Seela Raj, a second-year student at St. Norbert College, is passionate about bridging gaps between different communities. Being the daughter of interracial parents, a white American mother and a Malaysian-Indian father, Seela has the lived experience of occupying different places in two distinct worlds, which helps her to understand the importance of connecting these worlds and the people in them. Seela puts her passion to work as a program assistant at St. Norbert’s Cassandra Voss Center, where she assists in implementing programs that emphasize diversity and promote justice for all people. In the Green Bay, Wis., community and beyond, Seela enjoys serving marginalized populations, including people who are elderly, people with disabilities and mental health needs, children, and her fellow people of color. In the future, Seela aspires to be a physician and intends to continue her commitment to bridging gaps between communities by caring for people who experience disparities in the medical field and working to give all people access to stellar healthcare.
Growing up in a biracial, bicultural family, I wrestled with finding my place in two separate communities. Through this personal journey, I came to realize that sometimes the best place to be is at the intersection between different communities, where one can fully appreciate the unique assets each community holds and be a catalyst for unity. As we find ourselves in an ever more polarized society, bridging the gaps between clashing groups is becoming increasingly vital. I believe that by bridging these gaps, we may come to better understand the importance of diversity and begin to recognize and alleviate the systemic disparities that exist between certain communities. My dedication to unity and diversity has compelled me to serve as an advocate for others who feel depreciated and disconnected from mainstream society. I do this through volunteer work with vulnerable populations and through work on social justice and diversity programming as a program assistant at St. Norbert College’s Cassandra Voss Center. This work not only gives me the opportunity to draw on the experiences I have had as a biracial person, it also provides me with a feeling of hope for a future where all people can live in harmony.