance Studies discipline: we are always in a state of becoming. This thought fueled my desire to pursue a master’s degree. And it is why I choose to continue learning about ways I can assist others in fully realizing their own advocacy potential.
WHY LIVING PROOF?
I was first introduced to Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference as required reading during my sophomore year at SCSU. After reading the book, I knew that I could develop my advocacy skills and use them in my everyday life. So, as the years passed, I continued to follow how Living Proof Advocacy was progressing in its work.
Fast forward four years, and here we are. I approached John Capecci, cofounder of Living Proof Advocacy, about the possibility of an internship and, after discussion, he and his business partner Tim Cage decided to hire me as their first intern ever!
As I learn and grow in this position, I hope to increase my own advocacy surrounding plant-based diets, homelessness in the Twin Cities and recidivism rates. I can’t wait to learn more about the complexity of working with mission-driven individuals and organizations and, more specifically, how storied advocacy promotes deeper understanding of social justice issues.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
When my work is done for the day, you can find me biking around my new neighborhood of Lowertown in Saint Paul, hanging out with my two favorite dudes (Kile, the husband, and Duncan, the dog) and tending to my 30+ houseplants.
A few more interesting facts: my favorite word is illumine, I drink at least three cups of coffee a day, butternut squash is the superior orange vegetable, I am training to become a sommelier and at some point in my life I want to own a dog sanctuary in the mountains. Until I retire (also in the mountains), I will be traveling the world every chance I get!
If you are interested in learning more about Living Proof Advocacy, me, any of my hobbies or the possibility of pursuing your own Communication Studies degree, I would love to have a conversation! See the links below for more information.
Let’s connect: email@example.com
Examples of original autoethnographic works from coursework at SCSU.
Learn more about Communication Studies at SCSU.