Safe & Just Michigan is pleased to welcome Veronica French onto our team as our office manager. Veronica comes to us from the Michigan State University Museum, where she worked as on collections assistant and then a member of the organization’s exhibits and administration team. In her new role, she’ll be, she’ll be working to make sure everything runs smoothly inside Safe & Just Michigan’s office and at the events we host around the state.
Veronica always knew she wanted to work with people, but for a long time, she wasn’t sure she wanted to work with living people. She majored in anthropology at MSU and had considered pursuing a career in archaeology, perhaps digging up the ruins of Greece or Rome. Eventually, she decided a career that took her away from her home for long periods of time wasn’t realistic.
An internship she took as a student at the MSU Museum showed her how satisfying it could be to work with the objects — and living people.
“I felt lucky being able to handle objects in the collection, which many people don’t get to do,” Veronica said. “But then I started working in visitor engagement and realized I really loved that. I’m a people person, and it’s nice when what I’m working with can talk back to me, too.”
The most meaningful project that Veronica worked on at the museum was an exhibit entitled “Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak” exhibit, reflecting on the crisis of sexual violence centered on the MSU campus in recent years and curated by the survivors and their allies. Simply putting the exhibit together was a moving experience, Veronica said. But seeing how much it meant to the survivors — and to the visitors — made it a project she is truly proud of.
“I got to meet strong women and girls and see them use their trauma to make something beautiful out of it,” Veronica said. “I was really fortunate to be a part of that.”
The experience also awoke her sense of social justice and her desire to make a difference in her community. Veronica grew up in Howell, Mich., and wants to see her home state become a leader in criminal justice reform. It’s that drive she plans to tap into as she goes to work at Safe & Just Michigan.
“I’m a very empathetic person,” she said. “I look forward to being at an organization that is working to find ways to better the community and better people’s lives. I want to help people see better options to the way things are now.”