May/June 2012 Volunteer Spotlight: Meet the VegFund Interns!

Kathryn Asher

~Kathryn Asher~

I became a vegetarian early in my life after a transformative moment at the dinner table at age 12, which kicked off what would become a strong commitment to social change. A number of years on I adopted a vegan lifestyle, which has continued to be the best decision I’ve made for each of the past 12 years.

I’ve been involved with animal activism in various aspects, from grassroots advocacy and volunteer work, to serving as a contributor for a vegan magazine and studying animal activism at the academic level. I have a Masters in Environmental Studies focused on the effectiveness of the animal advocacy movement and wrote my thesis on the reform/abolition divide (www.animalactivism.ca).

My work with VegFund centers around designing an assessment tool to measure viewer response to graphic animal footage (both in terms of changes in thinking and diet); a largely unstudied area to date. I put a lot of weight on the value of video outreach—indeed that is why I adopted a plant-based diet—and see great benefit in evaluating its impact. The internship has proven to be such a comfortable fit thus far, as it aligns so perfectly with my enthusiasm for exploring the strategic side of the animal advocacy movement. It doesn’t hurt either to be doing all this in partnership with a very smart, nimble, and results-oriented organization that was game to bring a Canadian on board!

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Amanda Riley

~Amanda Riley~

I went vegetarian at 15, about 6 years ago, immediately after learning about animal rights and vegetarianism from a few vegan musicians I admired at the time. It took two years and a really good vegan cookie to get me to go vegan, but by then I was ready to be an activist.

I try to get involved in every way I can. I’ve attended meetings or volunteered for most of the vegan and animal rights groups active in NJ and NYC. I’ve leafleted, tabled, staffed events, started a student group, and I have helped with anything else that was needed. I eventually hope to do vegan activism for a living.

I started my internship with VegFund two months ago, and it’s great. The communication goes very smoothly even though it is all through phone and email. I have had the opportunity to help improve activist resources through several web research projects. However, I have become most passionate about VegVids, VegFund’s vegan video aggregate that we’re just starting to promote actively. I am currently the voice behind the Twitter and Facebook posts and have been helping to improve the video collection. I will likely be continuing with some of these projects after my internship.

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We’re extremely grateful to Kathryn and Amanda for all of their hard work! Their passion, creativity, and dedication are tremendous assets to VegFund, and it’s a pleasure working with them.  We look forward to staying in contact even after their internships end, and we’re confident they’ll be successful in all of their future endeavors.

To learn more about the internship program, including details on how to apply, click here (PDF).