MADAM PRESIDENT: A Chicago native, Reed, 21, is the president of the Penn chapter of the NAACP. She is also co-director of public relations for the Society of Pre-Law Students of Color, co-chair of the Africana Studies Undergraduate Advisory Board, and an editor for the Esu Review, the undergraduate research journal in Africana Studies.
BLIND TRUST: Reed came to Penn site unseen, after already having been admitted to the University of Michigan. “I just enrolled [at Penn] and I was like, ‘I’m going to take a chance,’” she says, “‘and trust that things are well.’”
REED TO ACHIEVE: Reed says she views the NAACP as a “change agent” at Penn and hopes the organization will facilitate dialogue and networking between minority communities.
YOU’RE WELCOME: Last April, a black student accused Penn of being unwelcoming to minorities because a handful of students barraged him with racial slurs. Reed, no fan of blanket statements, says she finds the University “extremely accepting” and “fairly diverse.” “I think there’s always room for improvement, but I think Penn has a lot going for it,” she says. “I think it’s a great place.”
LEAN FORWARD: Reed says she chose political science because her parents raised her on MSNBC shows. “I loved ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann,’” she says. “That was one of my favorite shows, even when I was younger.”
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Over the summer, Reed interned on Capitol Hill for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). “It was really cool to see a lot of different things happening, especially with the debt ceiling.” But, she says, “the bureaucracy kind of turned me off to D.C. [politics].”
MEGAN’S FAVORITE THINGS: Through Penn’s Community School Student Partnerships, Reed volunteers at West Philadelphia’s Lea Elementary School. “That’s probably been one of my favorite things I’ve ever done at Penn,” she says. “Sometimes I love it more than class.”
PROUD FAMILY: Reed says she loves President Obama and the first lady. “I think what he stands for is extremely important,” she says. “I think what he does or should do is very important as well, but I think just having a black president ... instilling those types of images in a child’s mind, especially a black child, is extremely important.”
JILL OF ALL TRADES: After graduating, Reed will work for Teach for America in Detroit, and later, will pursue a JD/MBA. “I’m really interested in consulting, but I could see myself being a lawyer and running a nonprofit,” she says. “If I wasn’t afraid of blood, I’d be a doctor. I’m the type of person who would do everything if I could.”
Originally published on February 16, 2012