Isobel Day, ’23, 2023 Golden Flash Award Recipient

“I strive to empower other students by never letting my voice as a student be overlooked or not taken seriously.”

Advocating for the needs and rights of others drives Isobel Day, ’23, and is at the center of her approach to her studies and her involvement both on and off campus. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and graduating from the Kent State University Honors College in May, she began pursuing a master’s degree in ethics, peace and human rights at American University.

During her time at Kent State, Isobel served as the vice chair of governmental affairs for the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), as well as the political science department's undergraduate student representative. For the 2022-23 academic year, she was awarded the Dr. Tom Hensley Endowed Scholarship, an honor given to a high-achieving undergraduate political science student interested in law and civil liberties.

“Students have the most important insight on so many issues that affect us," Isobel said. "I strive to empower other students by never letting my voice as a student be overlooked or not taken seriously.”

Beyond her advocacy efforts, Isobel tutored first-generation and low-income students as a part of Student Support Services and interned for the Women’s Center on campus. She was also the vice president of Freedom Paws KSU, a student organization that raises, trains and places service dogs with individuals with disabilities.

As a teacher and a mentor to Isobel, Gabriella Paar-Jakli, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, has been impressed by her ability to inspire others.

“Isobel is a born leader whose activism becomes infectious as other students become intrigued by her efforts and join her cause,” Paar-Jakli explained.

During the 2022-23 academic year, she served as the Newman Civic Fellow, where she worked to better connect the university with the Kent community by engaging community organizations and leaders. In this role, she conducted research on period poverty, which refers to the lack of access to over-the-counter menstrual products for women and girls in need. She then brought together Kent State’s Community Engaged Learning, Women's Center and USG and collaborated with various community partners to run a menstrual product drive for Kent City Schools. She also worked with the Kent State Votes Coalition to encourage students to vote and register to vote.

“Isobel is a true community organizer who seeks opportunities to better the community around her,” Paar-Jakli said. “I also had the opportunity to observe Isobel while she was studying abroad, and she is eager to learn as much about various cultures and societies as she can so she can bring her experiences back and help her community.”

Her focus on helping others has even influenced her research interests. Isobel’s study with Molly Merryman, Ph.D., associate professor, School of Peace and Conflict Studies, and Caraline Feairheller, political science Ph.D. candidate, was featured at Kent State’s Peace Education in an Era of Crisis conference in Rwanda in July. Their research focuses on the impact of peace museums in a post-conflict community and the ways in which peace education can be incorporated into curriculum.

“Through all of my positions of leadership, I have aimed to make it known that students are the people who know most about the issues that affect us,” Isobel said. “We are hungry for knowledge, and this alone should display our commitment to bettering the society we live in.”