Zoom meeting with students and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Visits Bryn Mawr Online School

Bryn Mawr Online recently hosted United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as part of its regular speaker series to hear her insights on leadership, problem-solving, and the power of voting. Her candid and authentic demeanor created a friendly atmosphere, allowing her to engage with students on a personal level.

Sen. Gillibrand emphasized the importance of voting as the most crucial way to participate in politics, particularly for young people. “Voting is a powerful way to right wrongs and change the direction of the country,” she told Bryn Mawr Online students. “I think that young people are smart and they feel passionately about many issues. They are the future teachers and leaders. So, I encourage people to get involved. I think it’s very important that you vote as soon as you turn 18.”

She also shared her love for listening to her constituents and collaborating with colleagues across party lines to find common ground. “It’s not hard to do,” Gillibrand shared. “All it takes is just listening to your colleagues. Even though they might disagree with you on five things, at the sixth, you’ll find that one thing that they might agree with you on and that’s where you can write laws. That’s where you can solve problems.” 

Bryn Mawr Online students asked questions on a range of topics, including the Stock Act, Arizona’s criminalization of abortion, balancing college and social life, the 9/11 Health Bill, data privacy, dealing with offensive individuals, internet regulation, and her advocacy for Black and Brown maternity care. Her frank and insightful responses were well-received by students, who appreciated her candid approach and insider’s view of the political landscape.

By sharing personal anecdotes and challenges, Sen. Gillibrand created an intimate atmosphere that left a lasting impression on students and staff alike. Her visit to Bryn Mawr Online served as a reminder of the importance of female role models in leadership positions, inspiring young women to pursue careers that have a positive impact on the world.

Other speakers in the BMOS series have included luxury fashion designer Sergio Hudson, gaming industry experts, and Judge Tameiki Lunn-Exinor ’95.

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Meet Mallory Pladus

English Teacher

Where do you live?
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

What do you like about teaching online?
I like the small school environment, the ambitious students BMOS attracts, and the flexibility learning and teaching online affords students and faculty.

What do you like to do when you’re NOT in school?
Hike, travel, play frisbee, and spend time on the Jersey Shore.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Japan. My dad is half Japanese, and there is a rumor in our family that he and my aunt relinquished property rights to a small portion of a mountain in Japan. I’d like to go see that mountain.

Best way to spend a Saturday?
Reading outside.

What do you want students to remember about you?
I want them to remember that I did my best to make literature open up for them in surprising, intriguing ways and that I cared about their ideas.

Personal catchphrase?
“Let’s reflect on this.”

Who inspires you?
Writers I love: James Baldwin, Marilynne Robinson, Louise Erdrich, to name a few.

What activity/class have you enjoyed the most through BMOS (and why)?
The poet Sarah Ali visited our English 9 and 10 classes to discuss her poem about animal roadkill. The students asked great questions, and she gave thoughtful answers. We broached a topic that often feels too intractable to talk about.