By Anna Kephart |
March 10, 2021
Image of Dr. John T. Washington

Four students recently received Africana Studies scholarships for the Spring 2021 semester. Jamar Miller and Jasmine Harris each received the UCF Africana Studies and Business Services Dining Stipend. The stipend is an all-access/seven-day dining meal plan stipend for the semester.

“This award has supported my academic career by saving me time and taking the hassle out of preparing my own meals,” said Harris when asked how the stipend has proved useful during her studies. “I spend a lot of time on campus studying, so it’s nice to not have to worry about meals as much anymore. It allows me to direct more of my time to academics.”

“My Africana Studies coursework has impacted me tremendously in terms of personal development,” Harris also shared. “I have a more confident sense of self and my ability to analyze and think critically has improved. I gained a better understanding of public policy, from economics to politics and society, through my studies.”

Harris went on to say, “I recently earned my Hatha yoga teacher certification, and the Africana studies minor has allowed me to…develop an understanding of how restorative yoga can help alleviate emotional wounds from ethnic race-based stress and trauma. As I continue to learn more about yoga, I hope to share and give back what I learned to the communities I am studying about. Although my undergraduate degree will be in mathematics and statistics (actuarial science), I am highly considering graduate school studies in the African Diaspora in the future.”

Jamar Miller, a junior Communications major and Africana Studies minor from Apollo Beach, Florida, shared how volunteering has enriched his life: “Volunteering through UCF organizations such as the John T. Washington Honor Society, Caribbean Students Organization, Gospel and Cultural Choir, and Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity has taught me how to give back and serve the community, just like Dr. John T. Washington.”

Jae Olivia Noel received the John T. Washington Scholarship for Africana Studies. Olivia, a senior Diversity Studies major and Africana Studies minor from Gainesville, Florida, plans to pursue a Masters of Education in Instructional Design after graduating from UCF. In their personal statement, Olivia writes that their “personal values all center around inclusion and accessibility,” and that they hope to increase inclusivity in academic environments and institutions by supporting the implementation of diverse pedagogies in fields such as medicine and business that have long been less accessible to minority students.

Jordan Feld received the John T. Washington Community Service Award for Africana Minors for the Spring 2021 semester. A senior majoring in Sociology and Latin American Studies, Feld believes that his Africana Studies minor coursework has helped him further both his community service and academic goals: “I study international development and the intersection of race, social class, international development, and immigration,” he explains. “As a future/aspiring east African scholar, Africana Studies allows me to study many more areas.”

The students were honored at the 2021 John T. Washington Lecture Series. This lecture series upholds the legacy and continues the mission of the annual Dr. John T. Washington Community Service and Scholarship Awards Luncheon. The lecture took place via Zoom on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Professor Donald Harrell, of the UCF Africana Studies program, presented “Up Rooting Racism: An Evolution of Hip Hop and Hip-Hop Nation Story.”