Hi, NU Community! I’m so excited to be a part of this family and connect with all of you! ✨
Let me give you a little bit of my background. I’m originally from the East Coast (Pennsylvania) but have been in California for the past five years and currently reside in Los Angeles (if you have any recommendations for food spots, let me know!). Some of my identities that are important to me include being Black, queer, and a woman. These identities greatly inform my work and dedication to inclusivity within the higher education space and beyond.
I received my Bachelor of Arts from UC, Santa Cruz, where I studied both Psychology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies. Getting to study these topics was really impactful for me because I grew up in a predominately white town in the suburbs of Philadelphia where critical race dialogue was not taking place or being centered, and so getting to engage and immerse myself within these fields empowered me to continue on with this work. I was also able to learn about and understand psychology from a decolonized lens which informs the collective care models I center my work within.
During my time at UC, Santa Cruz, I was involved in a variety of student groups and served in various student roles, like my work as a Student Educator for the Facilitators for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, a Program Coordinator for the African American Resource and Cultural Center and as an RA for the Social Justice & Diversity housing. It was these experiences that helped me find my community and belonging during college, while also allowing me to grow as a leader. This is why I’m a huge advocate for getting involved throughout college and look forward to helping all of you in your journeys.
In my previous professional role, I oversaw the First Generation Initiatives program of UC, Santa Cruz’s Educational Opportunity Programs office, which serves underrepresented student populations. Being a part of First Generation Initiatives was especially meaningful to me because I, like the students I served, was the first in my family to go to college. I had an amazing support system as I navigated academia and the higher education space, so I was happy to be able to give back and be that support system for others.
I hope to eventually go back to grad school and pursue a Ph.D. in social psychology. Along the way I want to conduct research on community-oriented approaches to psychological treatment, as well as help develop more inclusive mental health treatment that centers the experiences of marginalized groups. Some of the psychologists I look up to are Carl Jung and the late Dr. Aaronette White.
In my free time, I’m definitely more of a homebody, so you can usually find me in a cozy spot on the couch with a good book, writing, or watching the newest true crime documentary. When I do venture outside, I love to find nature spots to explore, like the botanical gardens at the Huntington Library and the rose garden at Exposition Park. I also love finding new food spots, going to museums, and browsing local bookstores. I’m an avid baker and am always bombarding my friends and neighbors with various baked goods.
Some of my interests include astrology, mindfulness, tarot, plants, home décor, cooking, baking, and true crime. If you ever want me to read your birth chart, feel free to message me! (I’m a Leo sun, Aquarius moon, and Scorpio rising for anyone who’s wondering).
Here is some music I enjoy:
Here are some of my reading recommendations:
- Solidarity Not Charity: Mutual Aid for Mobilization and Survival – Spade 2020
- Litany for Survival – Audre Lorde
- Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom – bell hooks
- [Video] The Signified Project with M. Jacqui Alexander
Now enough about me, I’d love to get to know you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and use me as a resource as you navigate your time at National University and beyond. I am rooting for you and look forward to connecting!
P.S. I will be having Zoom office hours on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30PM PST and by appointment. I look forward to seeing you there!
Zoom link: nu.zoom.us/my/csea.officehours
Appointment link: calendly.com/cseaofficehours/30min
Jasmine Banks, she/her