A second-year student at UT, Alina Clay has designed a major through the College Scholars program entitled “Gender Inequality with a Focus in Eastern Europe and Latin America.” The Co-Director of the Student Government Association’s undergraduate Diversity Affairs Committee, she works to promote a more conscious and welcoming college environment by supporting and advancing diversity, inclusion, and accessibility initiatives on campus. As mentioned in The Daily Beacon, her Russian-American identity has influenced her conceptualization of diversity as she views it as more than just superficial differences. This understanding has spurred her to work as a student activist to promote broader awareness and appreciation of others’ differences. She describes her resilience when facing adversity in her work: “Because you understand that what you’re doing breaks from the status quo that traditionally discriminates against so many different people, that is what gives you the power to continue.” Besides her work within SGA, Alina is a member of Vice Chancellor of Diversity Rickey Hall’s Student Advisory Council, Chancellor Cheek’s Civility Student Advisory Board, and the Chancellor’s Commission for Women and its Student Caucus, as well as an English as a Second Language instructor.
Veronica Go, a Junior majoring in Biochemistry and Statistics, is one of the co-directors for Diversity Affairs under Student Government Association. She has been a part of the board for three years, and hopes to see Diversity Affairs continue to prosper. Veronica also serves as a member on the Vice Chancellor for Diversity’s Student Advisory Board, as well as the Chancellor’s Civility Student Advisory Board. While she has been at UT, she has helped in writing a gender-neutral/family-style bathroom bill, helped plan a Diversity Symposium, and volunteered in multiple conferences that advocate for inclusitivioty.
Kasey Sumeriski is a sophomore currently studying Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB). Her work in Diversity Affairs includes strides to make campus more inclusive and accessible for students, staff, and guests. In order to do this, Kasey spends time fostering conversations about inclusive dialogue and privilege among students and also, working on legislative bills to be presented SGA’s Undergraduate Student Senate such as the gender-neutral/family style bathrooms bill. Outside of Diversity Affairs, Kasey is a Trip Leader for the University of Tennessee Outdoor Program, ambassador and mentor for the Chancellors Honors Program, Leadershape graduate, and a former Ignite Team Leader and Welcome Week Leader.
I’m Chesnea Skeen, a sophomore in Geography here at UT. I’m an ambassador at the OUTreach center and graphic design executive member of VolOUT. In Diversity Affairs, I do my best to speak up for the LGBT+ organizations on campus as well as students with disabilities. I love working with Diversity Affairs to make positive change!
Hello everyone! My name is Monique Barksdale and I am currently a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering here at the University of Tennessee. I am currently involved in Morrill’s Engineering LLC, NSBE, UNITE, TLSAMP, ASA, and SGA. As member of SGA’s Diversity Affairs Committee, my mission is to increase cultural awareness by working closely with various organizations that highlight cultural belonging. In working together, we can emphasize and spread the importance of inclusiveness on campus. UT serves as a home to hundreds of thousands of assorted students, and each individual deserves to feel a sense of belonging—the best way to ensure this is to see that everyone is appropriately accommodated. By promoting the cultural issues and events that take place across campus, I strongly hope that I would play role in UT’s progressiveness into an even more outstanding university. It is important that we are conscious of the diversity that surrounds us, but it is even more crucial that we use this diversity to cherish one another and become unified as one.