Hey y’all! My name is Alayna McNamara, and I’m a graduate student in the School of Education. As an undergraduate student at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, I double majored in applied biology and international studies. While there, I was an active member Unity, the school’s LGBT+ organization. For several years, I had the opportunity to live in Unity’s unofficial house with 3-4 other students, and I found our discussions immensely rewarding. My participation in Unity sparked a broader interest in diversity, which lead me to becoming one of five student members on RHIT’s Diversity Committee. Through the committee, the topics I discussed with my housemates were formalized, integrated with ideas from the rest of the committee, and turned into action items such as drafting a letter to the president on the importance of diversity, planning events to educate the student body on diversity issues, etc. During this time, diversity became a passion of mine – so much so that I started and currently maintain an Instagram account dedicated to promoting authors of diversity. These experiences have broadened my perspective more than I ever could have imagined.
At IUB, I am an active member of GradQueers, an informal social group for graduate students that celebrates alternative genders and sexualities. While I enjoyed the social events, I wanted to play a more active role in solving problems related to diversity on this campus much like I had during my undergraduate years. I’ll be graduating with my master’s in learning sciences at the end of this semester, but I look forward to working with the rest of the council to improve diversity issues on campus over the next few months.