NEWS FROM THE PROVOST
Dondre McCaskill is a senior majoring in science, technology and society with a minor in computer programming from Greensboro, North Carolina. Hear what he has to say about NC State’s diversity.
What is your involvement here at NC State?
Mostly it’s been with the African American Cultural Center. Currently I work there, in the library, and help with events. I’m also the president of PEACE (Peers Entering Acceptance towards Christ Eternally).
What has been your most impactful experience at NC State?
I would say PEACE Church. When I first started going, I would sit near the back. Generally I’m really quiet and in the back, but just being there and being around people that were truly caring and who truly wanted to get to know everybody there was very welcoming. It brought out a side of me that wanted to help out and give back.
Who has mentored you? How they have helped you?
I would say Mama Thorpe in the African American Cultural Center. She’s great, just always there as someone you can confide in, someone you can talk to. If you’re having a bad day, she’ll give you a hug (*Interviewer’s note: Mama Thorpe’s hugs are the best!). Just one of the sweetest persons there, and she will always have your back.
How do you define diversity?
Diversity is something that’s outside of the “norm.” In this nation, we do have a sort of stigma that anything that is not white is “diverse” but it’s really anything that is not in the “norm.”
Why is diversity important?
Diversity changes the way people think. When only one group of people is represented, you have a very narrow viewpoint of the world. Diversity allows multiple viewpoints and, as a result, you can find answers that you didn’t know were possible. It opens up more avenues for communication.
In what ways do you want to see NC State become more diverse? More welcoming?
When the percentage of diverse people here is larger than just one-fourth of the pie – I know for me if there is a group of black people, I’ll be like, “Oh wow! There’s like 4 percent of the 7 percent that go here.” – when it’s not so shocking to see another person who looks like me, or even someone who doesn’t look like a good 75% of the people here. And having more events that honor diverse people.
What advice would you give to younger students at NC State?
I would say get outside of your comfort zone. Find a support system. College is difficult as it is, and there’s no point in trying to deal with it alone. Whether it’s a fellow classmate, a professor, a mentor – just find someone that you know when times get hard they will have your back. And go to office hours!
Dondre was interviewed by Austin Butler, ’17, communications intern in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.