Scientistas raise money with Zumba



Brittany Kasturiarachi attends a zumba session to help raise money for The Scientistas Wednesday, March 13, 2014 in the Student Center. The group is raising money for their trip to Boston where they will attend the Scientista National Symposium at MIT.

Haley Baker

The Kent State Scientista chapter hosted a Zumbathon Thursday night to raise awareness of human trafficking in Ohio and raise money for a group trip to the first National Scientista Symposium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Brittany Kasturiarachi, senior chemistry major and vice president of Scientista, said this was a fun way to raise money and also help out a cause.

“Zumba is fun and it’s a great workout,” Kasturiarachi said. “It’s great after sitting around during all these snow days. Also the cause we are supporting is a really great one.”

After one hour of Zumba, Partners Against Trafficking of Humans Stark gave a presentation on human trafficking. Grove contacted Elana Koh, 2012 Kent State graduate and PATHS member, to give the presentation and raise awareness.

“A lot of Ohio-born citizens are involved in human trafficking, and it kind of disturbed me that a lot of kids are stuck in human trafficking, specifically more sex trafficking,” Koh said. “Now that you see more and more in the news about human trafficking happening, I felt it was an important issue. I think people shouldn’t be sold.”

o MIT, the presentation resonated with those in attendance. Senior paralegal studies major Riley Martin said she came to support a friend but now has a different perspective.

“I definitely didn’t think it was a problem until this year,” Martin said. “Now that I’m more aware of it, I definitely think that something needs to happen and something needs to be done.”

PATHS works primarily in Stark County but plans on working with an anti-human trafficking group on campus called International Justice Mission.

“We focus mainly on the international aspect of human trafficking, but it breaks my heart to see that this isn’t just happening in other countries but right here in our own backyard,” said senior technology major and IJM member Kody Gann.

Each person was charged $5 for four hours of Zumba and all of the money went to fund the trip to Boston. The event raised $50 total. Scientista president Brandy Grove teaches Zumba at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which is how she came up with the idea for the fundraiser.

Scientista is a women’s empowerment group that targets young women in the STEM fields. At the symposium, students will have the opportunity to present their research and network with professionals.

“I think fundraising for Boston is great too because Scientistas just started this year and we want to get our name out there,” Kasturiarachi said. “I just think it’s a great networking opportunity, and we can take what we learn there and bring it back to Kent.”

Contact Haley Baker at [email protected].