“You just got beat by a girl!” The laughter from the bench stuck with Ali Ryan-Mosley ’18 as she and the soccer ball dribbled on, leaving the defender behind. It was her fifth-grade co-ed team and it was the first time Ali remembers questioning what she calls “the socially constructed underpinnings of the human condition.”
“Why is getting beat by a girl such a bad thing?” “Is being a girl a bad thing?” “Am I not supposed to be better than the boys?” “Will the boys still like me if I am better than them?”
Those questions, and the imbalance they represent, have troubled Ali for years. During her time at CSB/SJU, they led the political science major/Hispanic studies minor to explore them in her senior thesis,
“The Economic Incentives to Women’s Empowerment.” She used primary research and a mixed-methods approach to explore how women’s political representation, women’s access to civil liberties and women’s health influenced changes in the Human Development Index and the gross domestic product per capita in Latin America.
Today, Ali’s continuing that exploration in Valparaiso, Chile. She’s launched The Crescendo Project, a non-profit that seeks to elevate women’s voices around the world through small-scale research ventures. Her first research project – #ellasjuegan – explores the question, “What is the role of soccer in the economic and social empowerment of women in Chile?”
Ali launched #ellasjuegan at a pivotal time in Chile, just as the Chilean Women’s National Soccer Team prepared to take part in their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup. As the tournament progressed, Ali had the opportunity to watch her research material shift in real time. She’s hard at work transcribing and coding interviews and hopes to eventually publish the results of her work.
This isn’t the easy route. Launching and fundraising a nonprofit in a foreign country is a daunting task by any measure. It takes an admirable level of confidence, a quality that Ali honed as a Bennie. Ali is leveraging that confidence to explore complex issues, ask tough questions and back up her inquiries with meticulous research.
As an accomplished former college-level athlete and lifelong soccer player, Ali’s used to scoring goals. Her goal for The Crescendo Project is her most ambitious yet – but she’s quick to note that this goal has nothing to do with fleeting glory and everything to do with creating lasting, meaningful impact. To that, we say: Game on.