This profile will appear as part of the Summer 2014 Columbia College Today’s Senior Snapshots feature.
From a nonprofit internship to literary research to extracurricular activities, Kai Schultz CC ’14 used his time in the College to explore LGBT issues from a variety of angles.
Among his most informative experiences, he says, was an internship with the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT and AIDS/HIV Project in the spring of his sophomore year, which entailed summarizing legal cases the nonprofit was considering for representation. He also was involved with the organization’s “Don’t Filter Me” project, which aimed to stop public schools from using web filtering software that blocks access to sites containing positive LGBT-related information. His experience at the ACLU “solidified my interest in going to law school,” says Schultz, who now is a paralegal at a boutique securities litigation firm in Manhattan.
An English major, Schultz spent summer 2013 in London, where he conducted research on homoeroticism in Matthew Lewis’ The Monk and other 18th-century Gothic texts. He studied one of Lewis’ unfinished manuscripts, The Effusions of Sensibility, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. “[The Monk] treats homosexuality in more careful terms compared to its depiction of other transgressive sexualities,” says Schultz, who concluded that “Lewis was thinking carefully about how to inscribe homoeroticism into the text without specifically calling attention to something that resonated in his personal life.”
A $4,000 Richmond B. Williams Traveling Fellowship, awarded by the Department of English and Comparative Literature to English majors in their junior year, covered Schultz’s travel and living expenses. While in London, Schultz started the website Let Me Speak (letmespeakproject.com), where he showcases “the diversity of queer life in urban spaces” through interviews with members of the LGBT community. He now conducts interviews with LGBT New Yorkers. “It’s been a great way to meet people and to develop my writing in other ways,” says Schultz.
Schultz, whose long-term plan is to “combine my interests in law, writing and human rights,” was president of the Columbia chapter of Amnesty International in his senior year. The student group organizes events such as speaker panels and film screenings that are centered on a semester-long theme — for Spring 2014, it was transgender awareness — and other human rights issues espoused by Amnesty International.
Schultz, who grew up in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert and now calls Scottsdale home, was drawn to the Core and New York City. In his first year, he joined the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee and began leading campus tours and hosting prospective students through the Lunch and Overnight Visits program and Days on Campus. As a URC member, he also interviewed prospective students in conjunction with the Alumni Representative Committee.
Schultz was a member of the URC Advisory Board in his senior year, during which he was responsible for coordinating all campus tours. “You learn to articulate your thoughts much better when you are in front of a group of people and have to talk about the school,” says Schultz of his experience as a tour guide. “It’s definitely one of the activities I’m going to miss the most.”
Nathalie Alonso ’08, from Queens, is a freelance journalist and an editorial producer for LasMayores.com, Major League Baseball’s official Spanish language website. She writes “Student Spotlight” for Columbia College Today.