Realist Woman of the Week: Annie Rogoff

Annie Rogoff, Paralegal, U.S. Department of Justice

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Annie Rogoff, 22, is our first Realist Woman of the Week! She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a political science bachelors degree. Annie currently lives in Washington D.C.

I visited Annie this weekend in D.C. and it was quite the blast to the past! The last time I saw Annie in person was ten years ago in an all-girls boarding school. While our experiences at boarding school were very negative, we bonded over the struggle together.

Why did I ask Annie to be the first RWoW? Well, despite experiencing some seriously rough times throughout her life, Annie has pushed the limit of “idealism” and has achieved some amazing, real things.

At Vanderbilt, Annie co-founded a nonprofit called “The Dara House.” This organization provides safe housing and treatment for women who have been sexually assaulted on college campuses. While she was a college student herself, she oversaw the daily operations of Dara House, as well as organized major fundraising events.

Annie has also worked a lot within law offices as a legal intern, paralegal specialist, and a legal assistant. Today she works for the United States Department of Justice!

Who is your role model? Why?

Annie immediately answered, “My grandparents, but particularly my grandfather.” She explained that her grandfather was a man of strong moral character. “He was a doctor and served the greater Plainfield NJ community.” He treated injured soldiers during the Korean War. Annie fondly remembered one story that highlighted the core values of her grandfather, “There were two patients. There was a higher ranked, white officer with a light cold. And there was a lower ranked, black soldier who was extremely sick. He was told to tend to the higher ranked officer first. My grandfather refused and tended to the lower ranked soldier, because he did not believe in racial hierarchies and he believed in tending to the sickest first. He was extremely humble.” She further explained that while her grandfather was extremely stoic and quiet, he had strong compassion for others.

Annie also strongly admires her grandmother. “She went to Northwestern University and Smith College to become a social worker. I never heard much about her accomplishments. She is very humble. She is someone who can walk into a room and make anyone feel better.”

Annie concluded, “Unfortunately, my grandfather passed, but my grandma is still alive. Through leading by example, both of them instilled within me the importance of helping others and being and being a kind and moral person.”

What is your biggest ambition/dream? How are you working toward it?

Annie has many goals. She asked me if I wanted her 30 year, 40 year, or 50 year goal. It old her to tell me whichever one is her most important.  “After law school I plan to work for the government. My goal at the end of the day, is to work as a constitutional law and civil rights attorney working on issues relating to mass incarceration, the war on drugs, equal rights, women’s rights, and civil rights law. I hope to do this building my legal resume enough to transfer to the ACLU or the Innocent Project. I even have hopes to run for office one day.” I asked her which office, and she said that she will run for U.S. Senator. My vote is with her!

What are you proud of about yourself?

For the first time, there was a moment of silent reflection. Soon enough, Annie continued, “I’m just proud that I’ve been able to grow as a person. I’m proud of the fact that I have been able to overcome painful experiences and use those experiences to train myself into becoming a victims advocate. This has allowed me to involve myself in issues such as violence against women, and establish a meaningful nonprofit.”

What are some things that you have been called an idealist for, and that you still did anyway?

Annie stated that a lot of people have told her that she cannot help everyone. “I’ve been called an idealist for working hard to help those going through trauma, relating to college campus sexual assault. I’ve been called an idealist for working hard to establish a nonprofit. ” I asked her if that ever stopped her. “Nuh-uh.”

Do you have any advice for other ambitious young women?

Annie had many tips:

“I think that you should not only follow your heart, but you should also follow your gut. Your heart tells you what you want and your tells you what’s right and what’s wrong.”

“Don’t hold yourself back based on an experience that you had that wasn’t positive. If you’re in an uncomfortable spot where you feel lost, that’s okay. Often times when you are in a spot that you feel lost in your career, that is the time to do some soul searching.”

She concluded her monologue with this:

“The best advice that I can give someone is to do each day 1% better than the last. If you have a goal, it’s definitely possible to achieve it as long as you know can do the hard work. There have been times in my life that I have been my biggest enemy.”

I really enjoyed spending this weekend with this Realist Woman! Thank you for all of the great words of wisdom, Annie!

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Annie and me!

 

 

 

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