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Karen Muramatsu Souza Interview

Karen Muramatsu Souza
Global Studies and Political Science

I understand you finished your internship with the City of Cape this summer. Could you please tell me about that?

Interning at the City Hall was a great experience for me. There, I worked on several researches. One of my researches was the diversity of our city so we can better serve our community.

In previous work experiences, how do you define social justice?

Social justice is being able to provide equal opportunities for members of the community by respecting their diversity.

What ideas do you have for educating students about diversity?

I believe that educating students about diversity is very important. Understanding and accepting diversity helps us to broaden our perspectives and accept others despite of our differences. Only by accepting people that are different from us is when we can build a better and just world. I think as a university, the goal is to not only to prepare students for their career, but also prepare them to make a difference in the world.

How does your own identity impact your work with a diverse staff and student body??

Well, I believe this question can be answered in different ways. I come from a very diverse family. My family from my mother side is Italian and from my father side is Japanese. We are all Brazilians too. I was born in Brazil and spent a great part of my life in Japan. Then, I moved to the US for my undergraduate studies and now I am studying in France. All of these experiences helped to define my identity. My way of thinking and interacting with people are related to the way I see the world. My vision of the world is related to the experiences that I had. When I worked as president of the International Student Association last year, I knew that I was working with a very diverse body. For this reason, I needed to understand them and work with each of them in a different way, especially to improve communication. I think that because I have always been in a very diverse environment, it was easier for me to work with such a diverse body.

Describe your experience or explain how you have been educated to understand the history of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and other historically marginalized communities in the USA.

I think the way I have been educated is through my own life experience. I understand what is being part of the marginalized group as I was minority when I lived in Japan. I understand how it feels to be looked down or even bullied because of your nationality. These are experiences that nobody needs to go through if we all have a better understanding about diversity.

When interacting with a person from a different culture than your own, how do you ensure that communication is effective?

I ensure that communication is effective by trying to see through the person’s perspectives. I also try to give examples and say the same thing in different ways until we know each other quite enough.

What are some specific plans you are going to do within the next two years?

For the next two years, I plan to graduate from SEMO and enter a graduate school. For that, I really need a scholarship. If this does not work for me, I will try to find a job. I really want to work in a diverse and just environment. I would love to be a leader while working with international relations in a field where I could help to better our world, especially the lives of the underprivileged.

What are things you are hope to accomplish for the upcoming year?

For the upcoming year I hope to graduate with two academic distinctions from SEMO and also as an honors student. I have been already inducted in three honors society as well and there is one more that I would love to join before graduating. I also want to continue with Humans of SEMO. I love learning languages too. At the moment, I am learning French and Italian. In about one year, I hope to be able to speak both of them fluently so I can start learning one more. If I accomplish that, I will be able to speak almost 6 languages. This will help me a lot in my career. And of course, as part of my main goal in life, I hope to continue inspiring and making an impact in the lives of those around me.


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