What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?
Following graduation, I spent three years as an educator in two independent schools—Pomfret School and Berkshire School. In my first job, I taught American history (and created the school’s first ever African-American history course), co-led the school’s social justice curriculum, assisted coached the girls’ varsity basketball and co-ed track & field teams, and served as the interim co-director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I went on to become the director of multicultural recruitment at Berkshire School for a year before accepting my current job and moving to Boston. I’m currently an associate in the HR executive search practice at Spencer Stuart, a global leadership advisory consulting firm. I recruit HR and DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] executives, co-lead the Boston office’s JEDI [Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion] organization and programming, and assist the internal talent acquisition team with various DEI initiatives.
Why Africana studies?
As an incoming freshman, I knew I wanted to take at least one Africana studies course as I'd already been skeptical of the national narrative about African Americans and people of color in this country. However I never intended to pursue a major. My advisor encouraged me to take the intro course with Professor Judith Casselberry in my first semester and I fell in love. Credit for my decision to pursue an African studies major belongs to all the incredible professors in the Africana studies department who made me feel seen, created opportunities for me to explore my own identity, challenged me to think and understand the world differently, and whose passion created an exciting and powerful learning environment.
The opportunity to study Africana Studies at Bowdoin was entirely a privilege that has—and continues to— enhance my life and grant me access to more opportunities than I ever imagined. First and foremost, if the purpose of a liberal arts education is to teach critical thinking, reasoning, and communication skills, and to prepare us to innovate, then I cannot think of another department that more fully embodies that mission than the Africana Studies department at Bowdoin. It’s impossible to name all the ways in which that’s true; but when I reflect on the skills, ideas, relationships with my classmates and professors from college that have been most valuable in my life after graduation, most can be traced back to Africana Studies in one way or another. To provide a tangible example: there’s an increasing necessity for people equipped with the tools to understand, manage, and overcome diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and challenges in professional settings. My experience as an African studies major most definitely prepared me to identify and take advantage of such opportunities, consequently opening new, and more, doors to influence change and establish myself as an asset in nontraditional ways in diverse professional settings. Long story short, Africana Studies has proved to be an incredibly versatile degree, which has translated into personal and professional growth opportunities, and more importantly relationships, which continue to positively impact my life.