DeLarm learns to be an advocate for change

When Chelsea DeLarm enrolled in the off-campus “Families in Chicago” course, she was an education major, but that trip was just the beginning of a new life path. Erin Davis, professor of sociology, identified in DeLarm an analytical mind that would fit perfectly with sociology: DeLarm had the ability to find the intersection of structure and oppression.

Chelsea DeLarm ’14 had a passion for advocacy that's led to a job with the Catherine MacAuley Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Chelsea DeLarm ’14 had a passion for advocacy that’s led to a job with the Catherine MacAuley Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

DeLarm, of Floresville, Texas, credits her time at Cornell for helping her find her path. “I’ve had a series of identity forming experiences at Cornell,” she said. “There have been a lot of challenges, and I was able to immerse myself in service learning and community.”

While at Cornell, DeLarm had the opportunity to travel abroad multiple times. She went to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Japan as the Aoyama Gakuin Exchange Program ambassador. She also led two Alternative Spring Break trips: first to Maryville, Tenn., where she worked on the Cherokee Reservation, and then to Elm Mott, Texas, where she worked with World Hunger Relief Inc. There she learned what college students can do to help foster social change in the food industry, including being an advocate for ethical consumption.

Sisterhood with the Arrows and involvement in the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls, where DeLarm skates under the name “Karly Marx,” a tribute to social change and ending oppressive structure, were also central to her growth in college. Both groups of women work to empower each other within a strong community, and through them, DeLarm learned what it is to be a feminist. She said, “I learned to love myself for who I am.”

DeLarm is following her passion for service and advocacy by working as a case manager at the Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids, the only agency in the area to provide one-on-one tutoring for adult learners as well as transitional housing for women overcoming poverty and homelessness.

Tattooed on DeLarm’s arm are an arrow and the words, “I’ll stand taller to be an agent of change,” two reminders of things she’ll take with her after her graduation from Cornell. Through her time at Cornell, DeLarm said, “I gained recognition that I can be an advocate, and I have the power to make change.”