Where are you from, and how has that shaped your experience as a student and staff member here?

So, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, born and raised; I’ve always lived in the city although we moved around quite a bit. So, before coming to Wooster I had actually never heard of the school … But I’d say that as a student coming here, it was definitely a shift, moving from a neighborhood that was primarily black and brown residents and low-income residents, to move to Wooster as a first-gen student and see, like, cornfields and stars and all that stuff. I appreciate the solitude that I’m able to get in Wooster, time around nature, but I also miss the community of Cleveland and being in a large city with lots of different food options, lots of different things to attend and check out that align with my interests. 

How has your experience as a student at Wooster informed the work you’re doing now, as a staff member?

As a student, I was an Africana studies major, really interested in the intersections of race, gender and sexuality, all those different identities that often find themselves on the margins. As a student I would say I did a lot of advocacy work around those issues … I think for me it’s really cool to have had the opportunity to get involved with that as a student and do some of that work. Now, being a staff member, I get to continue to push and advocate for that, and learn about why folk on campus in administration or on dean levels did some of the stuff they did —and like, why don’t they listen? So now I can be like, “You need to listen!” ‘cause I’m at the dean’s level now.

What brought you back to Wooster after graduating?

Initially, I did not want to come back; I was eager to get out of Wooster. The opportunity I had lined up that I was 99.99% sure I would receive, though, I didn’t get. … Now that I’ve lived through that, though, I’m very happy with my decision to come back. A lot of the skills or the knowledge I need to know to survive as an adult and a young professional with a liberal arts degree, I didn’t have because I’m a first-generation college grad from a low-income family. So my transition is a lot more smooth because I stayed here. I’m able to do all the growing and make the mistakes that I’m going to make as a young professional in this field in a community that knows me and is supportive of my growth and my development. 

Where do you think Wooster has room for improvement? What goals do you have to work towards?

I’d say there’s a lot of room for improvement. Wooster does a good job of bringing students here, but so far hasn’t necessarily done the best job of centering those students and their needs. I think often, the conversations that I’ve heard and I’ve had with people have been like, “Well, you should be grateful that you’re here,” and I’m like, “Yeah, you should be grateful that I’m here, too.” I’ve done a lot for this school; I’ve given a lot. This school’s given a lot to me, and yet, it’s not a one-sided relationship. I’m a student whose priorities should be met; I should feel safe, welcome and comfortable in my campus community. So I think that’s something Wooster could do … I think one critical discussion that needs to be had that Wooster hasn’t had yet is considering the experiences of trans people of color, especially trans black women, as they’re a population that’s dangerously at threat of all sorts of violence and are often unrecognized on our campus … And what does it mean to be part of a college with a large, diverse population where there are still tons of other communities who are left out? I think we need to think about how we can improve our accessibility for folk, and how that when students graduate from here, they have a view of the larger picture of where people are and the work that needs to be done, and they see that work for equity and justice as a central part of their life mission. I don’t feel like a lot of students leave with that in mind. If we aren’t educating students on that, then we aren’t living true to our mission and our vision as a college. 

Lowry or Mom’s: which is better?

Yo, okay! I would say Mo — no, Lowry’s better. It has fruit. More drink options, more food options. Yeah, Lowry’s definitely better. But I love the Mom’s staff! They’re super great.