Meet a Black Studies student.
Hometown: Pittsfield, MA
Major: economics; minor: Black Studies
What was your motivation to join the Black Studies (BLST) department?
As a senior in high school, I was deciding between attending Occidental College or Howard University. Having an education rooted deeply in my people’s history and culture was something very important to me so when I eventually attended Oxy, I knew the Black Studies department would allow me to further that education even though I was enrolled at a Predominantly White Institution.
Can you describe your working relationships with BLST professors?
The BLST professors are some of the most encouraging and empowering individuals I’ve had the pleasure of learning from. Their care for both their area of study as well as their students is a balance that these professors have nailed. I highly recommend taking any course with Professor Ball because she is an amazing educator, mentor and person.
What do you find most compelling about studying BLST?
Personally, I really enjoy being in classes where I am not the only Black student (which is common in the classes for my major). Coming from a diverse high school, my BLST courses have been very fulfilling in the sense that I am able to learn and study alongside my peers and professors that look like me.
What are your ambitions post-Oxy and how has the liberal arts approach helped to shape these ambitions?
I hope to join the Peace Corps because I have a passion for travel and forming connections across cultures. I also would like to build my own nonprofit organization focused on helping immigrants and first-generation Americans who have been impacted by deportation. Not only has Oxy shown me that these are valid possibilities for my future, but it has also given me the educational background and opportunities to pursue these dreams with more confidence.
Do you have any advice for a student considering a major in BLST?
If you are considering majoring or minoring in BLST… DO IT! The department is so supportive and really listens to its students. Deciding to minor in BLST was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my time at Oxy.