Karmen Kurtz works diligently on issues of diversity and inclusion that affect our campus, the greater Asheville community, and our world. As a second year student at UNC Asheville, her advocacy and passion for this work is advanced beyond her years. Since high school, Karmen has worked with an organization called Youth Empowered Solutions where she serves as a trainer to teach high school students how to engage in discourse effectively to solve problems that communities face. She is steadfastly committed to the Black Lives Movement and works relentlessly to challenge her peers to eradicate institutional racism on this campus and in the community. Karmen is a tireless leader who inspires others to engage in the world around them and serve as active change agents for a better tomorrow.
My work in high school with Youth Empowered Solutions ignited my fire and passion for social justice. Working as an advocate and facilitator for tobacco cessation, access to health care, and access to nutritious food were an entry into the work of health equity. The work I began was of such complexity that I knew it would take a lifelong commitment to make meaningful change. In college, I used my skills in every facet of my service. I serve as the Community Engagement officer of the Black Student Association, bridging our organization's relationships to the greater Asheville community through service and collaboration. I volunteer at the Delta House which serves Asheville youth of color as a resource for educational, cultural, and social enrichment. I serve as a Research Assistant on a community driven preventative health research project that targets African American churches. My service has also been aimed at creating a more diverse and inclusive campus community in organizing Black Lives Matter protests. Additionally, I am also a mentor for the Connections Peer Mentoring program in the division of multicultural student programs. Finally, I am broadening my understanding of community engagement as I study abroad in Ghana! I am so thankful for the mutually beneficial relationships I've created and am looking forward to more to come!