Minor: Public Health, Health Studies, and Global Health Promotion
Hometown: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Mary was a member of the African American Choral Ensemble (AACE) for two semesters and served as the AAAI's Office Assistant for two years.
Q: What have you loved most about being a part of AAAI?
A: What I have loved the most about being involved with the AAAI is the family members and life-long relationships I have gained. Through the AAAI, I was able to learn so much about African American history not only at IU, but also globally. I learned more life lessons by working with Dr. Wise and Dr. Sykes than I could have ever learned in a classroom, which is something I will cherish forever.
Q: What's one of your favorite memories during your time in AACE?
A: In the summer of 2016, I was able to join AACE in their trip to Germany as a choir member. On this trip I was able to deepen and create new connections with my fellow choir members as well as the AAAI staff. I was also able to create new connections globally that I still have today, along with acquiring knowledge on the history of Germany. I learned so much about world history and the positive effect music can have on any community, no matter what barriers are present.
Q: What advice would you give to incoming students?
A: The best piece of advice I can give to incoming freshmen is to make time for the things you care about. There are so many obligations students have and it's easy to fall short when it comes to making time for things that make you happy. In order to get the best experience you can from Indiana University, you have to embrace new opportunities as they come and put your whole heart into what you care about.
Q: Anything else you want to share about your time at IU or AAAI?
A: I want to thank all of the AAAI staff for serving as my home away from home. I will greatly miss Baba Stafford and his warmest greetings (which always consisted of him saying, "Maaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyy!" and putting a smile on my face). Professor Strong provides an innovative attitude that cannot be matched. Dr. Wise served as my first mentor when coming to IU and still serves as the greatest mentor I've ever had.
I will also miss Hannah Crane, her positive attitude, and iron willed devotion she constantly commits to the institute. Jarica Stocker was a constant form of comedic relief and emits such positive energy, and I am grateful for the time we spent together. Johnny Campbell genuinely cares about the well being of others and makes for a great conversationalist.
And last but not least, I am forever thankful to Dr. Sykes for his commitment to the arts, as well as his ability to increase the mood of anyone he speaks to. Dr. Sykes is a staple piece of the past, present, and future of the African American Arts Institute and I cannot think of anyone more fitting for the position of the Executive Director. I want to personally thank Dr. Sykes for granting me the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing department for the majority of my college career.
To the rest of the AAAI staff, I wish you all the best and am very excited to see what the future holds for this department that is truly one of a kind.