Name – Quoran Knights
School – University of Cincinnati
Year – 3rd Yr
Major – Mechanical Engineering Technology
Minor – Africana Studies
Orgs – National Society of Black Engineers – 2017-2018 General Body; 2018-2019 President; 2019-2020 Co-Academic Excellence Chair, United Black Student Association – 2018-2019 Co-Education Chair; General Body = 2017-2018, 2019-2020, Collegiate 100 – 2018-2019 General Body; 2019-2020 Vice President, Emerging Ethnic Engineers
I was born into 2 big and very supportive families. Although my parents both got married to other people I never felt either side showed neglect when it came to my growth as a student and as a person. Going to college was always in the plan, but what was drilled in me was to find what I love to do and try to get to it with the least amount of financial burden as possible. My search for college honestly was not as daunting as it felt at the moment, the biggest struggle was finding Financial Aid. In high school, I was a great top-notch student, but not all the way standing out and financially my family was a little better off than some around me even though it did not show as much with 4 active sons. So, when my final decision was made UC was the most cost-efficient for a 5-yr trajectory degree in engineering.
When I got here, I had the mindset to find as many resources as I could because I know it takes a village and being in a new place takes a lot of help. I found a rich community in our African American Cultural & Resource Center (The Center) and Emerging Ethnic Engineers (E3) which both welcomed me in with open arms. I spent so much time at The Center with meetings or just hanging out in between class, you would have thought I lived there. It felt so much like home keeping me busy in free time, as well as people keeping on me about my studies. Along with that my participation in the STEM Summer Bridge program prior to freshman year brought me closer to other Black STEM majors. We became a family inside and outside of class, studying, eating, and hanging out together all Freshman yr. The large family feel made the campus home away from home for me and helped with my homesickness. Outside of that, I have been very blessed with opportunities through my network of resources. Just knowing certain people has given me an Internship and recommendations for certain awards. Specifically, through an E3 email, I was able to apply to and receive the Rev. Jesse Jackson – Toyota Fellows Scholarship for Minority STEM/Business. This solved my College debt problems and gave me another source of resources for my major in Toyota engineers.
The upcoming focus for me is taking all that I have gained from upperclassmen, mentors, supervisors and experiences to be able to take up the role they played for me. I realized through positions given to me in my second year that the feeling I felt coming in was due to the people that welcomed me. So, at that point, I saw it was my turn to learn how I can be ready to take up the mantle for upcoming students. From here on out it is my place to serve my community, in hopes this will increase the number of Black Students. “The Marathon Will Continue”.
How would you describe the blk community on your campus? – I would describe the Black community as a realistic scaled down version of the community nationwide. There is a wide variety of individuals that all have different focuses, but all have the desire to succeed. Sitting at a little 8% of 40,000+ students we are heavily outnumbered and at times can feel overwhelmed or overlooked, but without a doubt we refuse to live in that stigma. Although there are a good number of things I would really like to improve within our interactions with each other, I would not ask for a different community to be a part of. Our differences make it hard to really gain an agreement on all topics involving us. Even then when there is an injustice or a problem we can set aside differences to try and find a common response. We have the same problems that the black community have day to day.
What do they need? What do they want? – My community here on campus struggles from a lack of resources/funding as the main problem. A lot of times when it comes to upgrades or funding we tend to be bottom of the totem pole because of our lack of numbers across campus. This being said when we do get the money it is typically split across all of our orgs to share for events and improvements. A group was founded the summer of 2015, named The Irate 8 (www.theirate8.com), after the murder of Samuel Dubose by a University of Cincinnati Officer, Ray Tennsing. The reaction by the university was the last straw of injustice for the African American that did not seem to stop. The Irate 8 made a list of 10 Demands that would make our lives and experience better. A few of them deal with an increase in faculty Representation or a standalone building for our Minority Programs. As far as wants I think it can be known we just want to be felt like we are welcomed on campus or seen as equal in the eyes of the Administration.
How has your school responded to these needs and wants? – The school’s response to the Irate 8’s demands has been slow in enacting. Here 4 years later only 2 demands have been fully completed, 3 about 90% complete, and the rest under 80%. We have had improvements on the condition of the Center, efforts on improving admissions by adding a Multicultural Recruiter, and an increase in Diversity positions in the Student Government to increase our voice being heard. I can say some actions will take time but over time you grow to see where they place their effort on improvements and what they deem not as important. They are very financially motivated like any business and moved by hardcore facts. So, if it in terms does not bring a good revenue or shows them a good return it may not get their focus. Many individuals work and fight day today to get an inch closer to the completion of our needs/wants and we as a unit will never give up. As far as the wants, they are making some efforts through increase in conversation to ask what will help. The newest initiative, “Next Lives Here” has promised some increase in efforts to make campus and the experience more diverse. We are only one full year into the newest initiative and there has been some increase through programing and recruiting. We will see what the near future holds on being more diverse, hopefully, they can increase the numbers.
What have you done to improve the student life of black students on your campus? – I have made it my duty to do gain a list of resources that others may find useful. I like to help so when I do not have the answer going to find who has it. Not only helps them but gives me knowledge for when the question is asked in the future. Especially with my job in the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement in our College of Engineering. I see a lot of the incoming minority Engineers come through to get resources and some of them can be applied to other majors. Seeing the success of others really gets exciting.
Why did you choose to attend a PWI over a HBCU? – I personally chose a PWI over an HBCU at the end of day because of cost, location, and the major. I was extremely open to going to an HBCU, in fact, NCAT (Older sister just graduated from here) was in my top 5. I just did not get enough aid or scholarships to realistically be able to enjoy the history behind each of these wonderful HBCU’s. UC’s co-op program has really been the driving point for pushing through as a highly underrepresented student and the community I have found is helping me grow in the long run.
What is your PWI Survival Guide Tip? – My PWI Survival Guide Tip is to Find your niche in the community. A lot of times I get more motivation when I know the actions I am taking can further improve the lives of the black people that come behind me. I take pride in helping others do as well, if not better than I am because in the long run, it will help the Black Community. So, whatever you are really good at or makes you happy, do these things in your community.