About ryang

I am a second year student at Duke University majoring in International Comparative Studies.

Final Thoughts

Moxie has officially ended and all I can think about it is how unique and truly challenging my DukeEngage experience was. I could not have asked for a better summer. The girls in my program had such different backgrounds and perspectives that it was guaranteed going into any discussion that you would hear an opinion different from your own. Being able to experience so many varying opinions within a positive and encouraging environment encouraged me to express myself, question others, and expand my perspectives.

Whether it was Shannan (our site coordinator) pushing me to think from a different perspective in our discussion dinners, Sai shouting the woes that come from living in a capitalist society, or Nicole (my supervisor at GGE) pushing to ensuring that GGE’s vision was reflected in all of my work, I was challenged on a daily basis during Moxie. Looking back at what I was feeling and thinking during week 1 I feel at week 8 that I am a changed woman! I feel like I have aged 15 years. I might have grown some grey hairs, had a couple of heart attacks, experienced multiple epiphanies, and also developed a completely new line of thinking and analyze the world. No big deal.


The difficult part now is going to be coming home and having to explain to everyone why I feel the way I do about certain issues. Before this program I didn’t like to discuss politics, religion, or really any topic that was fairly sensitive with people outside of my family but now I want to do that all the time. Thank you reflection dinners, reflection writing, reflection discussion, and reflection blog posts.


I have a new sense of pride and understanding when I hear words like: patriarchy, neoliberalism, capitalism, ageism, etc. because I now understand what those mean and feel educated enough on these topics to have a discussion about them.


This program was just the beginning of my feminist journey. I came to New York as a self-identified feminist struggling with fully comprehending the underlying topics of feminist theory and intersectionality. I am leaving as a self-identified feminist still struggling to fully comprehend the underlying topics of feminist theory and intersectionality but with a bit more understanding and knowledge. The best part of this program? The people I met. I have become friends with and worked with amazing people who I know I can look to whenever I do feel like having one of those heated discussions or just to question something I’ve seen or heard.


Week 7 In Photos

Sunday, July 19, 2015 – Shakespeare and Cronuts

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The girls went to see a show of Shakespeare in a parking lot.

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At Dominique Ansel’s Bakery

IMG_4140 Waited an hour and a half for these beauties.

Monday, July 20, 2015- Early Mornings Sometimes Makes It Better

IMG_3972It’s a Monday

Tuesday, July 21,2015 – GGE’s Workshop


Sai, Nathania, and Lyndsay during their GGE workshop on gender issues. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 – Work and Rallies

IMG_4050  Our relationship is one of terrifying each other on a daily basis. 

IMG_4061 Seen at a rally for Sandra Bland.

Thursday, July 23, 2015 – Moxie Randomness

Failing to find friends and eating our feelings away with chocolate

Friday, July 24, 2015 – Moxie Seminar

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Breakfast smoothies to prep for the Moxie Seminar!/We make beautiful art at GGE.

Saturday, July 25, 2015 – Sushi Night

Sushi Night with Andrea was delicious!

Week 6 In Photos

Sunday – July 12, 2015 – Enjoying The Little Things

IMG_3510 Central Park reading days.

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Umm… Can I have them all?


Monday – July 13, 2015 – Oh Weekends How Short Thou Art…

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We all handle work stress differently. That’s okay. Moxie is a safe place for everyone. 

IMG_3583 If I could have one super power it would be to have April’s energy.


Tuesday – July 14, 2015 – Oh, Hi Sai…

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Sai, you are a great fellow GGE Intern. Thanks for showing us how to de-stress at work. 🙂


Wednesday – July 15, 2015 – NYC does not know how to deal with rain.

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April finds us amusing/GGE & Hollaback’s building flooded due to rain -___-

IMG_3630 Hehe so cute. 


Thursday – July 16, 2015 – #Skills

Sai got to see some of her favorite artists!/April teaches Julia how to carry groceries. 


Friday – July 17, 2015 – Site seeing with some Dukies 

IMG_3666Artwork at a cafe near GGE

Learning about fashion at the FIT Museum. IMG_3704Some incredible designs featured at the FIT Museum.


Saturday – July 18, 2015 – Ground Zero 

IMG_3771View from the top of the Freedom Tower

IMG_3835 Underneath the 9/11 Memorial


Week 5 In Photos

Sunday: July 5, 2015 – The Foodiest City In The Country

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Max Brenner (A Chocolate Bar) for brunch was one of the best decisions we’ve made thus far. 

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‘Drink Me’ Ha! You don’t have to tell me twice 🙂

IMG_2882 IMG_2881 Sugar biscuits dipped in chocolate and waffle sandwiches. Need I say more?



Monday: July 6, 2015 – Monday’s are the worst

Cute shoes and bubble tea make Mondays slightly more bearable.

IMG_2965A moment of silence for all the dropped food in this world. 

IMG_2974 This Just In: Mondays don’t seem to affect April’s boundless energy level!


Tuesday: July 7, 2015 – Snapchat Tuesday

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In other news, I’m afraid of my GGE Moxie Colleague…

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Such beauty and elegance from these two. 


Wednesday: July 8, 2015 – Exciting Work Days

This is how I come up with curriculum. I swear it’s real work. 

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Welcome Abby, prepare yourself… The Moxie’s spam photos are coming!!!


Thursday: July 9, 2015 – The Families Back in Town!

IMG_3068 Thanks Dad for giving us a seminar on Emergency Allergy Response!

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My little baby sister is here finally!/Also we ate incredible food at Da Andrea’s Ristorante. 


Friday: July 10, 2015  – Let the Party Begin!

IMG_3101  Julia and April head out after work to our NWDA Seminar. 

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Visiting the Tenement Museum/Lauren likes the free fans they gave us. 

IMG_3116Lincoln Center Festival 

IMG_3135 We watched the National Ballet of China dance The Peony Pavilion play.


Saturday: July 11, 2015 – American History Lessons

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Getting to visit Lady Liberty was such an awesome experience!

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Why hello there Jersey and Manhattan.              On our way to Ellis Island!

IMG_3346 Lauren finds time to tan in the most random places. 


Things You Should Never Do On Moxie…

Ladies and gentlemen we have reached the halfway point!!! This summer has been so amazing it’s weird to imagine that this program is already half over. As I was contemplating blog topics I noticed that I kept thinking about the various realizations that I had over the past four weeks and felt I should share. So as advice for future Moxies and for my current Moxies, here are the top ten things you should never do while on the Moxie Program as told by a Moxie that has done all of these things.

  1. Come to love your other fellow Moxies…

Look, you’ve only got eight weeks with these ladies. Yes, you may be spending every waking moment with them but resist the urge to come to love them! It will only end in heartbreak. More likely than not you’re all different ages and majors. This is a recipe for disaster. Honestly you’ll probably never see them on campus after this summer and if you have rising juniors in the group most likely at least one will be abroad in the fall (looking at you April)! Creating a loving and meaningful relationship with these girls is like being lactose intolerant your entire life and then discovering the ridiculous amazingness of chocolate and all things dairy. IT’S A MISTAKE YOU WILL REGRET. Save yourself some pain and just treat them like robots. My advice would be to only communicate when absolutely necessary and limit your sentence lengths to three words.

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  1. Realize you love New York City…

New York may be one of the most visited cities in the US but that does not mean you need to figure out why! Ever heard of ignorance is bliss? That applies here. You do not need to know why NYC is incredible. Really. More likely than not you are not going to be able to live in NYC and simultaneously be at Duke campus so you’ll just spend the rest of your scholastic year wishing 9th street near East Campus was 5th Avenue near Hu Kitchen, Tiffany & Co, and the Museum of Sex. For those of you thinking “why not just transfer universities?” shame on you for even considering that. Duke is home. So nah. You’ll have to deal with a long-distance relationship with The Big Apple.


  1. Discover amazing food places here…

If you know me well you would know that eating happens to be one of my favorite things to do. There are so many incredible food places here. You could probably go to a different eatery for every single meal for the rest of your life and still not hit all the amazing eateries in NYC. Its like they want you to fail… Better to only eat from those random food trucks and pretend like you aren’t living in one of the best places to eat in the country.

  1. Visit a museum…

Enrichment activities are important because they expands your horizons and make you more knowledgeable. However, once you visit one museum you will come to the same realization that I did: museums in NYC are incredible sources of enlightenment, knowledge, and history. You will suddenly develop this burning desire to visit all the museums that NYC has to offer (I see you Abby). Now let me tell you, its not going to happen. There are 83 museums total in all of NYC. You’ll need more than eight weeks to get the job done.


  1. Be enlightened about the patriarchy…

Once you learn what patriarchy actually means be prepared for the anger. To me I view the patriarchy as a system where we gave newborn baby boys a guaranteed gold bar while simultaneously gave newborn baby girls lottery tickets. But here’s the catch! Those lottery tickets are even less likely to be winners if you are a person of color, part of the LGBTQ community, part of a religion that is not Christian or Catholic, or if you are somehow in any shape or form not conforming to the societal standard! Women lose in the game of life before even being given a chance to play.


  1. Realize how your entire childhood was plagued with all kinds of oppressions…

You can never take back this moment of realization. Once the wool is pulled off you can’t go back and, it sucks. Of course I prefer an existence where I know and understand how things like racism, sexism, and ageism affect me but that does not take away from the fact that this new understanding ends up tainting some of fond childhood memories you may have. Like finally realizing why your teachers were so shocked that you a young minority woman was doing really well in a math class instead of the stereotypical English class.

  1. Become educated about the injustices of the world…

There. Are. So. Many. The hard part is coming to terms with the idea that coming on this DukeEngage program does not automatically turn you into Wonder Woman and allows you to defeat all the injustices that plague the world. You won’t all of a sudden attain the ability to educate all men on the patriarchy, stop those street harassers, and prevent any sort of domestic violence to occur. I’ve had to come to terms with being able to be happy with the little successes and understand that it’s the small things us interns do that help support the amazing work these NGOs are doing.

  1. Become addicted to running…

Before this summer, I hated running. I have a long history of getting hurt while running but, my roommates April and Abby adore running. They get up every single day and run. I would run… But only for maybe ten minutes and just enough to be able to pat myself on the back for being “healthy” that day. These girls run more than 3 miles sometimes! So I tried running for real while here and now I love it. The only problem is that I am super attached to running along the Harbor or the High Line and neither of those is located near Duke campus. I’m going to have to find a new favorite setting to run in. I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world. (This one’s not that bad. But everyone should run along the Harbor or the High Line at least once while you’re here. It’s beautiful!).


  1. Start to love trying new things…

After trying so many new things and eating so many new foods, I have officially gotten over my initial aversion to trying new things. I always struggled to get past that initial hesitation to try new things and now I find myself jumping in whole-heartedly. But now I think I’ve developed an addiction to trying new things because they are so readily available in this city. How am I going to satisfy this craving in Durham!? Maybe I’ll just eat all the random, weird food that proliferates the Whole Foods’ shelves…

  1. Love being a completely independent woman…

Now, now ladies… If you are coming into this program you can be feminist but, let’s not get carried away and start thinking that on top of being feminist we are also going to enjoy being independent! That’s crazy talk! What would our society do with you after that? You would no longer be conforming to the ideology that supports the patriarchy. I say, THIS IS HERESY! But honestly, New York City forces you to be incredibly independent. If you did not feel self-sufficient before, you definitely will after this summer!

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If you just heed these warnings I’m sure you Moxies will leave this program unscathed without any battle wounds from fighting your way to understanding. Good luck!


Best wishes,


Week 4 In Photos

Sunday: June 28, 2015 – The Pride Parade 

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The inside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral/A group of Catholics that support LGBTQ rights.  

Julia is excited about her birthday.

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Thank you, Sanctuary for Families, for allowing us to be apart of this day with you!


Monday: June 29, 2015 – Moxies Are Always Focused At Work

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Dance parties are the best way to relieve stress. 


Tuesday: June 30, 2015 – Lunch On the Rooftop

Eating lunch on the roof of the YWCA is only one perk of working at GGE or Hollaback!


Wednesday: July 1, 2015 – Moxies Go Sightseeing

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Shots taken on the New York City High Line.

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Julia and Carina enjoy the Empire State Building late at night. 


Thursday: July 2, 2015 –  Walk Down Wall Street

IMG_2534 IMG_2537The coffee from this cafe was amazing! 

IMG_2548 IMG_2555Our group discussion was held near the Staten Island Ferry this week. 


Friday: July 3, 2015  – Negotiations, The Met, and M&M World 🙂

Our Negotiation Workshop made us feel empowered and ready to tackle any negotiations we may encounter!

The Met’s China: Through The Looking Glass Exhibition almost had me in tears at the beauty of the clothing designs.

What better way than to end the night with M&M World?! (I may have eaten half of my bag on the subway home…)


Saturday: July 4, 2015 – Shopping and more museum outings 

Shout-out to Ada describing men’s negotiating habits hahaha!

This museum’s exhibits were interactive. Such fun. 

We can see ourselves in every direction. #UltimateSelfieSpot.

Week 3 In Photos

Sunday: June 21, 2015 – Heading to the BAM Cinema Fest to watch Advantageous

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Monday: June 22, 2015 – Heading to Work Together (On Monday’s we wear cute clothes and hold our bags protectively in our laps.)

June 22


Tuesday: June 23, 2015 – New Experiences

June 23

Abby and I right before the play: Consent

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We met CATHERINE CURTIN from Orange Is The New Black!!!

June 23 _

We hung out at the Rockefeller Center.


Wednesday: June 24, 2015 – The Work Struggle 

June 24 _ June 24


Thursday: June 25, 2015 – Fuzzy Guests at Work (Her name is Pinkie!!!)

June 25


Friday: June 26, 2015 – A day in history. Marriage equality is established across all 50 states!

June 26

Abby is not having it. Where is this train?

June 26 ___ June 26 __

Watching Paris Is Burning in Brooklyn

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Visiting The Stonewall Inn on this historic day. 


Saturday: June 27, 2015 – Reuniting With My Dukies 🙂 Exploring Soho and eating all the baked goods we possibly can. 

June 27 June 27 __ June 27 ____ June 27 _

Property Of Society

The events of the past couple of weeks have been eye opening to say the least. Perhaps what I find most fascinating and simultaneously frustrating is that I feel I am gaining so much more from my Duke Engage experience than I am giving back to my community partner. From being exposed to so many different forms of expression and sexuality to being thrust into foreign situations and places, I have never felt so emotionally drained. Simultaneously, I have never felt so alive and aware of my surroundings.


The main reason I am bringing this up is because the past two weeks have taught me so much about myself and what I realized is that it’s not easy. It’s not easy learning about yourself. For one thing you are biased to think you are doing better than you really are. Accepting that I am flawed or doing something wrong requires a great deal of humility. The past two weeks have forced me to sit down and examine my beliefs, thoughts, and personal biases. I had to recognize my own shortcomings and accept them so that I would be able to look at where those shortcomings were stemming from and how I could change.

After walking around the city  for two weeks and processing all the visual pollution around me, I noticed that there was a recurring theme connected to identity that was constantly being played out around me. Our society loves to box people in. We love categories. You’re tall, short, black, white, smart, dumb, pretty, ugly, etc. It’s just labels after labels after labels that seem to be telling us exactly who we are. Then why is it that my generation seems to be the most confused about this fundamental human question: Who Am I?



Here’s the problem. We think that we can answer this question with a couple of adjectives and some letters from the Myers-Briggs Test. News flash: we are a complex and diverse species that could never and should never be described with only a couple of adjectives or letters from a test. This habit of ours to use simple descriptors for people dampens our diversity and the innate complexity within each of us. It limits us to thinking that we are all similar and that there is an in-group (the people that share those same descriptors) and an out-group (the people that do not use the same descriptors). Honestly, I think all of us are the out-group. No one is truly like anyone else and we wouldn’t want it that way. Life is challenging and people challenge us because they are different. We wouldn’t be where we are today if our society thrived on sameness. Our ability to adapt and grow is part of what makes us such beautiful creatures and allows us to go where no other species has gone. Why would we want to dampen that ability?


We say we value differences and revel in the unique passions of our peers but then explain to me why society believes all women should look a certain way to be “beach body ready” i.e. skinny, white, blond, and tall? Why are we not beautiful as we are? The ad below has been prevalent all over the NYC subway stations  and is targeting a surface level concept about beauty perceptions but, I see it as evidence of a much deeper seated issue that is plaguing our society and preventing us from advancing. It’s that concept of wanting sameness. Of valuing one look or one mentality or one personality trait over the others instead of empowering the differences in each of us.

Protein World's beach body ad on the London underground

Week 2 In Photos

The second week of Moxie has passed and boy was it a busy one! Here’s what my fellow Moxies and I have been  up to this past week:

June 14, 2015 – Exploring the City Together (Thank You Google Maps)











June 15, 2015 – On That Work Grind 

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June 16, 2015 – Running Along The HarborIMG_1497

June 17, 2015 – Choices Reproductive Health Clinic Visit

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June 18, 2015 – Unexpected Visit to The Hospital (I’m okay, just accidentally ate some nuts and had an allergic reaction… Casual day.)


June 19, 2015 – Exploring New Cafe’s (Cafe FIKA)

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June 20, 2015 – Shopping and Conference Day (Abby went to the Women Action Media Conference! She got to see Alicia Garza, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter!!!)

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Week 1 In Photos

I love taking pictures therefore I have decided to try and do a weekly photo series where I post one picture per day to highlight a little bit of either my day or of my fellow Moxie’s day here!

Day 1: June 7, 2015 – Move In Day

June 7

Photo Found in Washington Square Park


Day 2: June 8, 2015 – First Day of Work

June 8Photo taken waiting for the 4/5 train at Union Square.


Day 3: June 9, 2015 – Museum Mile Festival

June 9


Photo taken walking back home from the Museum of New York


Day 4: June 10, 2015 – ULA Work TripJune 10

Photo taken at New Visions High School in Brooklyn (Work for Urban Leaders Academy)


Day 5: June 11, 2015 – Moxies Get Lost Day 

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June 11







Photos taken lost in New York 


Day 6: June 12, 2015 – 9-11 Memorial Visit

June 12

Photo taken at 9-11 Memorial Site


Day 7: June 13, 2015 – Scavenger Hunt Begins!

June 13

Photo taken in Times Square heading to Fun Home