Emily Kettereer



Location: East Lansing, MI, United States

    Issues Areas:
  • Education Justice
  • Racial Justice

Campus: Michigan State University - East Lansing, MI

Fellowship Class Year: 2006

Blueprint: Organizing to Save Affirmative Action in Michigan

In the November 2006 elections, a statewide ballot initiative called the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" aimed to ban affirmative action policies and outreach programs at all publicly funded state institutions including higher education institutions. The ballot initiative was sponsored by Ward Connerly, the architect of similar ballot initiatives in Washington, Texas, and California. The YP4 Fellows at Michigan State University created and coordinated a state-wide student coalition looking to raise awareness about affirmative action policies in general and the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" in particular. YP4 Fellows from across the state of Michigan then began to educate the public and train student leaders on the issue of affirmative action. They also coordinated a "week of action" the last week of March to commemorate the 3-year anniversary of the University of Michigan Supreme Court decision upholding affirmative action as a beneficial part of a college's admissions and outreach process. The YP4 Fellows also held a press conference to announce the coalition and held a day-long training session for student leaders on things such as the history of affirmative action. The Michigan State University YP4 Fellows capped off their activism with a debate between affirmative action activist Tim Wise and University of Michigan Professor Carl Cohen on the topic of "The Future of Affirmative Action in Michigan: A Dialogue."

Featured Fellow Spotlight

YP4: Em can you tell us what you stand for. 

 Em: I stand for comprehensive and compassionate health care for all Americans.


YP4: And how did you get involved with YP4? 

Em: I was a fellow in 2006, nominated by a wonderful fellow from 2005, Jon Hoadley.


YP4: Tell me about your work.

 Em: My main job is to learn as much as I can as a rotating medical student; in addition to my clinical work, I also serve as the President of the national board of Medical Students for Choice. MSFC seeks to create tomorrow’s abortion providers and pro-choice physicians. We are the second largest medical student run non-profit, right after the American Medical Student Association, and we’re darn proud of it.


YP4: What has been your greatest achievement so far?

 Em: Getting through my first round of Boards without going crazy or ruining my relationship! Jokes aside, I am incredibly proud of the work I do with Medical Students for Choice.


YP4: What motivates and inspires you?

 Em: I am motivated by the wonderful men and woman I see in my daily clinical work that are struggling to stay healthy when everything is working against them.


YP4: What is your one main life goal that you want to accomplish? (What is your vision for the world?)

 Em: I want to see national health care in my lifetime—sooner rather than later.


YP4: Where do you see yourself globally?

Em: In truth, I see so many problems in America that I will continue to focus my efforts here in the States.


YP4: What is a struggle that you’ve faced or are facing in your work?

 Em: I struggle with the extremes of healthcare provision in our country. We routinely over and under-serve people medically and it is all based on their ability to pay. It’s extremely difficult to provide comprehensive care when so few people have adequate insurance.


YP4: What would you say to others dealing with those struggles?

 Em:Keep your head up and enjoy the people you serve! I always leave the clinic smiling, or at least reflecting on how lucky I am to have such an interesting and rewarding job!


YP4: How can other fellows get involved or find more information about the work you’re doing?

 Em:Our website (www.ms4c.org) is a good resource to learn about reproductive justice from the other side of the speculum. To learn more about medical school and how you can integrate social justice values, email me or visit my blog: www.emketterer.com.


YP4: What advice would you give to the incoming class of Fellows?

 Em: Take advantage of YP4’s abundant resources and recognize that you are the future of progressive leadership—don’t let us (or your country) down.


YP4: If every time you entered a room your theme song played, what would it be and why? 

Em: Ace of Base, The Sign. Why not? Also, anything by RuPaul.


YP4: Is there anything else that you want to say?

Em: Be gentle with yourself! Activism has a high burn out rate, and I’ve fallen prey several times. Remember that you are most useful when you are well-rested and able to think clearly. (Although, coffee is occasionally a great substitute for a good night’s sleep.)