When I think of diversity, I think about characteristics that make us all unique—ranging from our skin color to our spirituality. However, it’s not just about recognizing these differences, it’s about celebrating and accepting them as well. I think the stories that get told in the media sometimes overshadow the progress that some of us have made in becoming more accepting.
I’m an African American female coming from both a military and lower socioeconomic status background. Interestingly enough, I identify with all of these roles because they made me the person that I am today. I’m not a PhD student at William and Mary despite these roles—I can proudly say that I’m a PhD student at one of the most prestigious institutes in America because of these roles.
Diversity issues have impacted my research path during my time here at W&M. I understand how important it is for minorities (all kinds of minorities) to see examples of themselves not only sitting in classrooms, but also leading classrooms. Additionally, I realize how extremely important it is to prepare our next generation of counselors and educators to effectively work with people from diverse backgrounds—and not just because it’s a “trendy” issue, but because it’s a human rights issue.
Everyone deserves to feel recognized and included at the SOE. The more attention we bring to diversity and individuality, the more everyone’s voices will be heard without feeling the need to shout. :)