By Helen Holmes
Like many students at NYU, Gallatin junior Megan Powers is almost absurdly prolific. Poised and well-spoken, Powers’ resume is intimidating; it seems that whatever topic interests her is destined to become the heart of a club or an organization that she’ll run. The recipient of the 2014 NYU President’s Service award for her “dedication to leadership and community-building,” Powers founded the Amateur Screenwriter’s Guild and holds the position of Vice President of NYU’s Republican Society.
Despite her title, Powers shies away from identifying herself “starkly as a Republican,” preferring to engage in thoughtful and reasonable discussion rather than stamping herself with the pre-conceived notions typically woven in with the term. During her freshman year, her class was tasked with marching with the Occupy Wall Street protestors, an assignment Powers felt was not in line with her personal political philosophy. She offered to write a paper instead but was shot down by her professor, who threatened Powers with a grade reduction if she didn’t comply. It was only when Powers appealed to university higher-ups that this threat was eliminated. This was a unique experience, however: “That was one of the only times a teacher was negatively receiving me,” said Powers of her years at NYU.
Powers comes from a military family, and has several male siblings who are in the army. When asked about a recent Supreme Court strike down of an amendment that would make it easier for victims of rape in the military to report their assault, Powers responded that “the military has been fundamentally set up in a schema of men. When women were allowed to join the military not everything has been made right. Not being able to feel safe in your own bed or bunk when you’re literally overseas fighting a war is a very ludicrous concept.” She supports legislation that would protect women in the military, but noted that the NYU Democrats and Republicans don’t typically debate over “social policy issues” such as this one.
Ultimately, Powers is an ardent supporter of the exchange of ideas. “We all…want the same thing at NYU: more active participation in politics,” she said.