In 2010, Amy Woodell, a fourth-year retail and fashion merchandising student, returned from a summer mission trip in a slum of Lusaka, Zambia, which changed the course of her life. The Cary, NC native had long dreamed of a fast-paced life in the New York City fashion industry, but the widows and children she met at an orphanage began to consume her thoughts.
When Rachael Holmes shops at Walmart wearing booty shorts and fishnet tights, it’s not that she’s looking for attention. The bruises on her legs aren’t the product of a rough night out, and if she doesn’t seem intimidated by the cashier’s glare and hulking size, it’s not because she has no perception of danger.
Rachael is a derby girl. Roller derby, that is, and the track has taught her toughness.
“I used to be a doormat, but when you’re playing derby, you get the physical idea that, ‘I could kick your ass,’” Rachael says.
The project kicked off when Laura asked one of her professors if he knew of any internships with which she could get involved. He told her about a program he and two friends were thinking about starting called the “529 Collective.”
Tiffany Damani, a fifth-year exercise science student, spent her childhood on three different continents. Born in Paris, France, she moved to her parents’ home nation of Cameroon, Africa when she was 9.
Her connection with African culture is what drew her to join the historically black sorority Sigma Gamma Rho, where she serves as president.