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Natasha Markov-Riss

High School: Wheeler School 

Intended Major: Political Science, Minor in Film & Media and Peace & Conflict  

Possible Career: Human Rights Advocacy, International Law 

Words: Loving, curious, driven, discerning 

What impact do you want to have on the world?

Broadly, want to build a more just world. But before I can articulate where, exactly, I will focus my energies, I want to better understand: exactly what kind of political community is worth building? How can we imagine alternative "economies" to the ones we exist in? What is utopia? I hope that at least part of my impact is in answering these questions -- contributing to the construction of a shared vision for our shared future. 

Name a person you admire.

By brother, who embodies empathy and quiet determination. My father, the most relational person I know. My mother, who is unfathomably loving and brilliant. 
Also, Rashida Tlaib, who should be President.  

What is something you are proud of in your life so far?

I am proud of my friendships -- I have been lucky to live my life surrounded by the most incredible people, from whom I have learned more than I can possibly express. 

What have been the most valuable Evans Scholars program experiences for you?

My most valuable Evans Scholar experience was in Israel/Palestine, where I filmed a documentary with my fellow Evans Scholar, Ben Stern. On the ground, we interviewed people on every side of the political and ideological spectrum -- members of Hamas, Fatah, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as activists, settlers, tour-guides, artists, and professors. The documentary we produced focused on the separation wall. It explored how physical and ideological separation reinforce each other, creating divides that are political, not inevitable. 

What was the most transformative class you have taken and/or what subjects do you want to explore deeply?

Constitutional Law was a deeply transformative class for me. During the semester, I thought a lot about how certain formalistic legal distinctions (between de-facto and de-jure segregation, between the public and private realm) were eventually used by the conservative establishment to disembowel the progressive causes they were originally conceived of to further. I read and wrote about the Dred Scott case, too, especially moved by Mark Graber’s suggestion that, perhaps, no method of interpretation is a hedge against Constitutional evil. I came to appreciate John Hart Ely's argument that we must focus instead on using the Constitution to protect just and democratic political processes.