Meet Graduate Student Dominique Foster

Dominique Foster

Dominique Foster worked with Dr. Marcia Gumpertz, assistant vice provost for faculty diversity, as a fall semester intern in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED). See his article about Human Rights Day above and learn about his involvement at NC State.

What have you been doing in OIED?

My work this semester at OIED has consisted of three primary responsibilities. I collect and summarize faculty, staff and student demographic data and analyze faculty trend data. I also compile useful information regarding upcoming events, workshops and other resources for multiple faculty affinity group newsletters. Lastly, I assist with grant proposal preparation; my main contributions are in the areas of research compilation and critical evaluation of proposal components.

What are you specializing in as a graduate student?

I am in my final year of master’s study in higher education administration at NC State and am on track to graduate in May of 2017.

What is your intended career path?

I will be starting a job search this spring to work for a few years before pursuing a Ph.D. in management/organizational behavior. My career goal is to become a tenured business professor, researching issues of diversity in organizations. I have always enjoyed observing and learning about how people think and behave, understanding the sources of these thoughts and behaviors and developing effective ways to maximize positive outcomes of person-to-person interaction while minimizing negative outcomes. I deeply believe in the power of education, either formal or informal, as a means to develop critical thought, broadened perspective and thoughtful action. I chose the path of becoming a management professor because they are granted the unique opportunity to create knowledge that will improve work life (and by association, life in general) while also educating and mentoring students who will become future leaders in business and society.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your jobs in OIED and as a resident director?

The most rewarding aspect of my internship in OIED is being granted the opportunity to have a seat at the table during discussions about institutional diversity efforts. When the average person hears about an institution’s diversity efforts, they typically have no idea what is actually taking place to improve the experiences of marginalized and underserved populations. I am grateful to have this uncommon opportunity to peer into the turning gears at NC State and see how things get done.

The most rewarding aspects of my job as a residence director are: 1) the full breadth of experiences that come with the position, and 2) the amount of knowledge one gains from being a vital part of such an intricate organization. Ask any residence director on campus to explain to you all of their responsibilities, and you’ll find yourself watching them stare off into space, searching for the comprehensive list. Housing jobs are unique “catch-all” jobs that allow you to gain experiences related to almost every area in student affairs, from student advising and conduct to budgeting and facilities management. These experiences are invaluable to a new professional looking to build a diverse and competitive set of experiences. Housing and Residence Life is a unique functional area in that it functions almost as its own mini-organization. As a person who loves understanding organizational processes, I appreciate getting a first-hand perspective on how an organization grows, changes and sustains itself.

How has working in OIED helped in other areas of your life/work and vice versa?

Being in OIED has made a substantial impact on my interest in researching diversity issues in organizations. I have always had a passion for finding effective approaches for improving the lives and experiences of members of marginalized groups; however, I tussled with the idea of making this passion a salient part of my career trajectory. Working with Dr. Gumpertz and the rest of the OIED team on these issues and approaches helped me confirm my desire to do this work and affirmed the value of my contributions to the area of diversity. Conversely, I leveraged my past experiences as an undergraduate accounting major, former business professional and graduate research assistant to enhance the value of my work and my role in OIED.

What are your hobbies and other interests?

Generally, I am into the performing arts and the social sciences. I’ve been a dancer since my sophomore year of high school and continue my love for dance here at NC State as a member of Fusion Dance Crew (FUSION!). My love for dance also comes with a love for just about every genre of music. I love musicals as well. The Hamilton soundtrack has consumed my headphones for the past few weeks. The singing, musicality and historical storytelling throughout the soundtrack make for an amazing listening experience; everyone should give it a listen! I also dabble a bit in modeling for fun. It feels good to be a part of a photographer’s passion and see the work of art produced. I’ve recently had the opportunity to work with NC State’s own Jeffery Matthews on one of his projects, which you can check out online.

When I’m not doing school assignments, residence director or OIED work, or engulfed in the arts, you can find me somewhere learning something about the world and the people living in it. I tend to drift down Harvard Business Review, LinkedIn newsfeed and social justice advocacy social media rabbit holes. I’m typically looking to learn more about what drives how people think and behave and to gain new perspectives and insights on old or current issues and events. My major sources of intellectual stimulation are podcasts. I got hip to podcasts about three years ago and they’ve been my go-to’s ever since. My podcast playlist right now consists of The Read, TED Radio Hour, Another Round, Hidden Brain, Science Vs, Last Name Basis, Undone, Melanin Millennials and On Being with Krista Tippett. I was told to give Revisionist History a shot, but I haven’t gotten a chance to listen yet. I often use what I learn to help people find new ways to solve problems. Of course, on top of all of that, I find time to talk with my family back home in Alabama and hang out with my friends and loved ones here in Raleigh.

Dominique Foster was interview by Austin Butler, ’18, communications intern in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.