For Emma Pollock ’25, the choice to attend a school the size of Knox was intentional. Pollock was charmed by Knox’s community on her first visit and the way professors remembered her name. That personal attention made her feel like a valued person and not just a number on a spreadsheet.
Now, halfway through her Knox education, she has been exposed to potential career opportunities that she never originally considered.
During summer break of 2023, Pollock applied for an internship alongside Associate Professor of Anthropology-Sociology and Co-Chair of Peace and Justice Studies Jonah Rubin and the Illinois People’s Action program. This program aims to empower everyday people facing justice issues affecting their communities to organize protests to address the causes of injustice.
Pollock took on a communications role for the group, helping to create flyers and a newsletter. She was also trained on how to organize protests and eventually helped lead an organized march in Washington, D.C.
“From the start, I felt like this was a pretty Knox-specific opportunity. I think it’s just something a liberal arts education provides that you don’t get everywhere,” Pollock said.
The Washington, D.C. experience took place over three days. The first two days were spent in conference rooms attending lectures about how to legally demonstrate and the themes of their protest. This included national issues surrounding healthcare, housing, and the environment.
On day three, Pollock marched with a group of over 1,000 people to multiple locations around Washington, D.C., including massive banks, insurance offices, and other businesses related to the protest’s themes. During the march, Pollock engaged with many members of the group and heard their stories. She was struck by the different perspectives and reasons for getting involved and felt inspired to walk alongside them in their fight for justice.
“We were asked to reframe our ideas of power and view it positively,” Pollock said. “We need to find power in numbers. Only then can we make a real impact.”
Pollock finished her internship with the organization at the end of the summer. The experience of working with a small, passionate staff at a nonprofit organization was challenging and inspiring, and she is considering nonprofit work as a possible career path.
Pollock says Knox’s faculty have made a massive impact on her, and she hopes to continue branching out her interests. Before Knox, she had no idea that environmental science was an area of study she would fall in love with. Now, she plans to complete a double major in the field and political science. Pairing this with her experience with Illinois People’s Action, she is open to a future career in government or any area that allows her to make a difference in the world. For Pollock, these opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without Knox.
“Knox has given me the opportunity to learn a wide variety of things. I’ve been able to connect what I’ve learned to so many areas of my life,” Pollock said.