By Marcus Whitman, The Towerlight
Photo courtesy of the Black Student Leadership Conference
The Center for Student Diversity hosted the Black Student Leadership Conference in the West Village Commons from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
This years theme, Dream Chasers, focused on highlighting community members who have followed their passions despite challenges they have faced and allowed them to share their experiences with Towson students.
Keynote speaker Krystal Garner, the general manager for Trap Music Museum, was the first to speak. She talked about where she growing up in Staten Island and the effects it had on her character.
“I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods, and I grew up with the circumstances that most Black families in underprivileged neighborhoods go through,” Garner said.
Garner welcomed the opportunity to share her experiences with students at the conference, and at any Black leadership conference she speaks at.
“I feel it is my responsibility… being a Black woman executive in the entertainment industry,” Garner said.
After Garner’s talk and a brief intermission for lunch, guests were invited to attend breakout sessions hosted by other guest speakers.
Jamie Mercer, the resident director at Bowie State University, shared her experience trying to find the right job while also searching for the right people in life to support her and her dreams. Through this, she found that she enjoys doing something that helps others.
“I feel like I can be the person I needed when I was a student leader,” Mercer said. “Then, I feel that I can help someone coming in behind me, and it is greater than my own self servicing purpose.”
Amazon Human Resources Strategic Consultant Cierra Parks shared that she felt mentoring and coaching were a natural part of her profession.
“Definitely a lot of time you are helping other leaders and so there is a major overlap,” Parks said.
Katelyn Peterson, TU student and intern for The Small Business Resource Center, and James Peterson, the Outreach Coordinator, were vendors at the event and felt attending would be good for the company’s community relations.
“When I heard about the Dream Chasers event, I asked my supervisors if they were interested in coming to share their resources with entrepreneurs that may be here,” Peterson said.
Anee Korme, Associate Director of Student Diversity, said that a committee began planning the event sometime around September and October.
“The Center for Student Diversity partners with the Career Center and other campus partners like the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility to come up with a theme, keynote speakers, vendors and awesome breakout sessions for the student attendees,” Korme said.
Korme hopes students walked away feeling empowered to pursue their dreams and that they learned how to navigate some of the challenges they may come across.
“I hope attendees in some way were able to find community,” Korme said. “I hope they were able to connect with other young, ambitious, student leaders that they can have be a part of their journey.”