My Passions and Perspectives
Presently, I am a dual Doctoral student at Michigan State University. My disciplines are History and Black Studies. As a university based scholar, teaching/mentoring undergraduates and graduate students, conducting social science-based research and community engagement are key functions and passions. Community engagement and diversity have significantly enhanced my desire to teach. Moreover, they are essential in effective teaching in the twenty first century. Sensitivity to the community and its concerns, and a commitment to diversity are invaluable educational resources and assets. In research, community engagement establishes trust between the researcher and his/her subjects and makes the community stakeholders in their research. Further, community engagement and diversity are paramount to my success and reflect my training and approach to scholarly pursuits and academic endeavors.
As a first generation college-educated African American, the first in my family to pursue a doctoral degree, and my working-class background; I believe it is my duty to engage my community. The goals of my community engagement activities are to extract and identify specific issues the community faces, the community’s ideas to remedy them, discern how I can support the community’s goals and projects, and to capture the community members’ voices and perspectives. I capture their voices and perspectives with the goal of transmitting to my students, to preserve them in my scholarship, and to make my scholarship relevant to the community. Furthermore, through community engagement, I seek to gain a further understanding of learning styles and challenges faced by members of the community.
Thus, I have a long and sustained personal history of community engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy. Specifically my community engagement has been related to reducing social, educational and economic disparities based on race, ethnicity or gender, and improving race relations in the U.S. Through memberships in organizations such as the NAACP, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the National Council of Black Studies, black student organizations and community service organizations; I mentor minority junior high and high school students, as well as college students. I also participate in community discussions and workshops.