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Katelynn Young - 2019 Award Winner

Katelynn Young grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended Friends Select School. During school, she took many art classes and submitted multiple pieces of jewelry and other glass creations to the Scholastics Art and Writing Competition and won multiple honorable mentions and a silver key. During her senior year, she got an internship with the Fabric Workshop and Museum. She helped lead workshops on teaching children and seniors how to screen print and about the truce flags from the civil war. She also talked to other high school students about finding internships and college application tips. Katelynn was in various clubs and committees, one being Black Student Union. In the club, she utilized her time to help promote change in her community by bringing forth issues that students of color face on their campus. Another club Katelynn was very involved in was the Helping Hands Club. She performed many charitable works and helped raise money for many organizations.

When Katelynn isn't in school she enjoys playing squash. She was captain of her school team for two years and has won various awards. Aside from squash, she is also very passionate about giving back to the community. She has volunteered with various organizations including the Bethesda Project, American Red Cross, and Glory Unlimited Ministries where she took a trip to Puerto Rico to help people that were affected by the hurricane. She helped work in a medical clinic so that people could get medicines they needed and also care packages with water, lights, canned foods, and other essential things they might have needed. She also enjoys traveling and learning new things. During the spring break of her senior year, she when on an exchange trip to Germany and stayed with a host family. She got to exchange many different cultural experiences with the students at the Phorms School and also learned to step out of her comfort zone.

In the fall, Katelynn will be attending Dickinson College where she wants to study forensic science, diversity studies, and computer science. She hopes to one day be able to create programs to be involved in STEM and help bring more diversity and inclusion in workplaces. She knows the science departments in law enforcement and having more diverse workplace will help benefit these places tremendously. She knows that this is a very big dream but with hard work, she believes that she will be able to accomplish anything.

Their essay was entitled: Hitting Diversity At The Roots

In college, I will be majoring in Computer Science, Physics And, forensics. People in science learn and have many skills that people in law enforcement do and science also plays a big part in law enforcement. For example, forensic plays a big part in helping law enforcement agencies. They use science to collect, preserve, and analyze evidence investigations. While others travel to the scene of the crime to collect the evidence themselves.

Aside from the sciences I also want to dive into Diversity Studies. I want to be able to work in diversifying the Law enforcement agencies and science fields. Having diversity in these fields will make major changes for the better because it is a key component in getting the job done. For example, increasing diversity in the forensic science field will help crime scene investigations a lot because having people of different genders, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status in workspaces can help people be able to drive innovations, questions, and competitiveness with can lead to being able to solve more complex problems. I believe that this diverse community helps people stimulate more creativity and work better as a group. I would like to work on creating these jobs more diverse by started at the main root of the issue -- systematic racism. I do not think that these non-diverse workplaces are due because of non-interest in the materials but are because of systematic racism and early child discouragement. This all would have to start with changing the education system in non-affluent neighborhoods, which are extremely underfunded and overpopulated. For example, In Philadelphia, the Philadelphia School District is extremely underfunded and the schools are overpopulated. In my junior year at Friends Select school, I did a year-long research project on how to increase Funding for Philly’s public school system. After college, I attend on working on my strategies because I truly believe that early education is very important to growth and development and during the first 12 years of your life your brain is developing and learning the most. With all of the problems that the Philly School District Faces, One of the biggest problems they have today is not receiving enough funding. This is because 84% of the funding that the District receives goes to labor costs, which include health care and pensions that are rising exponentially, All of this is caused by how the government chooses to distribute money throughout schools. Pennsylvania has regressive school funding, which means that they provide less money to schools with higher populations of students from low-income families.

Another reason is that the District budget is only three billion out of the four-point seven out that the city proposed. The best way we can do this is by increasing taxes on multiple things. For instance, raising property taxes by 6% over the next few years. According to Mayor Kenney, raising property taxes by 6% while also increasing the real estate transfer tax by 8.5%, which ought to increase an additional nine hundred eighty million over the next five years. For the normal property holder, the property tax increment would amount to an extra $95 per year.

Another way we can increase funding is by decreasing the Philly Soda tax and regulating where the revenue goes. Right now the soda tax put into action in 2017 is one point five cents per ounce. It was set to improve Philly’s pre-K programs, create a network of community schools, and upgrade parks, recreation centers and libraries throughout the city. In 2017 and 2018, the amount of revenue made each year was on average forty-two million. Almost 90% of the funds go to the city’s general fund rather than going to pre-school and community schools starting in 2019, the revenue should be equally distributed throughout pre-k, community schools, and the general fund. The amount the community schools and pre-K receive should be more than the amount of revenue. Another thing is that the soda tax should be lowered by point five cents because a study from showed that 900 people in the Philadelphia area served that they are 40% less likely to drink and by soda. Therefore, the soda tax should be reduced because when consumers see that they will most likely be more willing to purchase it because the price is cheaper. The five cents we take away from the soda tax can be added to increase the alcohol tax. Since the soda tax, people have stopped drinking a lot of sugary drinks and soda sales decreased while alcohol sales have increased drastically. From that, we should increase alcohol from 18% to 23%. This would be easier to pass because of all the accidents that occur from people being intoxicated.

With this plan that I have made, I want to gain the necessary skills and knowledge so that I will be able to put my words into action. I think that many people are trying to bring more diversity and inclusion into their workplaces but are only sticking their toe in. I want to be the individual to go head first into working on these issues and starting at the root.