October 12, 2021

The Social Institute Student Influencer Program: Introducing Zoe Kurtz

One of the Seven Social Standards that The Social Institute believes in is: Finding Your Influencers. This means surrounding yourself with positive role models who support you and encourage you to play to your core. To help students find these positive and credible influences, we began our Student Influencer Program. Each week we select a different student to take over our Instagram and highlight how they act as a positive influence and inspiration in their communities.

This week we are excited to introduce Zoe Kurtz. Zoe is studying Strategic Communications with minors in Leadership Studies and Political Science at Elon University. At Elon, Zoe is a member of a number of organizations including Hillel, Admissions, College Coaches, and Mentorship! On top of all of that, Zoe is also a Product and Content intern here at The Social Institute. In her free time, Zoe loves to go on adventures, hike, and spend time with her friends and family. 

Recently, we interviewed Zoe to learn more about her and how social media impacts her life. Here’s what she had to say:

What do you value about yourself or others?

Zoe: A characteristic that I value in others and also in myself is integrity. I believe in the importance of being true to yourself, leading with integrity, and staying honest with others.

What are your personal goals?

Zoe: A personal goal of mine is to always push and challenge myself to grow. I want to do what makes me happiest while striving to help others and making a positive impact in my community.

How have you felt since returning to in-person school?

Zoe: As I am getting ready for graduation, I feel bittersweet. I am making sure to be intentional about my last year at Elon by spending my time with the people I want to spend time with. I think that this year definitely feels different because we are coming back from a year that was unlike any other. One thing that I remind myself of every day is to treat each other with empathy and understanding as everyone is feeling different about coming back to school this fall.

What are the things you try to accomplish each day?

Zoe: Something that I try to accomplish each day is balance. I try to incorporate self-care every day by making sure I take time for myself. Whether that is through taking a walk in the morning, taking the time to relax before bed, or going to bed at a decent time, I have learned that the best way I can be there for others is to be there for myself, too.

What or who inspires you most?

Zoe: My mom is my biggest inspiration as she is someone who never gives up. She is someone who is not afraid to be her most authentic self and works every day to motivate and inspire others. She has taught me to never give up and to follow my heart and passions.

How has social media acted as a positive influence on your life?

Zoe: Social media is a positive influence in my life because it allows me to connect with my friends and family. No matter where I am, I am able to feel connected with them. As someone who has cousins abroad, social media lets me be part of their lives and stay up to date with what they are doing. Whether that is through FaceTime, on Zoom, liking social media posts, or through email, we feel closer than ever through the power of social media.

Another way that social media has acted as a positive influence in my life is that it has allowed me to explore and learn different perspectives. I have been able to follow accounts that I find interesting, learn how to cook through virtual classes or through Tik-Tok videos, and find book recommendations from people online.

Of our Seven Social standards, which one do you most resonate with and why?

Zoe: I resonate the most with Strike A Balance because I believe it is so vital to have balance in our lives. Through managing my time online, spending quality time with those I love, and taking time to reflect, balance allows me to feel connected to many different aspects of my life. 

If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what advice would you give to her about navigating social media or social relationships?

Zoe: If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I would tell myself that what I see on social media is not always the true story. Through editing apps and photoshop, we only see a part of the story.

Zoe is a great example of what it means to Strike A Balance. Whether she is managing her internship, spending time with friends, or participating in clubs at school, Zoe makes sure to keep a healthy balance when things get busy. We are excited to have her as a part of our team and to watch her continue to make an impact on students around the world.

If you know a student who is accomplishing great things, we want to highlight them! We love sharing impressive students with the world. Contact us here.

About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, families, and educators to positively navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology. Schools access our student-respected, turnkey curriculum through WinAtSocial.com, an interactive, gamified learning platform. With solutions for students, parents, and educators, we offer a systemic and comprehensive SEL program through a unique and positive approach. We are proud to serve public and independent partners such as Ravenscroft School, Woodward Academy, Oldfields School, All Saints Episcopal School, Lake Forest School District, Boston Public Schools, and more. For more information on how to empower your students to make high-character decisions online and off, please contact us.