Southern Illinois University Edwardsville senior mass communications major Marissa Williams has a knack for public speaking.
It’s a talent she identified in high school, and one that has been fostered through her studies and student involvement activities.
Williams, a Chicago native, is the chair of the SIUE Campus Activities Board’s Black Heritage Month tradition, which began Feb. 1 in the Morris University Center’s Goshen Lounge. This year’s theme is “A Different World.”
“Black Heritage Month is not only here to give the history of Black heritage, but also to bring together our diverse campus community and make us all one voice,” Williams said. “My hope is that people will gain a deeper understanding and embrace this rich heritage that impacts America every day.”
The greatest gift of a confident public speaker, according to Williams, is the ability to help others speak through them. After completing her bachelor’s in mass communications in May 2018, she plans to stay at SIUE to pursue a master’s in college student personnel administration.
“SIUE has nurtured me to the fullest, and I could not picture myself at another University getting the treatment, love and community that I’ve had here,” she said.
“Being a mass communications major has enhanced my life immensely,” she continued. “It’s helped me see the world in a different way. It’s given me a chance to hear and share other people’s stories, and has enhanced my perception of everyday life. I’ve grown into a stronger, more independent person and gained more empathy for everyone around me.”
Williams aspires to work in diversity and inclusion within higher education student affairs. Her combined academic and event coordinating experience has inspired her to make change and positively impact wherever she works in the future.
“The college experience is incredibly important for students, and I want to be a part of making that enjoyable by fostering inclusive environments and encouraging people to get involved in campus life,” she said.
For a complete list of Black Heritage Month events, visit siue.edu/CAB/BlackHeritageMonth-CAB.
—- Chicago native leading Black Heritage Month on SIUE campus —-