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Minorities in Education student organization reestablishes on campus

  |   Anika Chaturvedi   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   Students and Faculty

Before starting his freshman year at the University of Georgia, Jayden Braxton (B.S.Ed. ’23) knew he wanted to get involved. He began researching campus organizations in the summer of 2019 and found one that interested him.

“Minorities in Education (MIE) was still listed on the College of Education webpage at this time, and it immediately caught my eye. I agreed with what it stood for; I wanted to get involved,” said Braxton, a fourth-year social studies education major in the Mary Frances Early College of Education and president of the College’s Student Ambassadors. “Yet when I came to Athens, I saw it wasn’t active.”

That’s because Minorities in Education—a student organization that provides support and community to underrepresented teacher-preparation students—had not been active on campus since 2014.

Braxton, who is the only Black student in a cohort of 30 students, said he went through a contentious experience in his program last fall. He already had interest in reestablishing MIE, but wasn’t sure it would be possible before he graduated.

“During that experience, I believed MIE was necessary for Mary Frances Early College of Education students—not only for myself, but for other students who are in the same isolating predicament as I am,” Braxton said.

He then rearranged his schedule to devote time into reestablishing the group. Braxton brought up MIE at a student ambassadors meeting, and more students got involved in the process.

“We just reached out to any minorities in our classrooms and started to build it back up,” said Chiqui Benton (B.S.Ed. ’24), a third-year English education major, student ambassador, and president of MIE.

Through flyers, social media, and word of mouth, executive board members began spreading the word about the organization.

Braxton said when he asked other minority teacher-preparation students about their programs, many shared that they are the one of the only minority students in their program or class, or the only one.

Kristain Johnson (B.S.Ed. ’24), a third-year elementary education major, student ambassador, and vice president of MIE, said she is one of the only minorities and the only Black student in her cohort of 60 students.

“Being a part of Minorities in Education, it’s a great opportunity to connect and share experiences with other minorities in the education field,” Johnson said.

Benton said goals for the group include providing support for fellow students, as well as to collaborate or create a partnership with the Clarke County School District.

“I would say the main two goals that I have in store for the organization right now, it’s just really support, so getting as many people as we can to just discuss anything they need to,” Benton said. “So for example, with a school shooting, if they want to get together and then we discuss that, our feelings, things we want to do to promote change around that, just really a support system,” she said.

Kayla McKinney, coordinator of student engagement in the College, said the organization is the product of students in the College seeing a need and taking initiative to fill it.

“I believe MIE will become a fantastic space for underrepresented students to build community among each other and support one another as they enter the teaching field. The organization will be a space to discuss multicultural issues and raise awareness of DEI-related topics within education, but more importantly, I think, it will be a space for students to be authentically themselves,” McKinney said.

“Fostering social development matters just as much as fostering academic and professional development, and I believe MIE has already found that balance.”

Minorities in Education held its first general body meeting on Thursday, April 20.

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