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Student Perspective: Angelie Castor, G’25

BSU graduate student’s reflection on racial justice and equity
Story Series
Action: Racial Justice and Equity

Please tell us about the work you do for racial equity and justice.

I am currently advancing racial justice at BSU by simply being a representation to others in my field and community. As one of the few students of color in my master’s program, I have the opportunity to be a face that people can look up to and ask questions regarding their educational path. In my last year as an undergraduate, I struggled to find a mentor. I wished to have someone in my community that I could talk to about my educational and career goals. That’s why I’m now committed to being that person for someone else.

While I participated in the BSU Emerging Scholar Transition (B.E.S.T.) program, which helps multicultural students get adjusted to their first semester on campus, sometimes I would walk students over to the Center for Transformative Learning to introduce them to staff in Honors and Undergraduate Research. As part of that program, I mentored the students and wanted them to take full advantage of their time here. So I told them about the office, because that was an opportunity I missed out on.

Can you please tell us about your time at BSU?

I’m a graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences focusing on cellular and molecular biology. Additionally, I work as a graduate student assistant in Dr. Kenneth Adams’ lab, which I help maintain and organize. Through this role, I’ve gained essential skills and knowledge about lab operations and techniques that I needed the opportunity to develop during my undergraduate studies.

What inspires me to grow in the sciences is my passion for learning. I enjoy acquiring new skills and exploring different areas that could broaden my understanding of how everything works. Additionally, I find support and inspiration from my Haitian heritage and my parents, who encourage me to succeed in the sciences.

What does BSU do well in addressing the needs and desires of our racially minoritized students and in making you feel welcome on campus?

BSU is a place that offers a welcoming environment for students to express themselves and find their communities. The campus is home to various students and student groups, where individuals can feel a sense of belonging. I also appreciate how welcoming the faculty is, as they are always willing to assist students in achieving their goals.

During my undergraduate years, I initially hesitated to reach out to faculty when I struggled with my coursework because of my cultural boundaries. However, after chatting with a few professors at BSU and experiencing their welcoming nature, I felt more confident. I knew their doors were always open to me, and the open-door policy was valued on campus. It helped me succeed and having support as a student of color felt great. Knowing that there are safe spaces and individuals here for my support, whether in my program with friends, faculty or staff, has further contributed to my success.

What can BSU do better regarding racial equity and justice? What advice and ideas would you offer to us as we do this work?

BSU could improve by offering more facilities for students of color. In the past year, as a student leader and graduate student, I’ve had conversations with some students who explained why we have a lack of representation in [terms of] faculty of color. As I approached the end of my undergraduate studies, I faced some challenges about what to do next. I felt like there needed to be someone I could talk to about these issues. I reached out to Diane Bell (vice president for outreach and engagement) for advice. Still, Diane needed to become more familiar with my field of study and could only provide limited help. She referred me to some outside sources who were Haitian and, like me, also studied biology (who I could chat with and get some mentoring from). However, I believe that if I struggled with this issue, countless BSU students of color might also face the same problem. Therefore, it’s essential to have resources where students of color can find individuals in their field with whom they can communicate to provide mentorship and support. This could involve organizing related events where students of all races can meet professionals in their chosen fields and get guidance and mentoring. Alternatively, if hiring more faculty of color is not feasible, hosting events or programs where students can connect with professionals in their field would still be beneficial.


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