My Inspirations

Erin Connolly, Health Per. 1

Diane Connolly

Diane was my mom. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and English and a master's in theology. Her passion was for journalism, specifically about religion. She was an editor of the Religion section of the Dallas Morning News and later was the founding editor of a news service that was a resource for journalists that reported on religion. She was extremely talented. I'm inspired by her dedication to what she loved as well as how she helped give a voice to often ignored groups. She was kind and intelligent and caring. She dealt with an incredibly tough battle with cancer, and it made her a stronger person. She was passionate and incredible and everything I want to be.

Tim Connolly

This is my dad. He grew up in North Dakota with his parents and three siblings. He has a bachelor's in mass communications and master's degrees in journalism and international journalism. He has worked as an editor for the Dallas Morning News for 22 years, but he worked at five newspapers before that. He is the kindest, most patient person I know. He's very smart and well-informed and hard-working. He inspires me because he's willing to do so much for the people he loves. He cares about his family and that's one of the many things that makes him such a wonderful person.

[Note: My dad really didn't want me to use this photo but it was hard to find a good one on short notice.]

Jasika Nicole

Jasika is an actress from Alabama. She studied dance, voice, and theater. Her most significant role as an actress has been on Fringe, which just ended after five seasons. She's also an artist, something she often worked on while she was on set. I first encountered Jasika from watching Fringe, but I later learned that she has many of the same interests as I do. Her art is amazing, and she also writes, usually about her experiences. Not only is she amazingly thoughtful and eloquent, but she's confident in herself to speak about her experiences as someone is multiracial and a lesbian. She also uses her blog to talk about activism and representation of minority groups in the media. She inspires me to focus on what I love, to be honest about what I feel, and to reach about to other people.

Somaly Mam

Somaly was born in Cambodia. When she was very young, she was enslaved and abused by a stranger before being sold into prostitution at age 14. She endured years of abuse, torture, and rape before escaping. Eventually, she returned to Cambodia, first to serve as a nurse. Later, she founded a group dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating victims of sex trafficking. She also has an non-profit organization in the U.S. that works with anti-trafficking groups. She has saved 4,000 people from sex trafficking. Somaly inspires me because she's so incredibly brave. Not only that, but she is compassionate and dedicated to helping victims of the abuse she suffered. I hope to have her passion, sense of purpose, courage, and kindness.

Buffy Summers

Next to all of these amazing actual people, it probably seems weird to put a fiction character as one of my inspirations. I'm not trying to compare their impact, but as a character, Buffy did positively influencing me. She's a character on the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has 7 seasons. She was a Slayer, which meant she had superhuman strength and abilities so she could protect people from vampires and demons. She inspires me because she has such a strong sense of justice. She's sacrifice herself to save her friends or people in general, and she always will fight for good, even if she's in a bad place emotionally (for example, she loses her mom in season 5). She also really believes in herself. At one point in the show, a villain tells her she has nothing without weapons and her friends. He asks what she has left, and she says "me." That has helped me find strength in myself, which has inspired me a lot.