Scholar Category: Racial Equity

Jazmyne Ewing

Major: Health and Exercise Science

Project: I’m thinking of pursuing Mental Health Awareness within CSU’s community. There could be some improvement in the CSU health network by providing a fund for the inclusion of more people of color to counsel. The system that the health network uses currently is time-consuming and difficult to understand for many students seeking help.

Inspiration: I’ve always struggled to reach out for help, so trying to get myself to go to counseling was incredibly difficult. I’ve been to the CSU health network at least three times since being in college and still haven’t received adequate help. The appointments take a minute to make, the appointments are inconsistent, I was with a different counselor almost every session, and I felt like there wasn’t any diversity amongst the counselors I spoke to. So, as a black woman. I didn’t feel comfortable in a place where I was supposed to feel safe.

Future Plans: I’d want people of color who struggle to fit into the CSU community to get the right counseling service they deserve. I’d also hope that having a fund would help boost the chances of people going to get help. This would also make the school look better in terms of the action they take on what’s important.

Adriana Fierro Mena

Major: Entrepreneurship

Project: What I would like to pursue for my Puksta Project is equal educational opportunity for minorities. From elementary and forward, motivating and providing resources to students of color to attend higher education and advanced classes such as honors, AP and IB in order to promote and have more diversity in advanced education.

Inspiration: What inspired me to choose this project was my experience in the education system. I grew up taking honors, AP, and IB classes which were predominately white. I always felt out of place and my peers and teachers never helped me feel included or smart enough. I would like to encourage and motivate students of color to take these advanced classes because we are all worthy of a higher education.

Future Plans: What I hope to accomplish is making advanced classes more diverse. By making these classes more diverse more and more students of color will feel comfortable and worthy enough to take advanced classes which in the long run benefit their academic career.

Edna Agustin Chavez

Major: Mathematics

Project: I am looking for ways to support non-traditional immigrant students in pursuing a higher education and developing their expertise in the United States.

Inspiration: As an immigrant, I have seen so many barriers or it being impossible for immigrants to pursue a higher education whether it is economically or for not having a legal status here in the United States, and also to even have the chance to develop their expertise.

Future Plans: I want to develop a method by which non-traditional immigrant students can pursue higher education and at the same time, gain a work permit to develop their expertise and eventually get legal status in the U.S.

Victor Delgado

Major: Physics
Minor: Mathematics

Project: Find ways to fund tutoring and after-school programs. Find ways to get students of color to help in tutoring other students of color.

Inspirations: All of my professors are white, and I wouldn’t be able to take physics in Boulder due to the fact that I have no money for that kind of education.

Future Goals: Get more students of color to apply for STEM positions. Find a way to help our society in a different way.

Autumn Wilson

Major: Zoology

Project: The project I am pursuing is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, specifically focusing on the Indigenous community that lives in northern Colorado. I will be a mentor and lead community events, and provide a space for Indigenous peoples to come together and heal, give preventative courses and resources, and provide overall support for the Indigenous community.

Inspiration: I am an Indigenous woman who has seen my community members be hurt mentally and physically by others, I have seen little to no coverage of Missing and Murdered Indigenous peoples in the media and news. I think that education is very important, if I can educate the community Indigenous and non-Indigenous about these issues there can be a change.

Future Plans: I hope that I can accomplish educating the community, and provide a safe place where triggering conversations can be held. I hope to teach those around us what actions to take when placed in a harmful situation, to decrease the number of community members that have faced violence.

Mursal Zeerak

Major: Biomedical Science

Project: I want to continue research to see what best ways POC can access employment in the medical field. I also want to help increase diversity in the medical field.

Inspiration: I chose this because as someone interested in being an OBGYN, I’ve come to realize that many people do not feel represented by their doctors. There is a large racial disparity in the medical field and I want to help make it smaller.

Future Plans: I want to show other POC that there are jobs available to them that don’t require a doctor’s degree. Everyone has been raised that being a doctor is the way into the medical field when there are various opportunities available.

Nour Zouhou

Major: Studio Art

Project: I hope to develop a project to celebrate, protect, and project the voices, identities, and stories of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people through the arts and literature. I would also love to explore this with a focus on Arab/Arab American identities.

Inspiration: I have always navigated the world through stories. Whether through books, movies, cartoons, or graphic novels I have been able to make the experience of my world richer by indulging in the creativity and stories of people from all stretches of life even if I was just at home. Art is powerful and it has moved me to care for so much of our world and I hope that I can contribute to that so that our world can be more compassionate, fun, and equitable.

Future Plans: I hope that whatever work I choose to do helps strengthen communities, fights against erasure, and moves LGBTQ+ and BIPOC resistance and pride forward.

Jay Keodonexay

Major: Psychology & Gender and Women’s Studies

Project: I am currently working with a few different organizations in Colorado to create safe spaces for LGBT and BIPOC youth and allies to learn and gain access to resources. I’ve also started my own art business where I donate proceeds to local organizations that amplify QTBIPOC voices and share resources like transition funds and clothing swaps that are helpful for those in need

Inspiration: I grew up with my grandparents who immigrated to the US during the Vietnam War. Because of this, I didn’t have access to the education and support that I needed as a queer transgender man and it made growing up really hard for me. Through an online community of Trans and queer individuals, I was able to get the support I needed to be able to be the most authentic version of myself and knew I wanted to do the same for others.

Future Plans: I hope to create safe places for youth to gain the knowledge and support they need to be the best versions of themselves. Finding ways to make healthcare (both mental and physical) more accessible, connecting with the community, and sharing resources that are helpful, but hidden, are my big goals

Marissa Alejandra Martinez Suarez

Major: History, Political Science

Project: Textbook racism is a big issue in education that subconsciously affects youth and makes them feel ashamed of their identities. As a result, students experience internalized trauma where they do not see themselves succeeding because history does not show people like them achieving great things. I want students to feel empowered and unafraid to be themselves, so for my Puksta project, I am going to find ways to bring more representation in the school’s curriculum and potentially create a program that teaches students how to embrace their cultures.

Inspiration: Throughout my education, I never once had a Latinx teacher around to respond to my cultural necessities. Although the teachers I had were great individuals, none of them could understand how discouraging it can feel to look inside a textbook and not see anyone that matches your ethnicity, to read about the alleged heroes who murdered those who looked like you, and to never once be taught the positive impacts your community has made. Understanding the negative impacts of these one-sided portrayals, I want to empower students by teaching them about their powerful and dynamic cultures through history.

Future Plans: By bringing more representation in the school’s curriculum, I wish to motivate students in their studies and future successes to get them to a place where they are not only learning about history but creating it as well.

Manna Lee Naumann

Major: Criminal Justice & Criminology and Japanese

Project: Working with police to create more comprehensive training in order to bring down the number of unnecessary violent incidents.

Inspiration: The police are currently in a crisis and have not been handling the situation well. I believe that American society has to create a better police force soon or risk more unnecessary violence.

Future Plans: I hope to create a more prepared police force that is taught more than shooting first and asking questions later.