Nicole Li, a member of the Yale College Class of 2023, is an active organizer and leader addressing human rights and voter access. On campus, Nicole has contributed her considerable communication skills to serve local refugees and human rights organizations, leading to increased participation and successful health education workshops. Nicole has been an active volunteer within ESL classrooms, a human rights researcher, and continued advocate for multiple causes. Nicole also recruited Yale students to serve as poll workers nationwide during the pandemic and leads a social justice organization in her hometown of Collierville, Tennessee. Nicole shows remarkable cultural competency, an ability to lead, and articulateness well beyond her years. As the Yale University nominee, I know that Nicole will continue to develop these skills and more with a community of peers.
My passion for civic engagement began in high school, when I became keenly aware of systemic injustices in my hometown. Too young to vote but too passionate to sit idly, I led my fellow students in organizing around gun violence and reproductive rights, coordinated volunteers to campaign for local progressive candidates, and founded an initiative to register and educate youth voters in my community. Through grassroots advocacy and community organizing, I encourage others to become active civic leaders who promote positive social change. Now in college and old enough to vote, my passion for public service has only intensified. On campus, I recruit students to sign up as poll workers during election season and serve on the board of my school’s reproductive justice advocacy group. At the same time, I continue to lead community efforts in my hometown, where I mobilize high school and college students in advocating for voting rights and racial justice. These experiences, fusing my passions for civics and social justice, strengthen my resolve to continue pushing for a more equitable and democratic world.