Hello! My name is Weezie Yancey-Siegel, and I am the “(wo)man behind the curtain” so to speak of The Eduventurist Project!
From August 2009 to January 2011 I attended Pitzer College in Southern California, majoring in International/Intercultural Studies. However, I took this past year off from formal higher ed to try out more of a self-designed, experiential approach to learning (check out my personal syllabus!). I have since decided to not return to Pitzer and am looking for alternative ways to receive a degree. Along the way, I hope to create something new and spark further social change in the areas of learning, digital/social media, global citizenship, and general do-gooding :)
Ten things you should know about me:
- You may be wondering whether “Weezie” is really my name. My “real” full name is Jessie Louise Yancey-Siegel, and Weezie is a nickname for Louise (No, I’m not an asthmatic or obsessed with Lil’ Wayne). I’ve been called Weezie by everyone since I was born, although I sometimes go by “Jessie” in more formal settings.
- Although I would call the San Francisco Bay Area my home, I have lived in various other countries and states including (in order): Maryland, West Virginia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Tennessee, and India. I have also traveled to various other countries such as Greece, Mexico, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Great Britain, and several others in Europe. Growing up in diverse settings has given me an appreciation for alternative perspectives and ways of looking at life.
- I helped to start a non-profit organization called YouthGive with my family when I was ten years old, and have been very involved ever since. Through it, I have met so many amazing people of various ages working to better our society and environment. A big lesson I’ve learned is that each person has their own unique talents to offer. Also, due to my early exposure to the non-profit and social entrepreneurship world, I have been privileged to attend and even speak at many national and international conferences and meetings including giving TEDx talk in March 2010, and attending and being a plenary speaker at a Youth and Microfinance conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
- I was in a two year, interdisciplinary academy at my public high school in the Bay Area that combined English, Social Studies, and Filmmaking. I spent my junior and senior years traveling around the Bay Area in student groups, interviewing amazing changemakers, experts, students, and other extrordinary, everyday people. I made documentaries on various topics ranging from Arab Discrimination, to the history of the internet and online communities, to the DREAM Act and immigration. I believe that image, film, and art are powerful tools to inspire people to action.
- Due to my involvement on making the documentary about the internet (where I interviewed internet gurus like Kevin Kelly, Howard Rheingold, and the creators of the WELL), I have become increasingly interested in the digital world, especially in the impact of social networks, peer-to-peer sharing, open-source content, concepts such as “The Long Tail,” curation and aggregation of information, and graphic design. I hope to learn more about this revolutionary and quickly-growing world!
- I studied abroad for a semester during my junior year of high school at Woodstock School, an International Boarding School in the Himalayas of North India. My classmates represented over 27 different nationalities, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I also had the chance to further use my passion for filmmaking by being involved in a student group making a documentary on village sustainability in the Himalayan Gharwal.
- I love dance and movement, and have taken yoga, bellydance, modern jazz, and ballet classes in different times of my life. Right now I’m very into Zumba, where I get to dance and go crazy to reggaetone songs!
- I traveled to Mexico for a great Pitzer College class (supported by a Mellon Grant) during the summer of 2010, and studied indigenous knowledge and healing practices, lived with a Mexican family, and learned about the effects of globalization and the various forms of inspiring social change. From participating in sweat ceremonies, to making embarrassing yet funny mistakes in Spanish, to volunteering at an orphanage and alternative health clinic weekly, it was an experience that has continued to shape my interests on my own, unique life path :)
- I’ve always considered myself an artist, or maybe “designer” would be a better word. After reading Glimmer by Warren Berger, I realized how much of our world is essentially “designed,’ and that we have the power to RE-design systems, products, spaces, and experiences. I’m hoping to learn more about the practice and theory of design, so that I can apply to it whatever I am doing in my life.
- This past summer and fall I spent 4 months in Europe after buying a one way ticket there. I spent 7 weeks as an au pair for a greek family on a small greek island off the coast of Turkey. This allowed me to afford to travel for two months afterwards to the Netherlands, England, and Scotland. I ended up being able to interview dozens of students, travelers, educators, and new paradigm builders while couchsurfing in over 10 different houses. I also volunteered for 2 conferences, attended a TEDxLondon, and worked in a hostel in a small scottish fishing town for two weeks. You can check out my photos from this trip here.