Student Stories

Matrika Bailey Turner

Becoming a Global Citizen: Matrika Bailey-Turner '08

Matrika Bailey-Turner ’08 never thought she would attend Hamline University. Despite her Minnesota roots (she lived in Minneapolis until she was two years old) and ties to Hamline (her grandfather is former Hamline president Richard P. Bailey), she grew up in New Hampshire and wanted to attend college on the East Coast.

As the time to make a decision drew near, Bailey-Turner had a change of heart. “The more I thought about it,” she said, “I realized that Hamline was a great fit. It had everything I wanted.”

For her, Hamline offered opportunities that a larger school could not. “From day one, Hamline communicated its support for me as a student and as a person,” Bailey-Turner said.

She began as a legal studies major, but switched to social justice and women’s studies majors because “all the activities I was attending were social justice focused,” she said. During her time at Hamline, Bailey-Turner was involved in numerous groups and organizations, including the Hamline Undergraduate Student Congress, Commitment to Community, Coalition for Social Change, and the Omicron Delta Kappa society.

The mentorship of professor Earl Schwartz also helped to cultivate her passion for social justice. “He is passionate about ‘education in real life,’” she said. “He has this amazing ability to transform the classroom into real-world situations.”

Bailey-Turner experienced one real-world situation first hand during a semester abroad in Fiji the spring of 2007. The island nation had just gone through a government coup in December 2006, so Bailey-Turner saw Fiji’s new government unfold right before her eyes. “It was incredible to watch a two-month-old government find its footing,” she said. “New partnerships were being formed every day, and it was exciting to know I was a part of it.”

Bailey-Turner also learned the ins and outs of daily Fijian life by staying with a host family. She attended classes at the University of South Pacific and began learning Fijian. This experience was transformative for her, to say the least. “I learned a lot about myself while studying abroad,” she said. “I learned how to be a better global citizen.”

Each class she took at Hamline connected to the outside community, Bailey-Turner said. This comprehensive and non-traditional classroom approach made transitioning to working life after graduating feel natural.

Bailey-Turner has taken her passion for social justice forward. Her previous positions include coordinating strategic operations for Girl Up, a United Nations campaign that gives American girls the opportunity to become global leaders, and supporting partnership and cause marketing strategies for the United Nations Foundation’s global partnerships team.

Today, Bailey-Turner serves as speaker management coordinator for the Washington D.C.-based startup Orate, an online marketplace that helps connect event organizers with public speakers. Because many of her projects at the United Nations Foundation involved event management and speaker coordination, Bailey-Turner feels the position is a great fit. “I always love meeting new people with fascinating stories, and my current position involves a lot of networking, relationship building, and meeting new and exciting people on a regular basis,” she said.

Bailey-Turner continually draws upon her Hamline education. “Hamline prepared me for this role by exposing me to many different kinds of people, whether it is a guest lecturer, or student activities event, or opportunities to meet with faculty and staff,” she said. “Navigating these different groups was essential to the networking and relationship management skills I use now in my everyday life.”

Find out more about the social justice and women’s studies majors, study abroad opportunities, and the wide variety of student organizations at Hamline, or contact Hamline's Undergraduate Admission Office to learn more about joining the Hamline community.