Tell Her Your Story

NASH junior Eleanor Park is launching The Diversity Story and inviting her classmates to write about their experiences for cash prizes.

Quinn Volpe, Staff Writer

What inspired you to start The Diversity Story?

Over the summer, I did a tutoring exchange with Ray, a friend who lived in China, where he taught me computer science, and I helped him improve his English. During our calls, we also talked about our experiences with school, life, friends, family, and culture. Since I grew up in Chinese culture, passed down by my parents, I thought I was decently familiar with the culture. When Ray told me about his experiences, I discovered that there was so much about China and its culture (especially its role in everyday life) that I didn’t know.

I began realizing that even after awareness is raised about a culture, there’s a lot of diversity among each individual in that culture that isn’t shared, and populations are often generalized to what someone overarchingly knows about that culture. Individual stories also ground a lot of cultural ideas, showing customs, mannerisms, and values in the context of someone’s everyday life. I truly believe all people could benefit so much from hearing the individual stories, as well as overall cultural and societal traditions, which is what The Diversity Story works to share.

How did you find the staff writers and directors?

Funny story– Suzie, the Operations Director, was actually my 2nd grade best friend from when I lived in Michigan. Last year, we reconnected and discovered we not only had both moved to Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh and Lewisburg), but also shared the exact same interests in diversity/inclusion and global issues. We actually both lead Global Minds chapters at our high schools (which I’ll be getting into later). When launching The Diversity Story, I immediately thought to ask her to hop on board. The other directors and staff writers mostly applied through discovering us on social media, but I also met a few through connections and extracurricular activities.

The greatest strength in our team is our geographic diversity, with directors and writers from Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, different Canadian provinces, and even Spain. Together, we’re able to gather stories from people all around the world, and every team member has made amazing contributions.

Why did your team decide to have a writing competition? 

We wanted to bring in even more writing and new perspectives, while simultaneously giving back to writers. With more writing submitted, we’re also able to publish more content that readers can benefit from. 

What exactly is the writing competition? 

The writing prompt is, “Write about an experience you’ve had related to your own or another culture, and how it has impacted you.” ​There are two categories, high school and middle school, with top prizes of $300 and $200, respectively. There’s also the opportunity to win an overall grand prize of $600. We’ve hired five really great professional judges, who will be selecting winners and offering feedback.

How did you find the funds and judges?

Funds came from our sponsor, DY Gelato Go, which we’re so thankful for! As for judges, we reached out to people we knew that would best fit the role, whether that be writing expertise, experience working with diversity and inclusion, or even both. We tried to find judges from a variety of locations, with different backgrounds, qualifications, and experiences. One of the judges is actually Dr. Mathieson, our Hosack principal and Diversity Committee chair. I loved her as my elementary school principal, and as I’ve grown older, I’ve worked with Dr. Mathieson on a variety of projects. Huge shoutout to her for being such a great mentor and inspiration!

How can people enter?

To submit, visit our website,, where there’s more information as well!

Any future plans for The Diversity Story?

We’re hoping to expand our team and invite more staff writers, so we’re able to publish even more content. Other than that, we’re always looking to expand our reader base to impact a wider audience. Someone actually reached out to us recently and offered to work with us, put together funds, and help coordinate an educational trip for me and my team. I’m not sure how likely it is to happen, especially with COVID-19, but that would be a really exciting project. 

What inspired you to start NA Global Minds?

I’ve been tutoring and helping ESL students since middle school, and as I was going into high school, I thought it would be great to promote more ESL support. I also was really interested in promoting cultural awareness and cross-cultural friendships, which could be tied in with ESL support. I brought my ideas to Dr. Mathieson, and coincidentally, Global Minds had just reached out to her about starting a North Allegheny chapter. Global Minds did the same things that I wanted to do, so Dr. Mathieson mentioned it to me and I started the chapter.

How has NA Global Minds changed since you started it?

We’ve mostly just become more organized and productive, but moving remote this year has been pretty challenging. This year, we’ve done more discussion-based meetings, since in-person activities haven’t been feasible.

How has your culture impacted your life and the way that you run these groups?

I’ve grown up among three cultures (Chinese, Korean, and American), and that unique background has definitely led me to be really interested in cross-cultural connections and fusions since it’s so prevalent in my own life. My interest and desire to learn more brought me to start both The Diversity Story and NA Global Minds and lead with an open mind.

What extracurricular activities are you involved with at school? 

Other than Global Minds, of course, I honestly haven’t been great with joining and staying in clubs. I’ve done various activities throughout high school, like Speech and Debate, Key Club, NAHS, and joining meetings for different clubs here and there, but I truly found my passion with Global Minds and The Diversity Story.

What is your favorite class this year and why? 

I’ve really enjoyed AP English since it’s brought about a lot of rich discussion and deep thinking, which I love. Subject-wise, I’m definitely most interested in the things I’ve learned in AP Psychology.

What is your dream job and why?

I currently don’t have a specific dream job in mind, but I know I definitely want to do something involving travel and immersion/interaction with different cultures, possibly in a global studies field. I’d love to continue working with promoting awareness and anti-racism.

This year, I actually began thinking about studying social psychology. It’d be really cool to study different cultures and how culture influences thinking, social structures, interaction, and possibly identify cross-cultural patterns. Also, I recently listened to a podcast with author and social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, whose work (more political–studying morality and polarization) really intrigued me. I can see myself pursuing similar endeavors. 

What’s your favorite meal to get at lunch? 

It’s ironic that I’m talking all about diversity but don’t apply the same idea to my lunch… I eat a flatbread sandwich from the deli almost every day I’m at in-person school.