Recent graduate wants to lead a life of learning and teaching
2018 was a big year for this College of Arts and Sciences major. Not only did he graduate, he came out as the first bisexual president of the UMKC Interfraternity Council. Watch a video and read a Q & A to learn more.
Why did you choose UMKC?
I transferred here in 2015 to study with my voice teacher. I originally was a voice performance major, but realized I was also very interested in language and cultural identity so I decided to switch to French language and literature.
What are the challenges and benefits of the program?
The field is very interdisciplinary so you have to be able to navigate research in literature, linguistics and the other social sciences. If you learn to navigate these fields, you can explore so many perspectives of the human experience.
You just graduated. What’s next?
I’m part of Teach for America in Atlanta, where I’ll be teaching high-school social studies. While I’m there, I’ll be applying to graduate school for doctoral programs in history and French. I hope to become a university professor and work in student affairs.
Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?
I’ve learned that I am a queer identity and can embrace that. I’ve learned that no matter my age or resources, I can help my community and create meaningful change. I look for what’s missing and try to fill the void.
I’ve learned that I am imperfect, that I can fail. But I’ve also learned that it is completely OK to make a mistake, as long as you get back up and try again. By embracing my flaws and weaknesses, I can work to become a better human being and better member of society.
What did you see was missing?
When I first came to campus, sexual-assault awareness training in Greek Life. So we set up an info table at the Student Union and raised money.
Also, I came out in a public format this year: February 13. I came out in front of Greek Life. It wasn’t to benefit me, but to benefit others being comfortable being LGBT in a fraternity or sorority. UMKC is a comfortable campus to be out in, but I think everywhere, there’s still some discomfort with being LGBT and being Greek.
At Lavender Graduation this year, the UMKC Interfraternity Council was awarded the Collaborative Excellence Pride Award.
How has UMKC inspired you?
The people I’ve met in college and my student leadership opportunities have inspired me to be my authentic self and lead fearlessly.
In addition to academics, my college experience allowed me to discover that I can juggle and even do aerial yoga, things I once thought were impossible for me. I have struggled with a learning disability my entire life, especially in my middle school years. I always thought that I would be extremely limited in the academic work I would be able to achieve. It’s incredible to me how far I’ve come.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?
Come to class even if you don’t have your homework. But more seriously, you never stop learning.