ACLP External Communications Liaison Steele Parkerson lives in Greenville, Mississippi (only five minutes from the Mississippi River!) with her parents, four siblings, and an impressive number of pets: two Yorkies, one bunny, one turtle, and a brand new puppy, just to name a few.
“I also do a lot of Mississippian type things, like tailgating football games and going to church, but my town is unique in the sense that the population is majority African-American and almost all the public officials are African-American,” Steele said.
Steele added that growing up in this environment has taught her important values such as inclusivity and compassion, and has also made her more conscious about race relations.
At Penn, Steele is a sophomore studying political science with a concentration in international relations and is considering the possibility of law school. She also holds leadership positions in clubs such as Penn Best Buddies, Alpha Phi, and Moot Court.
In her free time, Steele enjoys writing poetry, drinking coffee, and doing extreme sports. Just last year, she went skydiving and took on the Olympic courts for whitewater rafting with her family!
Her favorite hobby, however, is volunteering, saying that it makes her “feel better about life in general and the direction of our country.” In addition to doing missionary work in parts of Africa during high school, Steele was also involved with issues in her local community.
“In high school, I created a program to help bridge racial gaps that I saw in my city and help people understand that everyone's background is completely unique,” Steele said.
Growing up around an “underperforming” public school system was one of the main reasons that Steele was drawn to ACLP, citing certain similarities to the School District of Philadelphia.
As the external communications liaison, Steele serves as the bridge between internal affairs and external affairs, and her main focus at the moment is working on the newsletter in order to connect ACLP with the broader West Philadelphia community.
As for the future, Steele is especially excited to see all the planning come to fruition, as well as the one-on-one mentoring with the students.
“I think one of the most gratifying parts of any kind of student-teacher relationship is the fact that we give them some of our knowledge, but at the same time, the students give us a lot more about the human experience than they would ever think,” Steele said.