Stephanie Holzinger said that climate change and racial equity work are key issues as the 2020 election approaches.
By Claudette Soler
Stephanie Holzinger’s first love is teaching but her experiences in the non-profit world have sparked an interest in making positive change in the business area of education.
Holzinger is an MBA candidate at Kogod School of Business, where she also teaches and is the vice president of AU’s chapter of Net Impact.
According to Holzinger, Net Impact helps AU students find career paths that fit their beliefs, to drive social and environmental change throughout their careers.
“We help students find career paths that match their personal moral compass,” Holzinger said. “Keeping in mind they choose jobs not just for the money but also for the impact piece.”
Prior to her time at AU, Holzinger worked in education, running an academic non-profit center in Virginia to provide academic support to low-income students.
Environmental change is an important part of Net Impact’s mission and she feels encouraged that candidates like Joe Biden have sought advice from major players in this topic. She is currently taking classes to learn more about waste management and issues with fuel.
Holzinger said she believes climate change is an issue in which the US is lacking in comparison to other countries.
“Having an understanding in sustainability and climate change,” Holzinger said, “is a way to catch up with where the rest of the world is at.”
Based on her experiences she said that another major issue facing the country as the upcoming election approaches is racial equity work.
“I think the door has opened recently,” she said. “I think conversation, funding, money, and awareness is really going towards that work and I think that work will be permanent.”
Having worked with middle school student she said there are things that are not taught in the classroom.
“I want to vote for school board individuals who I know want to change the textbooks,” she said, “to books that include black and brown voices and the impact that they had.”
Besides planning to vote in the upcoming election she is in the process of becoming a poll volunteer.
“When I went to vote in 2018 everyone was senior,” Holzinger said. “I feel like it would be thoughtful. Seniors and elderly people should go home, relax and be safe.”
Holzinger is not sure about the capabilities of individual politicians to resolve the issues she cares about but is encouraged by how politically active people are and how the private sector is being guilted into doing the right thing.
“Optimism is a hard thing to say,” she said. “I think I am encouraged by the groundswell of public support.”
In regard to American University’s capability to handle issues of racial equity, she believes there is a lot of unlearning to do. “For people to be able to teach racial justice and equity work in the way it needs to be taught,” she said, “it takes an incredible amount of work beforehand.”