“I want to give a voice to those who are oppressed.”
For Allyson Monson being able to voice her opinion was not always a dream.
The American Legion Auxiliary South Dakota Girls State program helped her get on the right path the summer before her senior year of high school.
“Prior to attending Girls State, I was debating about going into medicine or nursing. Girls State helped me realize the difference your voice can make,” she said.
During her senior year of high school, she started to realize the power of people coming together to create a positive change. This motivated Monson to pursue a political science degree and serve as a Students’ Association At-Large senator her freshman year at South Dakota State University.
“I was involved in leadership organizations in high school and saw SA as a fun way to continue those activities in college,” said the Clark native.
After serving as a senator, Monson, now a junior majoring in political science and communication studies, decided to run for SA President.
“What ultimately pushed me to run for this position was encouragement from my peers,” she said. “Hearing others say they believe in you and want you to represent them gives you confidence in your leadership.”
Becoming SA president helped Monson use her vision to bring new ideas to SDState on a larger scale.
“In SA, right now, there is a lot of attention on the General Activity Fee (GAF) Strategic Plan,” she said.
GAF is a fee charged to students per semester credit hour. The fee is used for programming, activities, athletic events, support of the University Student Union and maintenance of Wellness Center.
“I also want SA to have greater transparency with the student body,” she said.
While at State, Monson has also developed another interest—speech. She thanks Andrea Carlile, director of forensics and communication studies lecturer, for helping her find strength and passion in this area.
“She (Carlile) made me fall in love with speech and the power of words again. It was powerful to me because it was at a time in my life when I was trying to redefine myself and I had a tough time finding my strengths,” Monson said.
Monson enjoys spending time with her family, going on road trips and cooking new foods. “While I don’t always have time to be adventurous, but when I do I like to go kayaking with my brother,” she said.
After graduation, she hopes to attend law school.
“Someday I want to come back to South Dakota and serve the state, but I think I have to go beyond that state border to gain new insights.”