Marisa Stephens is ‘that KSU girl’

Marisa Stephens, a freshman managerial marketing major discusses the “I’m that Girl” group she started this past semester on Mar. 3, 2015. As a newly formed all female group, members aim to make this organization a safe, and supportive setting. “The main goal is for girls to feel better about themselves. If you have a problem, you will always have someone to talk to and help you. Everyone has something they can bring to the table.”

Felicia Guadagni

In spring 2014, the American College Health Association reported that 91.6 percent of female college students reported they “felt overwhelmed by all they had to do” any time within the last 12 months — about 15 percent higher than college males. 

It’s no secret that college is a stressful time in young peoples’ lives; however, organizations, like I Am That Girl, aim to combat preventable stressors for college women. 

Marisa Stephens, a sophomore managerial marketing major, is the founder and president of I’m That KSU Girl, the local chapter of the international I Am That Girl organization. Stephens was inspired to start the Kent State chapter this fall semester after seeing an I Am That Girl campaign video at another student organization. 

“I’ve always had self-esteem issues, especially in college, because of the unattainable mold girls are expected to fit into,” Stephens said. “I was really inspired by the campaign, so I applied to be a local chapter leader.”

The organization has the objective to improve self-love and help girls feel better about themselves in order to better accept other women.  The community of women involved with the organization provides a support group and a safe place for girls to speak and discuss issues such as stress management, body image, relationships and friendships.

“(I’m That KSU Girl) lets girls love themselves and express who they are without judgment,” Stephens said. “You take who you are and be the very best version of yourself you can be.”

While there are certain activities and topics planned for every meeting, Stephens emphasized that the women really steer the discussion to whatever they wish to talk about on that specific day. 

The Kent State chapter of I Am That Girl is one of three in the state of Ohio; the other two chapters are at The Ohio State University and Denison University.

I Am That Girl is a non-profit organization with age groups spanning from middle school to women more than 40 years old.

“Two women started it who wanted to get together and improve people’s self-confidence,” Stephens said. “At the meetings here, about 45 girls have showed interest so far, and 12 to 15 girls regularly come.” 

The organization meets every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Fletcher Study Lounge in Eastway Center.

As the leader of the Kent State chapter, Stephens exudes the confidence that the organization encourages.

“My biggest piece of advice is to figure out who you are first and then figure out the rest of your life,” Stephens said. “I love the quote ‘Be yourself; everyone else is taken.’”

Contact Felicia Guadagni at [email protected].