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Where do you consider to be your hometown?

Atlanta, Georgia

Woman in tan shirt standing in front of bricks
Traci Thompson

What is your degree program?

Master’s degree in public administration

What motivates you?

The possibility of ridding ourselves of social and economic disparities. I have been fixated on this my whole life. These inequities are present due to socially constructed systems. Therefore, these systems can be reconstructed – this time, through the perspective of an equitable lens. In order to build better systems, we must realize that power is meant to be shared. In my community engagement course, Karinda Roebuck shared this quote by Paulo Freire: “Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly.” Those of us who are often more advantaged, and have found ourselves in leadership positions, must let go of aspirations for perfection and the idea of knowing all the right answers. We must add tools of inclusion to our academic repertoire – and practice them. We (myself included) must continue to educate ourselves on, normalize, and talk openly about the realities of racism, sexism, classism (all of the -isms). Lastly, what continues to motivate me is the level of collaboration, acceptance, forgiveness, and hope at the grassroots level. Now, we just have to incorporate those practices into our leadership!

Why did you choose UNC-Chapel Hill?

The strong North Carolina network, resources, and ability to incorporate courses from different disciplines.

How have you built community at Carolina?

Through the shared struggles of being a grad student! Some of my cohort have really shown up when things got tough.

Describe Diversity and Student Success in five words?

Safe space; support; acceptance; understanding.
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