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Sat, July 04, 2020

Why I chose an African American Studies minor

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I decided to declare the African American Studies minor during my Junior year at UTSA. My first courses in the discipline changed my perspective on not only Black history, but on social issues to this day. When combined with my research as an UTSA Educational Research P-20 Pipeline Issues Pathways Fellow and an UTSA Mellon Humanities Pathways Fellow, I became impassioned about representation and accurate depiction of all backgrounds in K-12 and higher education. The courses that I took in African American Studies and the research projects I took part in shaped my career trajectory and made me a competitive applicant for the Master’s programs I am interviewing for in February. 

In the fall semester of my Senior year, I was afforded the opportunity to work with the Director of the African American Studies Program Karla Broadus and with ILT Doctorate Fellow Martina McGhee on my own research project in the field. Based on the body of research supporting the use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) in classrooms with students of color, my study aimed to explore the use of AAVE in undergraduate courses at the University of Texas at San Antonio and undergraduate Black men’s feelings towards it’s use (or lack thereof). It was imperative for me to receive academic support from faculty and staff that valued my research and it changed my life to see women of color from multiple generations involved in a project like this.

Not only has the African American Studies program supported my learning and research endeavors, but faculty and staff in the field have continually pushed me to be civically engaged. Being on the executive board of about five organizations, faculty and staff consistently communicated with myself and other leadership about opportunities for students both inside and outside of the classroom. I have participated in numerous volunteer opportunities, attended meaningful presentations, and met remarkable influencers based off of my participation in the minor.

In the future, I plan on working in Higher Education, eventually intending to serve as a Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, and African-American Studies, or to create inclusive programs that educate the community on issues relevant to those who are often left unrepresented. I believe that it is imperative that institutions and educators support students in creating social change with support from their courses and degree. While I greatly value my major, I have found my purpose in this program and am excited for what the future will hold.

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